Vahterus manufactures heat exchangers for the oil and gas, chemical and process, energy and refrigeration industries. The company installed the Konecranes Agilon system in 2013 and the ways in which it enhances information flow and order management have since become very clear.
Established in Kalanti, Western Finland in 1990, Vahterus is growing rapidly and continues to invest in innovation to enhance its operations. Today, its products are used in more than 50 countries, and exports account for more than 90 percent of net sales.
In December 2013, a modular Agilon warehouse management system –measuring eight meters long and 5.6 meters high, with one robot and service point – was installed in Vahterus’ facilities. The premises housed small parts needed for production.
Agilon consists of a web portal, user base stations, shelf system, and robots that run between shelves. In addition to the system, it comes with a maintenance contract covering software, remote support, maintenance and spare parts.
Benefits to operations
When Vahterus decided to improve its inventory management years ago, the company did not even consider other options, according to Paavo Pitkänen, the company’s Technology Director.
“Agilon then was a new concept that we were interested in from the beginning. In our decision to expand, we took into account the fact that storage shelves tend to be full and keeping track of all items proved to be a challenge. Now that we know how much stock there is on any item at any given time, we can use an automated ordering system when the availability of these items drops to a set limit,” says Pitkänen.
Since the Agilon was put into use, the ways in which it helps to enhance inventory management at Vahterus have become clear.
1. The system maximizes efficiency while saving space.
In February 2018, the Agilon was extended by three modules to 14 meters. While this added 192 meters more storage space, the entire solution takes up only 10 square meters of floor space. At the same time, another robot and a second service point were added to the system.
2. It makes it possible for external suppliers to be integrated.
Agilon automatically sends a signal to the supplier’s ordering system when stocks are running low. When suppliers deliver the items, these are fed directly to the device and do not need to be placed on the shelves as before.
3. It can be customized to suit specific needs.
Workers who use the Agilon at Vahterus appreciate its ability to show the latest information on the materials’ availability at the service point and online, as it facilitates inventory and material management. Over time, the device has also been adapted to their wishes. For example, in May 2018 an access card reader was installed in addition to the PIN and fingerprint identifier that was included in the Agilon, making logging into the system much easier.
Text: Gino de la Paz