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Innovation at Swisslog: Five Facts Behind Tornado’s Five Year Success

Innovation is a key element in Swisslog’s business strategy that enables customers to grow with new technologies. One great example is our Tornado miniload crane. With a new CartonLoader unveiled, there’s now more reasons than ever to choose this fantastic piece of kit. Product Manager Michael Garstenauer picks out five of his favourite facts about the roaring success.

1. First to Ten

The first 10 Tornados were snapped up by the Dutch subsidiary of Wärtsilä, which saw the potential in what, at the time, was a yet to be proven concept. It resulted in a ‘hassle free’ experience, to quote Ad de Feijter, Teamleader/Resident Engineer at Wärtsilä. "Considering that this is the first installation of the Tornado and that we have cranes with 18 m height and 100 kg payload, we reach uptimes and availability figures that we had never expected, and this consistently for the last five years.”

2. Heading Downstream

Now 30 installations later (and another 128 cranes) the benefits for our customers are more than clear... The Tornados installed in different warehouses worldwide, ranging from retail, e-commerce, production, spare parts, all the way to special projects such as banks and libraries are capable of handling quite different loads – ranging from small cartons to stacked bins or heavy load trays. Summing up the overall throughput just gives breathtaking figures. The total number of bins and cartons already handled, when placed on top of each other, is higher than the length of Yangtze River! And we’re already heading further downstream!

3. Standing Fast & Tall

The tallest Tornado installation stands over 20 m in Northern Italy, coincidentally next to the shortest at just over 5 m. Speeds of up to 6 m per second are possible as well... Eight Tornados at a Norwegian book distributor are already achieving this – the equivalent of about 21 kph. With its lightweight construction, the Tornado is the fastest miniload crane in its class. Under standard operating conditions, the reduced weight results in lower energy consumption. Advanced drive technology also contributes to energy savings.

4. Storing all your items

Almost half a million storage locations can be served with just one Tornado system... 22 aisles of a Swedish omni-channel fashion business are doing just that! The stiff and scalable mast consists of standard sections and allows us to implement storage solutions with impressive aisle heights (more than 20 m to date), aisle lengths (up to 150 m), and payloads (up to 250 kg to date). This supports compact and scalable warehouse designs, ensures compatibility with a wide load spectrum, and minimizes storage space – a crucial aspect in installations subject to space restrictions.

5. Reliability and maximum availability

Just 47 parts have been used by ALL our Tornado installations outside of their maintenance plans, in over five years! Our Tornados do their job day in and day out without hassle for our customers. That is the feedback we consistently receive from all our installations. Cosidering the sum of the travelled distance of all Tornados (which is more than 42 times around the globe), we are proud of Tornado’s reliability demonstrated by the tiny number of parts required outside of normal maintenance plans. This is made possible by an intelligent mechanical concept that eliminates virtually all load-bearing weld seams, a simple yet precise drive solution, and careful selection of components and modules. In fact, we have successfully replaced units from competitors that caused recurring problems with our own Tornados, significantly increasing the availability figures of an entire facility. With its expertise in providing holistic solutions, the Swisslog miniload team is able to quickly and efficiently accommodate specialized use cases – from special bin types to the handling of bin stacks.

And: Patented and perfected

Okay, so we said five facts, but no discussion on the Tornado should overlook the great capabilities provided by the outstanding new CartonLoader. Newly patented and perfected, this innovative carton storage concept offers support for a variety of load types, extending the applications for which Tornados can now be used. Typical Swisslog, we’ve given you extra again for your smarter business growth!