The Limonta Group is a family business with almost 2,000 employees, 10 factories, 6 branches and 10 stores, founded in 1893 in Costamasnaga, near Como, Italian area known in Europe for its ancient textile tradition. Thanks to the high care dedicated to its production, over the decades Limonta has acquired a very wide and diversified textile culture that has led the company to become a reference name in the field of special fabrics, both treated and untreated, with use in the most diverse sectors: clothing, leather goods, footwear, furniture.
From fabrics for raincoats to lighter cottons for casual wear to silk-effect nylon, Limonta works with extreme attention to detail to enrich the textile product and provide excellent service to its customers.
To this end and to meet the levels of performance required by business growth forecasts, the strategic leverage for Limonta is the automation and improvement of intralogistics processes, in particular the picking of fabric bolts and the automatic warehouse.
The refurbishment of the automatic warehouse and the innovative automatic picking solution for fabric bolts
LCS was therefore entrusted with the task of finding an ad-hoc solution that would ensure automated fabric bolt flows, make the system efficient, minimize errors and relieve staff from heavy and arduous tasks.
The first step of the challenging project was an extensive technological renovation of the existing Limonta automatic warehouse, functional to the subsequent creation of the automatic system for the picking of the bolts, with direct connection to the automatic warehouse itself.
Therefore, LCS intervened on all levels of the automation pyramid by replacing the management software (WMS) and warehouse control software (WCS) and, in August alone, by refurbishing all the stacker cranes and the PLC of the conveyors.
The automatic warehouse of Limonta, renewed and efficient, was then subjected to continuous monitoring in order to verify the perfect success of the intervention and to design the automatic picking system for fabric bolts. The latter, weighing between 20 and 30 kg and stored in large metal boxes, were picked by the operators and sorted manually for packing and shipping.
LCS, based on the performance data of the automatic warehouse and on simulations, has designed and implemented a solution that has disrupted the functioning of this area of operation, ensuring automatic and reliable picking. Thanks to a complex mechanical and technological infrastructure, to a system of conveyors and barcode readers and to LCS proprietary software, the bolts of different sizes stored in the metal boxes are rolled over on a conveyor and read one by one to be correctly sorted and conveyed to the appropriate metal boxes based on the destination of the goods to customers or back to the automatic warehouse.
The benefits: higher levels of productivity, better performance and increased customer satisfaction
The design and implementation of the new picking system connected to the renewed automatic warehouse represented a real technological challenge, given the irregular size of the fabric bolts and the intense flows. A challenge won thanks to the continuous collaboration between LCS and Limonta and the attention to detail that has always distinguished LCS.
The most significant benefits include reduced errors, plant efficiency and ergonomic working conditions. In this regard, if previously the staff had to handle heavy bolts of 20-30 kg, now, thanks to the automatic picking solution, they carry out the more qualifying tasks of supervision and prompt intervention in case of failure.
The solution designed and implemented by LCS has also allowed Limonta to respond in a timely way to the needs of an increasingly dynamic and demanding market thanks to:
- a 70% reduction in the number of fabric bolts handled against the same daily volume of bolts shipped (compared to the situation prior to automatic picking), the latter figure has increased in the last 6 months;
- a reduction in lead-time with a consequent increase in delivery accuracy and customer satisfaction;
- an overall increase in performance and customer satisfaction, with positive effects on both business and corporate image.
What Limonta’s manager say
“Over the past year“, states Valentino Fumagalli, Limonta Logistics Manager, “we have tripled our plant performance and reduced lead-time from 2-3 days to just one day. LCS has supported us enormously in obtaining these results and in all the improvements we have made, which have led to an overall increase in productivity”.
Italo Magni, Finished Product Warehouse Manager, confirms: “Now it’s much easier to plan and interact with the sales offices and my staff. We can easily set up the program and assign appropriate priorities. The benefits are undeniable, I think we should never be afraid of innovation“.
Facts and figures:
- Automatic warehouse refurbishment with the replacement of the WMS and the WCS
- Stacker cranes and conveyors PLC refurbishment in August
- 20 metal boxes/hour tilted
- Approximately 400 fabric bolts/hour handled, of which an average of 120 shipped and 280 re-entering the automatic warehouse
- Cameras for plant supervision 24/7