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1. Why retrofitting is necessary

When the material handling system is used for years, it is likely to face issues listed below due to aging or operational environment changes. In order to utilize the system efficiently for long period at the lowest total cost, Daifuku recommend to take retrofitting at appropriate timing.

  1. 1. Operation stop due to failure from aging
  2. 2. Service parts termination
  3. 3. System no longer fits the current operation needs
  4. 4. Inadequate throughput for current needs
  1. 1. Opportunity loss, product loss
  2. 2. Increasing maintenance cost
  3. 3. Inefficient operations, low productivity
  4. 4. Increasing overtime wage

2. When retrofitting is recommended

The recommended timing for retrofitting / renewal can be divided into 3 phases as pictured below.

6~7 years Computer The service period of computer used for WMS/MFC generally ends 6~7 years after production finish. Daifuku recommends computer renewal at this timing.
~12 years Controller Daifuku supplies in-house control parts 7 years from delivery and provides repair service further 5 years. Thus, Daifuku recommends to upgrade machine controllers to the latest model before 12-year service period ends.
~25 years Machine Daifuku sees 25 years as the end of equipment life and suggests replacement to the latest models.

3. Daifuku's retrofit / renewal solutions

1. WMS

When computer hardware and OS is upgraded to the latest model, WMS program has to be tailored to the new environment as well. Depending on the gravity of changes in computer, it may have to be reproduced from scratch. In such case, the most economical way is to introduce new WMS package software combining modules.

2. Controller

Life of material handling equipment below 12 year old can be extended by replacing controllers while keeping original hardware.

Individual machine controllers of stacker cranes can be renewed one by one using weekends so as not to stop day-to-day operations. The latest speed control and learning technology enables cranes to move more smoothly and accurately.

The latest system controller "AS/RS Group Controller (AGC)" manages movement of stacker cranes, vehicles, conveyors and peripheral equipment more efficiently. AGC is compatible with both old machine controller and new one, allowing step-by-step renewal of individual controllers over the weekends. AGC also provides monitoring and reporting functions which are convenient for operation management.

replacing stacker crane controller
Replacing the old machine controller (left) to the new controller (right) over the weekend.
system controller AGC
AGC provides monitoring and reporting functions in addition to system control.
fixed stopper

3. Machine

Daifuku recommend to replace machinery of material handling equipment to new ones before reaching to 25 years old. In multiple stacker crane/vehicle system, the replacement can be started with one stacker crane/vehicle so that its parts can be reserved as spare parts for remaining old machines. Rack and rails are re-used as long as their conditions are good.

Replacing old stacker crane (left) to new stacker crane (right) aisle by aisle
Replacing an old vehicle with a new model (purple).

Case Study

Autobacs Seven (Japan)

The renewal of a 30m-high automated warehouse strengthened resiliency of the supply chain and saves energy consumption.

Showa Aircraft (Japan)

AS/RS retrofit, completed in less than five days, stabilizes operations and reduces errors.

Heiwado Corporation (Japan)

Renovating aged sorter to the latest model while continuing operation.

Trinity Mirror (UK)

27 year-old AS/RS reinvigorated with new twin-mast cranes at one of Britain’s largest printers.

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