Finland-based Nekos Oy has developed an automated storage system for plastic boxes, the strengths of which are the large storage capacity and the ease of maintenance and cleaning. Where the traditional storage solution covers the floors of the hall with conveyors, the Logistic Tote Storage (LT) leaves the floor areas almost completely empty. The advantages of the solution have been noticed in the food industry, where hygiene is particularly strict.
LT can also be installed in low spaces and, if necessary, on a mezzanine, freeing up space below the storage for other purposes. Nekos Oy has applied its solution not only in the food industry but also in the field of trade and logistics. To date, Nekos has delivered more than 70 storages. The LT storage is an internationally known and patented system.
“Nekos Oy is a top expert in material handling systems from Finland. We offer our customers strong technological know-how and diverse industry knowledge. At present, exports account for about 80 percent of turnover,” says Jaakko Laihorinne, CEO of Nekos.
“The cornerstones of our operations are a high level of quality and keeping promises. These have enabled continuity. We are also required to constantly follow the latest trends and requirements for the material handling business,” Laihorinne continues.
The transition to Siemens servos brought many additional years to the current LT storage solution and at the same time raised the system's performance to a new level.Veli-Pekka Vänskä
Anticipation helps move forward
When it was decided to develop LT storage technologies, one of the targets were drives and motors. For Nekos, it is important to carry out product development projects quickly and to easily adapt new solutions to existing structures.
For motors and drives, it was important to maintain the old gear unit dimensions. At the beginning of the project, Nekos was supported by experts from Siemens and the partner OEM Sitek (Approved Partner), who quickly managed to find a solution suitable for the LT storage and its old gear unit dimensions.
“We strive to anticipate replacing old technology with new one in good time before spare parts availability or changing obligations in the market cause problems. For example, the transition to Siemens servos brought many additional years to the current LT storage solution and at the same time raised the system's performance to a new level,” says Veli-Pekka Vänskä, Nekos' Automation Manager.
According to Vänskä, the main reason for choosing the Sinamics S210 and 1FK2 servomotors was the one cable technology (OCC), which greatly facilitated installation and commissioning, replacing the work time consuming separate cable solution.
“The advantages of the servo drives are also the compact size and dynamics. When the core network is Profinet, all servos in the system can be programmed and diagnosed from a single point, either from the field or from our office,” Vänskä continues.
Reliable partner nearby
Ensuring component availability is important throughout the system lifecycle. Especially in older systems, it is essential for the end customer's production to find a spare part that fits directly into the broken one without long-term system modifications.
"That's why it's easy to trust Siemens products," says Veli-Pekka Vänskä.
If necessary, support is quickly available, as transactions are facilitated by the close partner OEM Sitek and Product Manager Hannu Hinttu, who has ten years of experience with Siemens products.
“In problem situations, Hannu figures out the solution. OEM Sitek has its own warehouse, which has helped in many difficult situations,” Vänskä mentions.
Siemens is also satisfied with the cooperation with the customer, Hinttu and OEM Sitek.
”Hannu identifies the customer's needs and locations where Siemens' technologies have the right place,” says Product Manager Jarno Kivistö from Siemens.
OEM Sitek, represented by Hannu Hinttu, serves as a Siemens partner from its offices in Turku, Tampere and Jyväskylä.
“The project progressed from the beginning in good cooperation with the customer and Siemens. We found a solution with which we were able to solve the customer’s challenge and with which the customer can develop their own product better. The project had very good support from Siemens product managers,” Hinttu praises.
LT storage solution
- Utilizes floor space efficiently and adapts to a wide range of spaces.
- Capable of up to 60,000 boxes.
- Fully automatic.
- Hygienic and easy to clean.
- Easy to expand and relocate when needed, supporting circular economy goals.
- Capable of the same result with 6 motors, when the corresponding capacity conveyor-based solution requires up to more than 30 motors.
- Few parts and maintenance items, saving resources and costs.
- More information on the topic on Nekos Oy's website.
Siemens technology solution
- Simatic S7-1500F failsafe PLC and motion controller on Profinet bus.
- Sinamics S210 positioning application with Profisafe safety functions.
- Sinamics G120C conveyor drives with Profisafe safety functions.
- Simogear gears with 1FK2 servomotors.
- Interfaces Simatic Comfort and Mobile Panels.
- The IP69K Sirius Act push buttons meet the most stringent requirements of the food industry.