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Mobile SCADA controls automation

retailers cannot afford to incur unnecessary costs through system downtime

SCHAD, developer of the EXTEND7000 mobile SCADA system has implemented a mobile solution for BAUR, one of Germany’s oldest multichannel retailers. BAUR is using EXTEND7000, a powerful mobile SCADA system that allows the monitoring and control of automated processes to be extended to an ordinary mobile device, smartphone or tablet.

BAUR operates 3 large, fully automated logistics departments at three locations in Germany, responsible for controlling warehouse receiving docks, high-rack storage machinery, conveyor belts and sorting technology. At these sites, BAUR operates a variety of different conveyor systems and 14 stacker cranes (SRMs), controlled by over 60 Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), which are monitored around the clock from the company’s central control room’s WinCC visualisation system.

Earlier in 2011, BAUR implemented SCHAD’s mobile SCADA system, EXTEND7000, which has resulted in employee efficiency increasing by 15 percent and the company’s support telephone call costs reduced by 60 percent.

"Business trends are clearly moving towards enterprise mobility, it is unstoppable. In two years everyone will have a smartphone so it is only natural to utilise them to improve business processes,” says Roland Säum, BAUR Technical Services Project Manager. "To ensure the most efficient workflows, employees should be able to receive logistics technology notifications and have access to system controls anywhere at any time. EXTEND7000 helps us by avoiding unnecessary walkways, improving the efficiency of staff deployment and saving time - thus increasing productivity."

BAUR’s automated warehouse is a highly complex environment. In total, there are around 70,000 defined notifications within its logistics technology including conveyor states such as “running”, “standstill”, “maintenance switch off/on” or run time errors. All notifications are sent to the central visualisation system in the control room, which is staffed by several employees around the clock. On average, these employees forward around 60 cases each hour to the relevant technicians.

"The use of mobile technology simplifies and optimises communications and efficiency of operations,” adds Roland Säum. "EXTEND7000 offers an affordable and functionally rich solution for mobile monitoring and control of all our logistics technology."

Before integrating EXTEND7000, control room technicians would individually call maintenance engineers and verbally forward on error messages. However this caused workflow issues because control room personnel were not aware of which of the 35 engineers were in service, or, whether they had already accepted previous tasks. As a consequence, several calls were required in order to locate an engineer able to take over the given task – resulting in an unnecessary loss of time. This situation is exactly what BAUR wanted to prevent when they decided to invest in a mobile SCADA system, EXTEND7000.

EXTEND7000 was integrated into the existing system control concept and is now directly coupled with the Siemens S7-300/400 control systems through a TCP. To achieve this, it was not necessary to modify the existing control programmes or restart the CPU’s.

Now, incoming notifications are simply sent directly from here to the engineer’s BlackBerry devices. In this way, technical staff can receive alerts at anytime, regardless of their location.

Before introducing EXTEND7000, each employee carried normal mobile phones with call tariffs. Today, smartphones are being used with more cost effective ‘call & surf’ tariffs. Since call times have now been reduced by 60 percent, the additional costs incurred by contract conversion were immediately covered. Additionally, control room personnel and field technicians are now able to work more efficiently. Since EXTEND7000 does not source through the existing WinCC visualisation system, it also functions as a SCADA backup in the event of a WinCC failure.

As part of phase 1, EXTEND7000 has been used to pass on an initial 28.000 maintenance error notifications. However, BAUR’s long-term goal is to communicate a greater level of information and notifications through SCHAD’s innovative mobile SCADA software. In the future, EXTEND7000 will be used to inform middle management about plant states, number of units, individual departments’ work progress. BAUR also plans to integrate its entire building management systems into EXTEND7000.

“The implementation we have completed for BAUR illustrates perfectly the value a mobile SCADA system offers to retailer that has invested heavily in automation to reduce errors and streamline logistics operations. As margins are continually being squeezed downwards, retailers cannot afford to incur unnecessary costs through system downtime and a solution such as EXTED7000 pays for itself very quickly both in lower overheads and all round better customer satisfaction,” says Christian Schad, CEO of SCHAD GmbH.

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About SCHAD

SCHAD was founded in 2007 by Christian Schad, with the aim of developing a global standard for the mobile operation, control and maintenance of automated systems using an ordinary mobile device. The company has won a number of industry awards including a 2010 Vodafone Application Award for best machine to machine solution; and a BlackBerry Innovation Award in 2009 and 2010 for transforming enterprise business performance. SCHAD was also a RIM Finalist in the 2008 Wireless Leadership Awards.

Currently companies using EXTEND7000 include Brillux (paint manufacturer), LSG Sky Chefs (airline catering services), BASF (chemicals manufacturer), Lugato (building products manufacturer), Frosta (frozen food manufacturer), Budni (personal products retailer) plus Berlin, Munich and Köln Airports.

For further information please review the EXTEND7000 FAQ and case studies available online at www.schad-automation.com.

About BAUR

Baur Versand was founded in 1925 by Dr. Friedrich Baur. He was the first to introduce bulk orders to customers, where customers join the ordering process by ordering for others. Another important innovation was the payment by instalments. As a result, the mail order company expanded its range of textiles and hard goods to become one of the largest mail order companies in Germany. After the death of Dr. Friedrich Baur, the company was introduced into the Dr.-Friedrich-Baur-Stiftung. Today BAUR is a subsidiary of the Otto Group. With around 4,000 employees, the company is one of the largest employers in the upper franconian district of “Lichtenfels”. Important BAUR German subsidiaries include department store Kaufwelt BAUR in Altenkunstadt, service company BAUR Fulfillment Solutions (BFS) and shoe retailers I’m walking and mirapodo. Since 2001, BAUR Versand has been active in Austria through its subsidiary UNITO. The company has also been active in Switzerland since 2010.

For more information please check www.baur.de

Media contact:

Lesley Muir
07796 148400
Lesley@good-pr.co.uk


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