How far have you come in terms of implementation of the "intelligent container"?
Our container’s can’t talk yet. However, in almost all automation projects it is standard for us to transform our BITOBOXES into information carriers by using barcodes or RFID transponders. How this information is then used depends on the relevant company’s concept. For example, if a company uses the Kanban system, a container can automatically trigger an order as soon as it is empty. This achieves needs-controlled provision of parts. In addition, the goods in the containers can be easily identified and tracked. There are also approaches involving equipping containers with sensors so that they can provide information on the status of the stored item. However, these matters must always be looked at in the context of cost/benefit. The drop in the price of electronic components could make future developments possible.
What role do digitalisation and Industry 4.0 play in a company?
Industry 4.0 is a vision that offers great opportunities – such as higher competitive strength, more flexible manufacturing or more individual production. Basically, products, transport aids and tools should be played with within companies to find out which production elements are best able to take on the next step. To achieve this, it is necessary for all components involved in the process to be networked. We are watching the changes associated with Industry 4.0 very carefully and investigating the contribution that shelving and container systems can make in this area in future. This is most clear in the aforementioned intelligent containers. These are able to communicate not only their own identification, but also temperature or access information, for example. Industry 4.0 is continually driving the development of load carriers.
What will the focal point of your CeMAT appearance next year be?
At CeMAT 2016 we will be showcasing shelving and container systems for a whole range of sectors. Particularly in the e-commerce sector, many customers are facing new challenges. We want to show that our portfolio gives the customer an opportunity to grow systematically. For example, a store can become a picking or returns warehouse. In addition, our new developments in the area of folding boxes and pallet flow using active rollers, and the self-driving transporter system LEO Locative will be at the forefront.
BITO-Lagertechnik Bittmann GmbH
BITO, headquartered in Meisenheim (Rhineland-Palatinate), specialises in warehouse and operating equipment as well as picking technology. The company offers shelves and shelving systems, storage and picking systems, crates and containers as well as warehouse equipment and accessories for all industries. Customers receive independently developed and manufactured standard products as well as project-specific solutions from a single source. The medium-sized firm has production facilities in Germany and a joint venture with production in India. 14 subsidiaries in western and eastern Europe and a subsidiary in Dubai all belong to the BITO group. It also has additional sales offices worldwide. 890 employees generated turnover of 190 million euros in 2013.