Umicore began producing catalysts in China in 2015. The production facilities at the factory were developed in Denmark, in cooperation among Umicore and several Danish suppliers. LOGIA manages an intermediate goods warehouse in the production department that consists of two miniloads, including a rail system.
Production with integrated warehouse
The production plant is fully automatic, and as part of the process, there is a need for an intermediate warehouse for both monolith molds, the finished monoliths, and empty trays, on which both molds and monoliths are placed in the warehouse space.
The location of the warehouse space in the middle of the production area ensures that semi-finished products are close to the production process and take up as little space as possible on the production floor. This results in more working space and less internal transportation. Automatic intermediate storage also means that items are not damaged or soiled during the waiting time between the different production processes. Even better, the company achieves 100% inventory control and full traceability of all items.
Monoliths and molds come from the production facilities via a rail system and are transported directly into the miniload warehouse. The items have unique ID tags that are used for managing and tracking items in the warehouse through the subsequent production process and in the finished product.
Both monoliths and molds are cylindrical and arrive upright at the intermediate warehouse on conveyor belts. Here, they are automatically scanned and registered. The items are placed on specially designed storage trays and driven into the warehouse space, where the miniload cranes collect trays and items and place them in the shelving system. When the items are to be used in the production process, they are ordered via LOGIA, which controls the retrieval and delivery of the right items to the production line system to the next production process. Storage and retrieval take place in line with the production processes before and after the warehouse.
The LOGIA control works in close integration with Umicore’s production management system (MES).
Umicore in China
Umicore built its factory in China because of the Chinese law stipulating that all large diesel engines must have catalyst converters, to limit NOx pollution in China. China has therefore become an extremely interesting market for Umicore, which has now established production facilities closer to its customers. The factory in China will be fully automated and packed with Danish automation and technology.
Read more about Umicore.