Finally more productivity in the film warehouse! In our series so far we have had tips on process organisation. Now we’re talking about automation – and how you and your employees can benefit from it.

By NEPATA CEO Fabian Franke. Of course, automation can increase productivity. When used correctly, it can also greatly reduce errors and thus avoid waste. We have developed our own products and solutions in the field of automation. For over ten years in this business, Nepata has stood out because our solutions can process orders directly from the ERP system or online shop. With software support you avoid sending rolls that are too long or too short, wrong colours, matt instead of glossy, or the classic: a length of six metres is unwound from ten metres for the customer, but the customer receives the other four metres of roll because of an employee error.

Help from the software

We can avoid such mistakes by using software support, i.e. a converting centre, a rewinding machine or a slitting machine in combination with ConvertPlus software. The input process is automated so that there is no chance of mistyping or forgetting anything. The key is that barcode scans are used to match the material with the actual job, so there can be no mix-ups. All of this reduces the workload of the logistics staff, especially when there is a lot of activity. From a business point of view, you can say that the speed of the process also increases overall productivity. There are evaluations from our customers: You can assume a 40 to 50 per cent gain in productivity compared to a manual rewinding system with simple machines or devices. In addition, there are the savings from higher accuracy and avoidance of waste.

Help from the robot

Another thing I would like to mention here are our automatic roll storage systems. Even the area that does not directly add value, namely picking and bringing rolls of film to the machine and back again, can now be perfectly automated. The rolls are placed in a storage system with a gantry robot or – for smaller warehouses – in a storage system with an industrial robot. The robot pre-sorts the rolls needed next according to the order queue in the software on hand carts. The employees can concentrate on completing the orders on the machine. They put the remaining rolls back on the trolleys, bring them back into the system – and then the rolls are automatically put back into storage. The robot has a one-hundred-percent overview at all times of what is in stock, which roll has to be processed next because of shelf time, or which roll is particularly well suited to the current order in terms of length. These are all things that employees naturally find difficult to deal with, especially under time pressure, and where there is great potential for optimisation.

More optimisation strategies

Here you can read our suggestions on walkways, machine utilisation and handling of paper cores. Or you can take advantage of our consulting on film logistics and digitisation. We will respond very individually to your operation – even if you do not (yet) use NEPATA machines.

Even more tips in this video

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