Home' MHD Supply Chain Solutions : MHD Spt-Oct 2014 Contents 62
n a move to streamline their warehouse pro-
duction facilities, leading Australian ducted
heating & cooling systems manufacturer Brivis
turned to the same name used by Henry Ford
back in 1919 to re-invent his company: Jervis
B Webb. Now partnered with Japan’s largest
materials handling company Daifuku and sold in
Australia through Webb Australia, Daifuku-Webb
certainly hasn’t slowed down innovation.
Brivis project engineer Dean Vorbach said the
scope of updating their warehouse was basically a
twofold undertaking, aiming to increase the safety
of employees, along with warehouse efficiency.
With the warehouse originally using forklifts,
pull carts (chuffers) and a jib crane at the end
of production lines to load production units onto
pallets, then transfer them to storage, the time
taken driving the product to unload was exces-
sive. Coupled with the fact it was done in an
area with a large amount of pedestrian traffic, it
was inevitable change would be needed.
“We added up the distance spent each year
travelling to-and-fro unloading and it equated to
3.5 thousand kilometres, basically driving from
Perth to Melbourne,” Mr Vorbach said. “That is
a huge amount of time for someone to sit travel-
ling back and forth.”
After first designing a trolley to move the
heaters off the pallet system, the next step was
to look for a cost-effective automatic guided
vehicle (AGV), to replace the chuffers. After
extensive product research looking at options
from around the world, Brivis found the Daifuku-
Webb driverless SmartCart Automatic Guided
Cart (AGC), guided by magnetic tape.
Mr Vorbach explained that other AGV compa-
nies overseas had appeared to have problems
with either product support, language barriers,
or expected Brivis to change their operations to
suit the cart, rather than creating a customised,
tailored one to suit the needs of Brivis.
”Once I came across Webb Australia the
decision was easy,” he said. “It’s been great.”
The 100TT is professionally known as the tunnel
tugger due to its low profile, which allows it to easily
fit under mobile racks or customised load handling
frames. Its high pulling capacity and customisable
nature meant Brivis could add an elevated control
terminal for ease of use. Responding to a computer
program that manages their movements, the cart’s
magnetic guidance sensor reads magnetic tape
and transponders, easily installed on the floor to
guide them around the warehouse.
Brivis logistics manager Michael Vernon said
the installation process was simple. “It’s a process
that just works. We were able to easily use our own
staff to lay the magnetic guidance tape and after
less than a week, we were up and away,” he said.
Mr Vernon said Webb also produced a scaled-
down testing version of the Brivis operation at their
facility, so all employees could understand how the
process would work. “Having seen just the one cart
running and its capabilities, management are defi-
nitely looking to expand to another,“ he said.
Webb Australia technical sales consultant
Marcus Rose said he believes that many
companies may view advanced AGV
automation as price-prohibitive and/or overkill
for some of the straightforward tasks they were
seeking to automate.
He said the benefit of the Webb SmartCart
AGC was their low cost in comparison to larger
and more expensive AGV: “The SmartCart AGC
follow magnetic tape that is a pretty simple and
flexible guidance technology. We have base
models that start at around $50,000, which
allows for shorter ROI and also increases safety
in simple operations, where manual vehicles are
being used for internal transportation of parts or
finished product,” he said.
Webb Australia has a 100TT available
for demonstration in its Melbourne facility.
“We’re confident that once people see the
SmartCart AGC in action, they’ll see it as a solid
investment, so we’ve designed a mobile platform
that we can bring to potential customer sites to
demonstrate some of the AGC’s functionality.“
Daifuku Webb SmartCart AGC have been
used extensively in manufacturing throughout
North America for 20+ years, transforming the
manufacturing process for Ford Motor Company,
John Deere, Heinz, Honda, Sanyo, Proctor &
Gamble, Chrysler, Yamaha, Nissan, General
Motors and Harley-Davidson, among others.
For more information contact Webb Australia
on (03) 9358 4200, email m.rose@webbaust.
com.au, or visit www.webbaust.com.au.
MOVE SMARTER WITH
Brivis project engineer Dean Vorbach.
MHD SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS — SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2014
62 MATERIALS HANDLING AND MANAGEMENT
MHD Sep-Oct 2014 56-69.indd 62
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