|Inside the BTSR International facility showing three humidity-controlled ACS1500 intelligent storage systems.
For more than 25 years, BTSR International S.p.A. has been involved in the design and development of advanced solutions for yarn control. But growing into a world Reference Partner for major companies operating in the textile chain has not come without help and without effectively applying electronics technology to the business, in particular with the aid and expertise of Storagesolutions (www.storagesolutions.it/en), a division of Essegi System Service s.r.l. By partnering with Storagesolutions and using that firm's intelligent storage systems, BTSR International has been able to ensure that its own electronic systems and supporting surface-mount-device (SMD) component stock remained in proper order to support its many textile-based applications.
Before forming this partnership with Storagesolutions three years ago, BTSR International conducted a competitive analysis in search of a solution for managing its SMD component stock. The analysis revealed that Storagesolutions' systems and software offered many advantages, in terms of effective storage for available floor space, with options for such functions as humidity control. As a result, a number of Storagesolutions systems have been installed in BTSR International facilities around the world, with excellent materials handling being provided as the result.
Among the installed systems, seven are model ACS1500, which are capable of handling as many as 27 large SMD component reels at one time. Three of these ACS1500 systems include the humidity-control option; in addition, an ACS400 system with humidity control was also installed. As Storagesolutions Sales Director Matteo Padoan observes: "We are pleased that we have been able to help BTSR International solve many of its coding, management, material handling, and humidity control issues." He adds that "The ACS systems that BTSR has implemented are designed to use the full potential of the existing equipment used in its production department. Our goal is to help BTSR make its production run as smoothly and efficiently as possible."
Managing Incoming Material
Before implementing the new intelligent storage systems, coding and management of BTSR International's incoming materials were performed by operators in the main stock area. Unfortunately, these operators were not trained to handle electronic components. With the implementation of the Storagesolutions' systems, all electronic components were moved into the SMD production area. In that area, operators handling and checking incoming materials were more skilled and trained for sensitive electronic components. The change in storage approach resulted in a number of benefits, including reduction of error during coding and labeling of new material and improved detection of noncompliant materials.
Before implementing the Storagesolutions intelligent storage management solutions at BTSR International, all material needed for production was prepared, placed on pallets, then moved to the SMD production area. Operators going through the production setup process had to manually locate each required component among the many reels on a pallet, not an efficient use of time. Following implementation of the Storagesolutions' systems, however, there were no more movements from the main stock to the SMD department. All material needed for production was already in the department and easily available.
Software for Electronics Production
In addition to advanced hardware, these automated storage solution systems operate under the control of software designed and developed solely for electronics production. For example, the software allows operators at BTSR International to check in advance to ensure that the necessary reels and components are available and ready for production. The software contributes to significant operating advantages, including the reduction of more than 50 percent of the handling time of the SMD components compared to the previous, manual approach. The software also helps reduce line stoppages due to issues related to component handling. In addition, it eliminates operator errors in the selection and search for required materials, as well as pallet flow problems from the main warehouse and the SMD department. Storagesolutions' AutoSMD software helps the storage systems trace all component movements and automatically calculate the exposure time beyond the limits, notifying the operator and blocking the component if the maximum time limit is exceeded.
BTSR International's Massimo Rossetti details some of the benefits of these automated storage systems: "With the dynamic management of the intelligent storage systems, we have reduced our SMD stock space by 70 percent. We were able to move all stock in the SMT production area and gain more space in the main warehouse that previously was used for SMD components. Also, we no longer need space for transit materials waiting to be loaded in the lines."
BTSR did not initially invest in storage systems equipped with humidity control. The firm's managers felt that its building air-conditioning units would maintain sufficient humidity for proper storage of the electronic components. But when the facility's air conditioning failed in August 2012, the company learned a harsh lesson. Because the company was closed for the summer holiday, the facility went a few weeks without air conditioning and humidity levels in the SMT department rose significantly. Once back in production, the company found that 10 to 15 percent of the LED Class 3 MSD components mounted on printed-circuit boards (PCBs) failed. For this reason, it retrofitted three of its ACS1500 systems and its ACS400 system with Storagesolutions' humidity control modules. Since that time, no further failures in this type of LED have occurred. The humidity modules make it possible to maintain an internal environment with humidity of less than 5 percent.
BTSR International often welcomes customers to its production facilities. With the tight organization brought about with these automated storage systems, the company can build customer confidence by showing them an efficient and organized production department. Customers can also see how proficiently BTSR International stocks its primary materials (electronics components), showcasing its process and high-quality products. As Rossetti concludes: "We consider Storagesolutions to be a very good investment and we intend to implement more as needed while updating our existing systems with new solutions."
Contact: Storagesolutions, Via Zambon 14/16, 36051 Creazzo, Italy +39 0444 376060 fax: +39 0444 376380 E-mail: info@storagesolutions Web: http://www.storagesolutions.it/en or BTSR International S. p. a., Via S. Rita, Olgiate olona, Italy +39 0331 323202 fax: +39 0331 323282 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.btsr.com/english.htm