Fashion – on the catwalk today and tomorrow already available on the high street or online. The demands on an efficient supply chain in the fashion industry are enormous. Dürkopp Fördertechnik, headquartered in Bielefeld, is numbered amongst the leading providers of complete intralogistics solutions. In particular, the company has established the benchmark for systems for the transporting and sorting of flat and hanging clothing.
With the accuracy of a seismograph, equipment manufacturers register changes in a market segment very early. This is also true in fashion logistics. The boom in e-commerce has driven up demand at Dürkopp for larger systems that enable the highly efficient automation of the complex processes in this market. And at the same time, customers expect ever shorter project times.
Dürkopp, the materials handling specialists, recognised these demands at a very early stage, and reacted to the growing diversification of products within the fashion business by extending its tried-and-trusted roll adapter system for hanging clothing through the addition of sorter pockets for flat articles, from shoe boxes to accessories. The RFID transponders that are integrated into the product carriers make each product type uniquely identifiable. The millions of adapters that are in daily use demonstrate how robust and flexible the system is.
Thanks to efficient connectivity, an SAI distributor can be cabled, labelled and tested in just 30 minutes
Conventional materials handling systems are designed around a main panel, decentralised distributors and sensor-actuator interfaces. When it comes to larger sorting facilities, Dürkopp decentrally combines several of these systems to create installations that can cover an area equivalent to several football pitches. In this way, each control mechanism has its own panel. In order to be able to complete these large projects in the shortest possible time for e-commerce providers for example, the materials handling specialists focus on pluggable sensor-actuator cabling that uses M23 circular connectors. Weidmüller delivers all the necessary components as pre-assembled cord sets, in the corresponding combinations and lengths, which significantly simplifies the pre-cabling at the factory for Dürkopp. Labelling is also done in a timely fashion, using the Weidmüller integrated marking system. The bottom line is that deploying both solutions results in noticeable reductions in equipment assembly times.
On-site installation time that in the past took two hours, can now be completed in the workshop in around 30 minutes, at the end of which the SAI distributor, with its 16 connections, is cabled, labelled and tested and then only has to be plugged in. A further advantage is that because the cord sets are pluggable, maintenance work and future expansions are
made easier. At the end of the day, materials handling systems are usually in use around the clock over several decades and even during servicing, downtimes have to be kept as short as possible. “With us, everything that can be made pluggable, is pluggable,” emphasises Manfred Sportelli, Head of Electrical Design and Production. Mr Sportelli has been responsible for the control technology at Dürkopp for over 40 years and from the start, he has focused on using connection solutions from Weidmüller. “Pre-assembly enables us to shorten commissioning times significantly and to avoid installation errors.”
Also, given that every month, tens of thousands of standardised markings are created at Dürkopp, it is also a question of maximising profitability and reliability. “Our PrintJet ADVANCED inkjet printer is in use in the workshop, day in and day out. For some time now, this has been supplemented by the compact THM MMP thermal transfer printers that are used on site by the installation engineers,” reports Alexander Wiersbowsky, who has been working at Weidmüller as a Sales Engineer for many years. Use of these mobile printers makes it possible to generate markers directly, on site as required, without losing time ordering and despatching them from the factory. The Dürkopp engineers use polyurethane labels from the MultiMark system with the THM MMP printers, which makes it possible to create labels in a similar quality to those produced by the PrintJet ADVANCED.
From the preparatory work in the workshop through
When the materials handling systems are commissioned, the SAI distributors only have to be connected and immediately they can start to support the operation of the equipment, often over several decades
commissioning and on to service and maintenance, the Weidmüller solutions help Dürkopp keep up with the dynamic developments in fashion logistics. There is further optimisation potential to be gained from the new options offered by digitalisation. And here as well, both companies are in discussions to identify ways to drive their joint success story forwards.
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Ready-for-connection cables for every requirement
Published in December 2017
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