Connecting warehouse management with warehouse automation
The logifact®MFC solution is designed to control warehouse automation equipment.
In the hierarchy of warehouse management, logifact®MFC software works in the layer between the WMS-type system and PLC (Programmable Logic Controller).
The first and highest layer of management is the WMS, which manages the operation of the warehouse. The division of tasks between the WMS and the MFC system can vary depending on the specific situation and the capabilities of both systems.
The next management layer is the MFC (Material Flow Control) layer. This is the layer that communicates with the WMS on the one hand, and directly with the PLC layer on the other, while also dealing with traffic control within the automated facility. If required, Logifact-Systems prepares and supplies its own MFC-class software systems-logifact®MFC.
The third layer is responsible for the control of the various components of the warehouse automation equipment such as electric motors, pneumatic drives and actuators, and thus ensures the efficient flow of materials through stacker cranes, conveyors, ‘satellite’ vehicles, sorters, applicators, de-/palletisers, etc.
logifact®MFC (Material Flow Control)
- effectively controls and manages the operation of warehouse automation equipment
- plays a subordinate role to the logifact®WMS warehouse management system and is fully integrated with it, through standard data exchange interfaces
- plays a superordinate role to the PLC and ensures optimal conversion of the control commands received from the WMS into control commands for individual automation devices
- can be easily adapted to different warehouse automation systems thanks to built-in tools
- has an integrated simulator to allow for advanced tests of automatic systems before they are installed, which significantly reduces the risks associated with implementation
- allows online tracking of the movement of units throughout the entire automatic installation
- provides detailed data for advanced analysis and reporting
Cooperation and division of roles between Logifact-Systems and warehouse automation suppliers
Logifact-Systems has for many years been successfully integrating its own logifact®WMS warehouse management system with the control systems of various proven warehouse automation suppliers.
We cooperate in this area with KNAPP, Rialex, SSI SCHAEFER, WDX, LOGISYSTEM, Kardex, Man.Dematic, AMSORT, Jungheinrich, and Mettler Toledo. Automation suppliers are equipping their solutions with a direct device control layer based on PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers).
In general, a WMS only manages the business layer, resulting in the automation system being seen as a ‘black box’. In this case, the WMS sends aggregated orders via MFC for the execution of the logistics process (e.g. picking tasks for the automated small parts warehouse) and expects confirmation of their progress status.
In other situations, the WMS is even further integrated into the management of automation processes by also incorporating the stock management of the automated small parts warehouse and taking over responsibility for both the supply of the appropriate containers for picking and the picking process itself.
The integration between the WMS and MFC solution requires the development of suitable interfaces for data exchange and, in general, modifications to the WMS itself.
Having worked with various warehouse automation suppliers for many years, Logifact-Systems has gained a wealth of experience:
- in the development of data exchange interfaces between its own logifact®WMS and the MFC of automation suppliers ( creating standard solutions in this field)
- in the continuous development of the logifact®WMS system to optimise the handling of automated warehouse processes
The experience has shown that close cooperation and commitment from both the WMS supplier and the warehouse automation providers is crucial to success.
Integration of the logifact®MFC system with warehouse automation
The open architecture of logifact®WMS allows for integration with a wide range of warehouse automation. Logifact-Systems has extensive experience in integrating its WMS with automation systems from many suppliers. We have the relevant know-how, a proven developed methodology and the necessary experience in this area.
Our WMS also makes it possible to configure warehouse processes in a way that allows to realize the full potential of automation system, ensuring through the warehouse.
When working on projects with warehouse automation, Logifact-Systems places particular emphasis on the precise definition of the division of management tasks between WMS – MFC systems, as well as the appropriate level of joint testing, as important factors affecting the success of the overall implementation.