TBA Leicester, developer of the Autostore brand of warehouse management system (WMS), warehouse controls system (WCS) and automation solutions, has been providing integral software solutions to British Gypsum’s Barrow-upon-Soar plaster production plant since 2008.
British Gypsum is the UK’s leading manufacturer of interior lining systems and part of the Saint-Gobain group. The company has over 100 years’ experience in plaster, plasterboard and ceiling solutions with five main manufacturing locations in England.
The Barrow-upon-Soar facility remains one of the largest and most technologically advanced plant of its kind in the world. The site underwent a major expansion that was completed in 2002 to meet growing demand for its speciality product, Thistle plasters.
TBA was initially commissioned to facilitate the automation experience, particularly the PLC code and hardware, to operate the impressive fully automated Highbay Cranes. These cranes have over 8,000 pallet locations and turn over product in 48 hours to support a fast-moving supply chain. Autostore’s modular flexibility eventually convinced British Gypsum to upgrade to the WCS module.
Subsequent technology upgrades, including Wi-Fi, laser positioning technology and onboard cameras, made it possible for TBA to introduce the innovative ‘Remote Control Station’ to the British Gypsum operation. Based on a standard solution from TBA and enhanced in collaboration with British Gypsum engineers, it combines camera technology with remote manual operation of the cranes. This has dramatically reduced the number of interventions on the cranes which require working at height. The productivity gains together with health and safety benefits are truly impressive, according to the company.