Project: Lab meets intelligent logistics

Logistics in the laboratory: In order to make processes efficient, Testo Industrial Services together with Unitechnik Systems is planning an intelligent logistics system that automates the supply of the various laboratories with the measuring instruments to be calibrated. With the new building, the calibration service provider is making its biggest investment in its future to date. 
The Testo SE & Co. KG is represented on all continents with 3,000 employees, 34 subsidiaries and over 80 trading partners and is thus the world market leader in the field of measurement technology. The subsidiary Testo Industrial Services GmbH has developed over the past 20 years into Germany's largest provider of calibration services for a wide range of measuring instruments. In order to efficiently design proven processes in modern premises and at the same time to further expand the high quality standards, the company relies on a state-of-the-art logistics system for the new construction of its "Calibration Factory" in the Fischerrain industrial park in Kirchzarten, which serves the employees with the devices on demand.

Laboratory meets intelligent logistics
The heart of the planned system is a shuttle system in which the customer equipment to be calibrated is temporarily stored in 7,000 storage locations. The shuttle system achieves a high packing density through triple-deep storage on the shelves. A total of 16 shuttle vehicles, which can be used over several levels, ensure the necessary material throughput. The bin warehouse is designed for up to 300 storage and retrieval operations per hour. With more than 300 m of conveyors the stations incoming goods, outgoing goods and a route train are connected to the shuttle warehouse. In order to calibrate the measuring instruments for the future field of application, laboratories for electronics, thermodynamics, mechanics, dimensions and flow are available. The transport to the laboratories is initially carried out via route trains. Once the work on an instrument is completed, it is stored again until it is shipped. The storage and retrieval of newly arrived, to be calibrated, already calibrated and ready for dispatch devices is coordinated fully automatically in the background by the material flow control system UniWare from Unitechnik. The system controls every step from goods receipt via route train connection to the subsequent dispatch.

Low-vibration transport for sensitive measuring instruments
The low-noise conveyor system ensures that the equipment is ergonomically served to the employees. "It was important to us that despite the automation, no factory character is created in our new building", says Markus Salemink, project manager of Testo. "With the help of Unitechnik, we planned the system in such a way that the conveyor technology fits seamlessly and quietly into the office environment and at the same time relieves our employees". In addition, the automatic conveyor technology ensures that the sensitive devices are transported with much less vibration than in the case of manual removal. Cushions in the transport containers additionally protect the goods.

With the new solution, the laboratories are supplied by efficient and ergonomic logistics. Traceability and short access times optimize the incoming and outgoing goods processes. Further growth is also already planned: Expansion options for the conveyor system workstations and the warehouse technology are included in the new building plans.