Issue Iss 4 2008
Cimcorp focuses on productivity
Emanating from Finland, Cimcorp is a leading producer of robotic systems for logistic operations for companies operating primarily in the tyre, food and beverage, and metal industries.
The company’s large-area gantry systems combine three main technical competencies: robotics, logistics, and IT.
Cimcorp is at the forefront of designing, installing, and operating automated internal supply chain solutions. The use of programmed robotic technology allows clients to focus on optimising their operations, through reducing picking errors and damage of products at a distribution centre, while at the same time saving space within a facility and improving the control of material flow. Robotic technology can handle and manipulate a wide range of containers and products, including crates, cartons, retail packs, tyres, and paper reels, and can pick, sort, assemble and store customer orders quickly and efficiently.
In order for the physical system to run smoothly, both Cimcorp and its client must fully understand the material flow within its supply chain, particularly the changing demand on stock keeping units (SKUs) from the end customer. To ensure the robotic solution is correctly calibrated, Cimcorp will undertake extensive analyses, pre-studies, simulation and emulation processes to fully understand the requirements of the supply chain. Finally, a successful internal logistics system relies on an IT system that not only directs the robotic handling, but also the material flow, inventory, and the order and supply network. Cimcorp’s IT systems have been developed in conjunction with the flexible ‘open floor’ gantry robots to optimise and simplify the handling process.
Managing director Markku Vesa is keen to highlight the applications and benefits of Cimcorp’s solutions: “Our business supplies systems that are used to improve internal logistics, including the commissioning of shipments and the flow of materials. When looking at the area of internal logistics, we must ascertain what a customer requires – such as intermediate buffers within production lines, which introduces flexibility into the process. Overhead gantry operated systems are typically used in response to this area, in comparison to conveyor-based systems that take up a lot of floor space, and are typically regarded as quite rigid solutions. Flexibility is one of the main features of our gantry designs, as they can deal with an assortment of SKUs within any period of time – an essential factor for the customers that we deal with. From a client’s perspective, the timesaving potential of our equipment makes us stand out from our competitors.”
Markku continues by expanding the background of the company: “Cimcorp’s main area of business today is large-area gantry robot systems, which are supplied and used in a variety of applications. The company was established in 1975, and has been operating under the Cimcorp name since 1986. Cimcorp is a typical niche segment company, and we operate on a global scale. Employing 150 people at our Ulvila facility, our business emanates outwards from our headquarters in Finland. The business deals with market areas where it feels it is most competent in providing gantry systems that are competitive in the industry.
“At the moment, we are focusing on the tyrerelated industry, providing solutions for car and truck tyre manufacturers,” Markku states. “Most of our business is located in Europe and some parts of Asia, and we received our first orders from clients in Japan last year. We are in the process of undertaking our first project in Brazil, and we will potentially look to North American markets should the exchange rate become more reasonable. Cimcorp also works with operators in certain areas of the food and beverage sector, and the company has worked to a small extent with clients in the car and metal industries. The way we typically approach a prospective project is to understand how a client works, and tailor our system accordingly. We offer a wide range of consultancy services in regards to internal logistics, and we engineer the best possible solution alongside the customer. Cimcorp brings its competencies and experience to the table, and applies them to a company’s material flow process.”
Constantly developing technology is a necessary part of Cimcorp’s expertise within the logistics sector. This approach has encouraged its further expansion into robotic solutions, as Markku outlines: “Robotic systems offer higher speeds, so we are able to add this factor to the overall functionality of the solutions that we offer. We constantly receive positive feedback from clients across a number of industrial disciplines, and tracking the performance of our machinery in real time is an important part of developing our systems. In the tyre industry, part of what we do is to consistently focus on introducing new solutions and logistics technology to the market. Cimcorp is also involved a number of groundbreaking new projects across industries whose internal logistics have not been fully automated yet. It is a case of demonstrating the benefits our solutions can offer customers, to encourage other companies to adapt their systems likewise.”
The market remains receptive towards the solutions Cimcorp is able to provide. Markku is optimistic in regards to further growth over the coming years: “In automation, the market is looking increasingly positive, as it is clear there is a large amount of pressure within industry to reduce costs, and internal logistics is a primary area of focus. Companies are constantly looking for new handling techniques, so there are many opportunities for us. Even in countries such as China where the labour force is paid less, the need for automation of internal process is still required to compete. Most of the work to be completed over the next year has already been ordered, and it takes typically between one and two years to fully prepare a system, from the first layout to the final process. The situation looks positive in this respect, and I see no reason why this should change as Cimcorp moves forward, even in respect of high energy prices that affect everyone. “Since we have been working with large area gantry robot systems, including all the necessary software, for a long time, we are in a position to develop the technology further, and pass the benefits on to our customers,” Markku comments. “Cimcorp will continue to develop complex, time and space saving solutions, and become the number one supplier of these systems on the market,” he concludes
Products: Robotics systems for internal logistics
Employees: Approx. 150