Casebook 2011: Kennecott Utah Copper Company refines storage

Workers gain control and access to spare parts inventory with automated solution.
By Josh Bond, Associate Editor
January 31, 2011 - MMH Editorial

Equipment downtime can be greatly reduced when spare parts are readily accessible. But if spare parts are spread across acres with no tracking system of any kind, finding the one a customer needs can be a chore. With an automated storage system, one company found a way to easily organize and retrieve parts, all in a smaller footprint.

At the Kennecott Utah Copper Company, spare parts ranging from small electronic components to heavy machine parts were previously located at 20 sites over many acres, both indoors and outdoors. In this arrangement, the quantity, location and condition of all inventory was virtually unknown. When parts were needed, employees had to walk the facility and search for items.

To improve the process, the company implemented a hybrid system using automated and conventional materials handling solutions.

Today, all spare parts in inventory are tracked using an enterprise resource planning system. Conventional racks were installed within a new 300,000-square-foot warehouse to hold and organize large items. Small spare parts are stored in 220-pound capacity metal pans in a two-aisle, single-deep mini-load automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) centrally located and easily accessible within the facility (Daifuku America, 801-359-9900, http://www.daifukuamerica.com).

Installed in less than three months, the 31-foot tall AS/RS uses vertical space and 2,000 square feet of floor space within the facility. The mini-load AS/RS holds a variety of parts stored in 3,312 rack locations, some with more than one part number per pan. The small AS/RS is a stand-alone piece of automation that integrates only with a U-shaped output conveyor where employees can manually pick items retrieved by the AS/RS and return items ready for storage.

A warehouse control system manages the operation of the storage/retrieval machines and tracks inventory quantity and location. The system communicates in real time with the company’s central planning system, and keeps logs and physical inventories.



About the Author

image
Josh Bond
Associate Editor

Josh Bond is an associate editor to Modern. Josh was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and contributing editor, has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce.


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

“U.S. Port Update: Investing in the Future” will feature a panel of three industry leaders from the East Coast, Gulf, and West Coast discussing their relative challenges and opportunities.

Zebra gains instant access to complimentary technologies. But first, it needs to integrate a former partner that is 2-1/2 times its size.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a final Chief’s Report approving the Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project, clearing the way for congressional authorization in an upcoming Water Resources Development Act.

Logistics Management Group News Editor Jeff Berman recently caught up with Doug Waggoner, CEO of Echo Global Logistics, a non-asset based freight brokerage company and a provider of technology-enabled transportation and supply chain management services on various topics impacting freight transportation and logistics.

Carloads—at 295,294—were up 7.2 percent annually, and intermodal trailers and containers were up 9.3 at 264,382.

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.