Sinocare, Asia’s largest manufacturer of blood glucose meters, recently joined forces with shark robotics to implement a full set of Autonomous Case-Handling Robot (ACR) systems at their warehouse in Changsha, China.
Hai Robotics, a pioneer in Autonomous Case-Handling Robot (ACR) systems for warehouse logistics, provided deeper intelligent technology integration and development of in-plant logistics in the healthcare facility, achieving higher workflow efficiency rates and lower labor costs. Li Zhi, senior manager of Sinocare’s technical department, said, “The strategy of digitized and intelligent transformation of the supply chain using the ACR systems will continuously fuel Sinocare’s business growth now and far into the future.”
ACR systems promote operational efficiencies
ACR solutions provide a more efficient, simpler, and more accurate way to manage materials throughout warehouse operations. These intelligent solutions use HAIQ, a warehouse management system developed by Hai Robotics, as the intelligent brain that manages all processes to enable effective responses to fluctuating demands and handle complex logistical challenges within the facility while maintaining maximum efficiency.
To meet the high demands of Sinocare’s flexible production line, Hai Robotics’ ACR solution was implemented to manage the movements of semi-finished products as part of the manufacturing process and in storage. The ACR system is fully integrated into Sinocare’s existing Manufacturing Execution System and contributes to the digitization of the entire goods management.
This integration now enables operators to easily and accurately manage inventory, monitor the handling of products, and track the movements of inbound and outbound goods. This has enabled Sinocare to make significant advances in smart warehousing and smart manufacturing collaboration.
ACR systems improve storage density
Sinocare’s warehouse in Changsha, which stores semi-finished products, covers an area of 1,000m², and there was a need to store more goods while keeping the storage area the same. By implementing Hai Robotics’ high-density ACR system, Sinocare has increased its storage capacity from 7,500 to 12,000 bins. This increased the average storage density to around 13 containers per square meter.
Hai Robotics’ ACR solution was able to meet these metrics and improve storage density, mainly due to two key factors. Hai Robotics’ first ACRs are able to work in tight spaces, especially in aisles less than 1.2m wide. The second, two bins, can be placed in front of each other on a shelf and two shelves back to back effectively realizing double-deep shelving and reducing the total number of aisles, creating a high-density storage unit that is four bins deep and accessible from two sides. These shelving units were then stacked throughout the warehouse to a height of 4.4m.
ACR’s intelligent picking frees up manpower
Traditional warehouse management relies heavily on manual labor, which presents many challenges in terms of availability, cost, and efficiency, while other companies are on the rise with the use of efficient automation. For facilities that are still manually operated, normal human error, slow and inefficient operations, and natural physical limitations often result in delays in facility maintenance, expired inventory, and failure to replenish parts on time when inventory is low. These problems can lead to major problems for the operation. Sinocare recognized the need for automation to increase employee productivity and maximize workflow efficiencies.
Sinocare’s Changsha warehouse was able to double its efficiency rate per worker by implementing automated storage and handling of containers of semi-finished products for the entire process, while reducing the burden of previously tedious tasks. When goods are received, a robotic arm grabs the loaded containers and places them on a conveyor belt.
Hai Robotics’ ACRs then collect the totes and deliver them to the appropriate locations on the shelves in the high-density storage area. When the goods need to be fetched from the warehouse, the ACRs retrieve the containers from the warehouse and transport them to a temporary storage rack, where an AGV then takes the goods to a production line. The automated solution also helps create a better working environment for people. Operators can now track and manage the system from a dashboard without any strenuous work.
Unlocking the potential in healthcare warehousing
Founded in 2002, Sinocare is a leading high-tech enterprise committed to using biosensor technology to manufacture and sell products for the rapid detection of diabetes and other chronic diseases. As the largest manufacturer of blood glucose meters and test strips, Sinocare has captured 50% of China’s retail blood glucose meter market.
Together with Hai Robotics, Sinocare aims to build an intelligent storage system for semi-finished products to unlock the potential of healthcare warehousing.