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WEPA Hygieneprodukte GmbH

WEPA is a German family owned manufacturer of hygiene papers founded in 1948. With a turnover of approximately 1 billion € and 19 paper machines in Europe it is one of the three leading hygiene paper product manufacturers in Europe. Thanks to consistent expansion and investments amounting to millions of Euros, all WEPA locations are state-of-the-art and produce contemporary hygiene paper products for the most varied consumer requirements.

Challenge

On its site in Mainz WEPA decided to automate the intralogistics process of mother reels with automated guided vehicles (AGV) from Elettric80 Spa, which are managing a floor warehouse. Mother reels produced by the paper machine are transported and stored into the warehouse by AGV. The converting process where mother reels are processed into to end products is as well supplied with mother reels by AGVs. Since there are no persons involved in the intralogistics process the reliable and automated identification of the mother reels is crucial. Reels must be identifiable reliably from any direction by the AGV system and the converting machines for logistics automation and production traceability.

Solution

The process is based on a Vilant Systems RFID readers and software and Sonoco Alcore’s Intellicore UHF RFID equipped paper cores. When the paper is produced on the core, the reel identification number and parameters are programmed into the RFID transponder of the tissue reel core by the paper machine. The AGV process and conversion machines can then automatically identify the reel with RFID readers, which identify the reel ID though the paper in the process points.

In tissue manufacturing the cores are reused after the paper has been consumed by the converting machines. The RFID tag integrated into the core is a cost efficient identification solution since it can be reused as long as the core is functional for reuse.

The RFID readpoints are controlled with Vilant Engine software, and the entire process managed by Vilant Visibility Manager Server (VVM). VVM is also used for integration of RFID process information into back end systems like the AGV WMS and ERP.

Benefits

  • RFID made it possible to create a fully automated AGV based intralogistics process for tissue paper which takes intralogistics automation on a new level in the tissue industry
  • Reusable integrated Sonoco Alcore’s Intellicore RFID cores are a cost efficient means of reel identification
  • Automated traceability enabled on the converting machines, which now can identify the reels automatically and connect reel numbers to production lots
  • Vilant RFID middleware enables a real time process visibility and integration for all paper reel movements in the intralogistics process.

Automated identification of mother reels with RFID is key to intralogistics automation in the tissue paper industry.

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An AGV transporting tissue paper mother reels that have RFID cores:

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