Introduction of WMS and MES at five production sites
Based in Rinteln, the riha WeserGold beverage group is one of the leading manufacturers in the beverage industry. Today, the group of companies produces direct juices, spritzers, nectars and many other beverages at 3 national and 4 international locations.
The group of companies has reached its current size partly through its own growth and partly through the acquisition of existing companies. The dynamic growth and especially the integration of the acquired production plants urgently required modernisation and integration measures for both production and warehouses.
This meant modernising the conveyor logistics systems (TCS/TMS), introducing warehouse management systems (WMS) and introducing manufacturing execution systems (MES) with integration into the ERP. The main facility in Rinteln as well as the locations in Dodow, Öhringen / Waibstadt, Bad Zurzach – Switzerland and Lekunberri – Spain were affected by the necessary measures.
The concept phase
A+K was commissioned by riha WeserGold to create an integrated modernisation concept for the intralogistics and final packaging of the production at the five locations. This included the introduction of WMS and MES as well as the modernisation of the control systems of a large number of automated final packaging and conveyor systems.
The requirements for the WMS and MES and the conveyor technology control systems were developed in cooperation with the project management of riha WeserGold.
A+K gradually developed a comprehensive detailed concept for the required WMS and MES. This contained a complete description of all process and communication sequences, of the functions in detail as well as all telegrams and all error handling.
The WMS processes include
- Incoming goods
- Production supply and disposal
- Manual and fully automatic picking
- Preparation for dispatch
The MES processes include
- Order management
- Order control of the lines
- Order data feedback from the lines
- Order-related palletising
- Order-related securing of the pallets
- Order-related labelling of the pallets
The commissioning process
Introducing the WMS for the manually operated warehouses, including the newly developed gate scanner technology for the loading ramp, proved to be easy. The warehouse managers and forklift and order picking personnel simply had to be trained in the system.
Implementing the MES was somewhat more difficult. Many existing machines and lines had to be connected to the MES. Not every machine was already up-to-date with the latest technology. Some machines had to be retrofitted with communication capabilities, and in some cases the entire control systems had to be modernised.
In addition to the new construction of central palletising systems, obsolete S5 and Schleicher controls also had to be modernised. One of the main challenges in modernising the conveyor technology control systems was that they usually had to be completely replaced and put back into operation within an extremely short time, sometimes even within a single 8h shift.
Fortunately, it was always possible to find solutions, so that production could still take place while the modernisation measures were being carried out.
Modernising five production sites is a major task. However, by using uniform and thoroughly pre-tested software systems for WMS, MES and conveyor technology, this task proved to be highly feasible and cost-effective.
The strategy of introducing a system theme in a first plant, gaining experience, optimising the system again where necessary and then rolling it out to all the other plants proved to be advantageous.
An unexpected benefit emerged from the fact that maintenance personnel at the locations spread across Europe were able to support each other in the event of faults, since the same systems were used everywhere.
Since international locations were also affected, the multilingual capabilities of the WMS and MES were mandatory.
Scope of services of A+K
- Reengineering of existing systems and controls at five locations in DE, CH, ES
- Creation of a comprehensive modernisation concept, coordination of all processes and systems with a central project group and the site personnel
- Creation of a WMS and MES based on the A+K modular system
- Location-based project planning and commissioning of the WMS and MES
- Location-based redesign of S7 software and commissioning for final packaging, palletising and transport systems for more than 80 production lines based on ProLeiT Plant IT
- Creation of location-based Scada system with plant visualisation, reporting system and weak-point analysis based on ProLeiT Plant IT
- Integration of all systems of all locations into the central ERP
- Integration of a Witron high-bay warehouse into the overall system