Kasto takes steel trade logistics to new heights

Kasto - Debrunner2
Kasto - Debrunner2

Ever-shorter delivery times and fluctuating batch sizes prompted multi-metal distributor Debrunner Acifer in Birsfelden, Switzerland, to put its logistics processes to the test.

The company decided to optimise its storage technology to ensure a high level of supply readiness – and chose Kasto as its project partner. Thanks to the Unicompact 3.0 long goods storage system created by the specialist company from Achern in Germany’s Baden-Wuerttemberg, Debrunner now achieves significant process advantages and ensures that material is made available quickly and reliably.

Debrunner’s distribution centre in Birsfelden is Switzerland’s largest logistics centre for multi-metal products. A wide range of steel and metals including beams, bright and bar steel, pipes, hollow sections and flat products is stored on a total area of 60,000m². Debrunner supplies its regional companies and end customers from Birsfelden. The company also offers various processing and logistics services, such as material processing exactly to customer specifications.

The desired articles are ergonomically fed to the connected sawing machines via the Kasto order picking device

From the steel trader’s point of view however, the situation was no longer satisfactory. “Maintaining our two existing storage facilities – each with 1,100 cassettes and two shifts – was extremely cost-intensive,” says site manager Roger Durand.

“We had to maintain two separate infrastructures in parallel and the large number of storage and retrieval stations was also disadvantageous transport logistics-wise. Although we’ve continuously optimised our processes in recent years, we could no longer achieve decisive increases in productivity. After 28 years of intensive use, both plants had reached their limits.”

Debrunner decided to invest in a new, automated high-bay storage facility for long goods. The project targeted the further strengthening of the Birsfelden site as a competence centre for goods handling and processing, saving on transport routes and expanding central services.

Debrunner’s requirements were clear: modern high-bay storage technology had to increase plant security and avoid downtimes. “We also wanted an efficient material flow concept to improve productivity in the customer-specific cutting of materials,” Mr Durand summarises.

Kasto’s offer, with its optimal cost-use calculation, good connectivity for central processing and a suitable material flow solution including fast loading on to trucks won the day. The system was also easily expandable – another important consideration.

The Unicompact’s honeycomb long goods storage system optimises the requirements for expensive storage space: thanks to the small approach dimensions of the storage and retrieval machine, users can get the best possible use out of the available space.

Unicompact works according to the ‘goods-to-the-person’ principle – the requested goods are automatically made available at the output stations. The Kasto travelling cassette principle ensures that storage and retrieval operations take place in parallel and guarantees the most economic number of travel movements. Fast drives and simultaneous cassette-pulling devices enable the material to be ready at the processing stations within 60 seconds. Kasto offers the long goods storage facility for heights up to 26m and up to eight tons of payload.

Thanks to the small approach dimensions of the storage and retrieval machine, Debrunner gets the best possible use out of the available storage space

The decision to opt for the Unicompact has really paid off for Debrunner. The new high-bay storage technology delivers the material reliably to the company’s sawing stations where it’s needed. “Now we can request cassettes for follow-up orders. Response times are considerably reduced and there are no system-related waiting times,” says a delighted Roger Durand.

The storage of buffer quantities eliminates the need for time-consuming replenishment processes. Debrunner also achieves greater productivity through the system’s central processing, which enables the operation of multiple machines. Sawing orders from different customers can now be combined if the same materials are involved. Thanks to centralisation, the Swiss company is now saving two saws compared to the past. All saws are optimally connected to the storage facility.

“Thanks to this tightly-knit organisation, the saw operators can concentrate on processing,” says Mr Durand. The new truck loading concept is based on an effective logistics solution using shuttle wagons. This avoids search times and concentrates finished customer orders from picking and processing at just one loading point.

Kasto also seamlessly linked the control of the storage facility to Debrunner’s existing ERP system – yet another advantage that the steel trader appreciates: “Our industry is in the midst of digital transformation – so it’s important that our processes not only interact optimally on the hardware side, but also on a software level,” says Mr Durand.

Kasto www.kasto.com/uk/

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Kasto [**]

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