Dassault Falcon Jet picking speed and accuracy soars with Modula VLMs

Case Summary

Aircraft parts storage center increases their speed and accuracy while providing safe and secure storage for critical aviation parts and tools.

Dassault Falcon Jet, a subsidiary of Dassault Aviation, has its headquarters as well as a large aircraft parts storage distribution center in Teterboro, NJ. The aviation industry by its nature has no margin for error, so order picking for aircraft parts must be accurate as well as quick. To meet time-sensitive deadlines and deliver the right aviation part the first time, Dassault needed to find a better way to manage its aircraft parts inventory. With the installation of 3 Modula vertical lift modules (VLMs), the Falcon Jet division was able to boost both accuracy and speed and provide a safe and secure aircraft parts storage solution for aviation parts and tools.

The Problem

Dassault was beginning to notice problems delivering orders. Picking errors were occurring and it was taking an excessive amount of time to get aircraft parts orders out the door. Most of these orders were in response to aircraft-on-ground (AOG) issues. These grounded planes were prohibited from flying for technical reasons and the requested mechanical aircraft parts would be used to get them operational again. The economics of the aircraft industry is such that an efficient aircraft maintenance storage system is essential. Every minute waiting for the parts to be delivered is money lost for the aircraft’s owners. Their traditional shelving warehouse system, relying on pickers climbing ladders and calling out part numbers, couldn’t meet demands and delivery deadlines.

The Solution

Taking advantage of the building’s ceiling height, Dassault installed three 25-foot-tall Modula VLMs that provided more than 1,435 cubic feet of storage within a footprint of 359 square feet. Immediately, the team saw a vast performance improvement. What had taken five minutes or more to find a part on the shelves now took less than a minute, with the item delivered right to them. An operator would use the Modula barcode reader to scan an order, the VLM would retrieve the tray holding the aircraft and engine parts, and a laser pointer would indicate which items to pick.

In addition to improved speed and accuracy, Dassault was able to use the Modula VLMs to store over 20,000 of the 300,000 different aircraft parts it keeps in stock. With a security feature that limits and traces user access, a wide variety of airplane maintenance parts could be stored within the enclosed and clean environment of the VLM. “Since installing the Modula units, we’ve seen an amazing increase in productivity, a decrease in picking errors, and we’ve established more space”, says Walek. “The only place we had left in the warehouse was up, so it was an ideal situation for us to put in the Modula machines.”

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