With five Remstar Shuttle vertical lift modules, BMW accommodates a larger facility and increased production without increasing the size of its component storeroom.
After enlarging its plant near Spartanburg, S.C., BMW Manufacturing Corp. needed to maximize storeroom capacity to accommodate additional automotive production lines. The answer was five vertical-lift modules (VLMs) from Remstar.
Each Remstar Shuttle VLM holds as much as approximately nine standard 30-in.-wide, 30-in.-deep, and 60.-in-high cabinets would. Using such standard cabinets would also require twice the floorspace. The VLMs make efficient use of the storeroom's vertical cube without using a lot of floorspace.
"Even with the dramatic increase in production capacity and manufacturing flexibility, the plant's existing 7,500-ft 2 storeroom for manufacturing equipment was not allotted more space," says Tony Brannon, coordinator, Central Operations Support. Although drawer cabinets, a pallet stack, and shelving were already nearly full, the room's vertical cube was largely untouched, he adds.
BMW's Shuttle VLMs, arranged side-by-side, are standalone, modular, enclosed systems of vertically arranged trays, workstation-type extraction platforms, and computerized pushbutton controls for part retrieval. They travel vertically at 138 ft/min with an extraction speed of 10.63 in./sec.
Three of the shuttle units are 26-ft tall, while two are 22 ft because of interfering roof beams. To equalize storage capacity per VLM, the shorter units are wider — with wider internal trays. These units feature 69 trays, each 72-in. wide and 32-in. deep. The taller, narrower VLMs have 55 trays, each 49-in. wide and 32-in. deep.
Tray-to-tray retrieval times for the VLMs at BMW range from 30 to 32 sec. Load capacity per tray is 550 lb, and balancing the load is unnecessary because the trays are chain-driven from both ends. Out of the storeroom's 14,500 part numbers, the VLMs house 2,600.
Remstar International Inc.