Small parts storage sorted
12 December 2012
Paper and packaging material distributor Antalis installed Swisslog's Autostore small parts storage system allowing space to be optimised Antalis is Europe's leading paper and packaging material distributor. In light
Antalis is Europe's leading paper and packaging material distributor. In light of structural changes occurring in the paper market, Antalis Switzerland wanted to permanently expand its logistics services, a function which was already a high priority of the distributor.
Swisslog worked in partnership with Antalis at each stage from planning to commissioning. They optimised the system to meet Antalis' requirements, provided software support and, as the general contractor, assumed all project management duties. Commissioning took place in just three weeks while the logistics centre was in full operation. Furthermore Antalis' delivery capability and delivery performance were uninterrupted by the project and the implementation period was just eight months.
The solution Compact, flexible, scalable, low cost and energy-efficient: Swiss paper distributor and logistics service provider Antalis had high expectations for its new small parts storage system. AutoStore's modular concept allows existing space to be optimised, with the elimination of rack aisles and by storing bins directly on top of one another.
The Supply Chain Director at Antalis says: "Instead of over investing at the time of project launch, we designed our small parts storage to meet only the requirements which we currently foresee. As we add new customers - which we are already doing, thanks in part to AutoStore - we can expand the system to meet increasing logistics requirements." The flexibility of AutoStore's grid layout allows it to adapt to structural constraints.
At Antalis, the system was integrated with ease into the existing warehouse area, and offers many different expansion options.
The number of robots traveling along the grid essentially depends on the AutoStore configuration and the required speed with which items need to be presented at the ports. AutoStore offers maximum flexibility since more vehicles can be added at any time. The robots use a wireless LAN to communicate with each other and with the control system. Should a robot become unavailable - for example because it is scheduled for maintenance, needs to be charged or becomes defective - another vehicle immediately takes over to complete its job. This does not noticeably affect the system performance because AutoStore is designed to offer backup capacity in order to maintain the desired system availability and performance.
Antalis' logistics infrastructure is housed in a 40,000m2 building that offers space for 55,000 Euro pallet locations and 20,000 shelving locations. 28,000 Euro pallet locations are fully automated. The pallets are moved by a total of ten Swisslog stacker cranes and a system of 13 automated guided vehicles which also service the AutoStore warehouse. Antalis' system was integrated into a warehouse area with a 10 x 10m column grid which previously housed shelving. With a footprint of just 400m2, AutoStore accommodates 18,000 plastic bins, each with a capacity of 75 litres and a maximum storage weight of 30kg.
Items arriving on automated guided vehicles are placed into storage or presented for picking at four loading and picking ports. The bins are handled by 10 robots.
Full SAP integration gives Antalis' internal and external customers direct access to AutoStore so they can trigger order picking. Orders are then delivered at the scheduled time, either on the same day or on the next day.
The Supply Chain Director at Antalis adds: "AutoStore has minimised picking errors, decreased product losses and increased the efficiency of our receiving, packaging, condensing and shipping preparation work flows. It has also reduced the number of forklifts and other material handling devices in operation on the warehouse floor.
"We chose AutoStore because we were interested in investing in efficient, state-ofthe- art technology that meets the requirements of the market both today and tomorrow.
"Commissioning took place in just three weeks while the logistics centre was in full operation. Antalis' delivery capability and performance were uninterrupted."
Benefits summarised Efficient, state-of-the-art technology.
Space saving system, allowing maximum utilisation of storage areas.
Highly flexible, modular system; easy to install in any existing or newly constructed warehouse building.
Customisable to meet any requirement.
Minimises picking errors.
Increases picking efficiency by a factor of five.
Reduces product losses.
Easy to expand.