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Point of use technology in the supply chain

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article image Automated dispensing machines decentralise store operations.

EVAHEN Technology has released the RoboCrib dispensing unit. Point of Use technology allows companies to increase productivity, increase accountability and reduce downtime through improvements in their internal supply chain. Automated dispensing machines decentralise store operations, bringing parts and materials to employees without compromising security and accountability.

In place of a central parts store, automated point of use dispensing units are located throughout the factory area. Employees simply walk up to the dispensing unit, select the item they need and take it from the machine. The system tracks each transaction along with inventory control and management.

The inbuilt touch screen makes it easy to select parts and the unit’s robotics deliver it into the user’s hand. This saves time compared to searching for an item in a store.

The RoboCrib dispensing unit is based on a carousel design. It allows different sized parts to be managed in a single unit. With models holding up to 2500 separate items, it can accommodate the needs of most companies. The design makes it well suited where a mix of fast and slow moving items is required.

Only employees can access the item they have selected and accounted for. Management can implement usage limits, restricting the quantity of parts issued to individual employees or job numbers.

The RoboCrib unit is stocked with all the day to day items needed by employees. The employee approaches the unit and identifies him/herself by typing into a computer or presenting an electronic ID. Using the built in touch screen the user selects an item. If prompted he or she enters job codes or other cost allocation information. RoboCrib rotates the appropriate item to the front of the unit and opens an access hatch for the selected part. The employee takes the part and returns to work, with the whole operation taking less than one minute. The information system logs the transaction, applies the cost to the appropriate job and decrements inventory. If required the system will also monitor inventory levels and generate restocking orders.

RoboCrib’s flexibility allows it to be used for a wide range of parts. Machine tools in an engineering shop through to glassware in a laboratory, electronic components or stationery are all handled by the system.

RoboCrib’s client/server software will manage a number of automated dispensing units across a site, along with traditional manned stores. It offers extensive inventory management, control and monitoring capabilities with over 150 standard management reports available. The software also interfaces with many ERP systems including SAP, JDE and Baan. This allows seamless integration with existing operations.

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