Murata Machinery USA Inc. brings its tried-and-true manufacturing processes into the distribution industry.
It’s not often companies the size and stature of Murata Machinery USA Inc. can offer adaptable manufacturing options and turn-around times as well as the local mom-and-pop shop. The worldwide reach of parent company Murata Machinery Ltd. doesn’t keep Murata Machinery USA from treating each client as a top priority.
“Even though we’re a large company, we work with our vendors and customers so we can adapt to make changes,” says Terry Shaw, operations manager for Murata Machinery USA. “Most companies say they can deliver a quote in five or six weeks, but we can do it in three or four weeks. We have procedures in place to turn quotes around quickly.”
Since 1962, Murata Machinery’s series of automated storage and retrieval systems has helped companies produce, store and ship materials more efficiently and economically, according to Murata. In its role as a turnkey supplier of material handling systems, Murata engineers, manufactures, installs, commissions and services all of its products under the Muratec brand. Each of the company’s systems includes equipment controls and software developed by Murata Machinery.
Distribution Product Line
Most recently, Murata has become more involved in the mini-load distribution segment of the material handling industry. Previously, according to Shaw, the company focused on the unit load side as well as in material handling specifically for the automotive industry, but Murata has developed two new cranes as sorters for the distribution markets.
The FX-Quad Mini-load automated storage/ retrieval system (AS/RS) product line features maximum load capacities up to 300 kilograms and is compatible with dense case storage, including totes and case loading. This product offers multiple handling of one to four units and double-deep storage allows the AS/RS to provide high storage capacity and high throughput operation. A high-speed mini-load crane travels 300 meters a minute hoisting 180 meters a minute and acceleration of 0.3 G.
“These helped us penetrate new markets within distributions,” Shaw says. “The new cranes are double deep, while many of the old cranes are single deep. We have many more options to penetrate distribution in food and beverage, pharmaceutical, etc., with double-deep mini load cranes.”
At ProMat – one of the top manufacturing, distribution and supply chain and equipment and systems trade shows – Murata unveiled FX Quad S. The sister of the FX Quad can handle two totes at a time as opposed to FX Quad’s four-tote capacity.
Murata’s X500 warehouse management system is being used worldwide. This WMS plays a vital role in supply chain management and helps improve the high quality, high functionality and low cost for its customers’ logistic needs.
According to the company, X500 offers integrated management of multiple sites and enhanced management functionality. Its IT is multiplatform using JAVA technology and object- oriented design. X500 also has cloud-based services available.
X500 also offers easy expandability through componentization of functions, real-time processing, simple coordination with external systems and interoperability with material-handling equipment.
Flexible Storage Option
To better cater to the distribution market, Murata also has developed Uni-SHUTTLE HP, which is an AS/RS designed to provide best-inclass capacity and performance through a combination of flexible storage functions, high-capacity transport and sorting capabilities. This system is capable of handling 3,000 cases an hour, and it also can handle various types of load sizes and rack locations.
The sequential retrieval capability of the Uni- SHUTTLE HP AS/RS optimizes delivery of product to various steps in the production process. The AS/RS also offers configuration flexibility in the design of the storage and retrieval equipment.
Entering a new market like Murata has often requires ramping up operations in a variety of ways.
As Murata joined the distribution industry, Shaw says the company had to find new vendors who had the supplies and materials to cater to this market.
In order to track down vendors who worked in this industry, Murata performed a great deal of research on the Internet, in trade publications as well as old-fashioned word-of-mouth referrals. Once the company tracked down a potential addition, Murata sent a qualification form to fill out and ranked potential new vendors on their final scores.
“Vendors in manufacturing and automotive are different than distribution, so we increased our base of qualified vendors,” Shaw says. “We have stringent quality control to check to make sure vendors are good for us and will be acceptable to our customers. We stress quality control and performance.”
No matter the market Murata is penetrating, quality is the No.1 factor behind the company’s success, according to Shaw. Stemming from its Japan-based parent, Murata performs stringent quality tests on its products to debug all equipment before it reaches the United States.
“If they have a problem in Japan, it involves quite a bit to come over here and fix it,” Shaw says. “Quality is the biggest factor.”