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Warehouse Automation with SAP MFS

Material flow and automation technology completely integrated into your warehousing processes

In the course of automating production, the introduction of warehouse automation technologies and the optimization of warehouse technology is becoming more important.
Reasons for the automation of a warehouse can be, for example, the need for compact storage, high throughput, long internal transport paths, great consolidation effort, and the need for ergonomic and safe working conditions.
With SAP MFS (Material Flow System), warehouse and conveyor technology can be integrated directly into SAP and controlled in real time. SAP MFS as a completely integrated material flow system is a component of SAP EWM. Thus, the use of additional material flow control systems and other communication middleware is no longer required since SAP MFS communicates directly with subordinate programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

valantic graphics about warehouse automation with SAP MFS

The advantages of warehouse automation with SAP MFS are the high degree of standardization, the low number of interfaces, and cost advantages with respect to maintenance, operation, and support. In addition, you need just one system for warehouse management, warehouse control, and material flow control.

valantic graphics about warehouse automation with SAP MFS

Functional scope of SAP MFS (Material Flow System)

  • Automatic HU identification via scanner on the conveyor technology
  • Automatic discharge of HUs that cannot be stored (contour errors, overweight, not identified)
  • Completely automatic putaway of HUs in target storage bin across as many intermediate steps and identification points as desired (routing)
  • Consideration of disturbances that are reported by the PLCs
  • Consideration of capacity limits for identification points, conveyor segments, and resources (storage and retrieval machines, transfer cars, etc.)
  • Dual cycles of storage and retrieval machines to minimize deadheads
  • Multiple-depth storage (channel storage systems, shuttle storage systems)
  • Rerouting based on exceptions (conveyor segment malfunction, S/R machine malfunction, etc.)
  • Dynamic rack-aisle determination
  • Stable telegram communication between SAP EWM and PLC via parallel, bidirectional communication channels

Via SAP EWM’s warehouse monitor, you have the following functions

  • Tracing of the current system status
  • Evaluation of telegram and response times
  • View of the current location of HUs and the associated warehouse tasks
  • Determination of telegram traffic for individual HUs or warehouse tasks
  • Stop or restart of communication for individual PLCs
  • Locking of identification points, conveyor segments or resources
  • Telegram repetitions
  • Manual acknowledgment of warehouse tasks

Example of automatic high-bay storage and conveyor technology for pallets

valantic graphics about warehouse automation with SAP MFS

Items on pallets are stored in and retrieved from a three-aisle high-bay pallet storage system using a crosswise transfer car. The system handles the storage of goods from production, which is connected directly to two conveyor lines. The conveyor system uses rectification lines (contour and weight check) on the input and output sides. Two conveyor lines and several rotary tables can supply three shipping areas on the output side. There is a separate handover point for manual storage.

Example of case conveyor system

valantic graphics about warehouse automation with SAP MFS

An automatic small-parts warehouse supplies two packing areas with containers. The individual packing stations are supplied ready for distribution with containers. Deliveries with more than five containers will be routed by SAP EWM to the left packing area, which has a conveyor loop. Smaller orders, by contrast, will be routed to the right packing operation. On the PLC side, a sorter functionality with single bin management was implemented in the conveyor system. Thus, the system works with just three identification points. The conveyor segments for the return of empty containers is not depicted.

Benefits of the use of SAP MFS

Reduction of procurement and maintenance costs for hardware
Reduction of procurement, licensing, and maintenance costs for software
High availability with use of existing productive SAP systems
No additional training effort required for system support
No dependence on material flow control system manufacturers for adjustments to or expansion of the system
Integrated, hardware-independent solution based on SAP standard software

Our services

  • Implementation of SAP EWM MFS
  • Replacement of proprietary material flow control system solutions
  • Replacement of existing systems based on SAP WM-TRM
  • Planning and execution of retrofit projects
  • Incorporation of technical systems
  • Adapted telegram traffic between SAP EWM and PLCs
  • Standardized integration of automated warehouse technology
  • Advising and planning
  • Layout creation and throughput calculations
  • Development of transfer concepts and emergency scenarios
  • Start-up, training, and support

Your Contact

Bild von Markus Schneider, Managing Consultant und Teamleiter Advanced Logistics bei valantic Supply Chain Excellence

Markus Schneider

Managing Consultant
valantic Supply Chain Excellence