E'tow boat to China

12 October 2015

Sinotrans, one of the largest logistics players in China, has asked Egemin to automate its new distribution centre in Kunshan.

The Chinese industry is experiencing a real wave of automation and this installation is therefore an important reference project for Egemin. The automated transport system should be fully operational by China's National Day, celebrated on October 1.

"In China, industry 4.0 is all about automation and efficiency. One can call it the Chinese version of lean and mean,” says Dirk Dewulf, general manager of Egemin China and Egemin Asia Pacific. New factories and distribution centres are organised and equipped differently than a few years ago.

The site will be equipped with Egemin's E'tow system. E'tow is an automatically-controlled in-floor chain conveyor system that provides the transport and sorting of goods.

There are many large supermarket chains among Sinotrans' customers. The products from their suppliers arrive at Sinotrans, where they are received, distributed and then sent to various shops. The entire process is divided into two flows: One for the incoming products from the suppliers and one for the pallets with consolidated products.

"The goods enter through our in-floor chain conveyor system, where they are scanned and checked for quality," says Dewulf. "This information is entered into our computer program so that the system and the employees will know where the pallet should go. The system also knows which outgoing goods are destined for which shop. Operators pick the goods using a hand pallet truck and put them on the main loop when the transport for each particular shop is being prepared."

The entire process is controlled by software. The E'tis software, Egemin's dedicated software platform for E'tow systems, allows users to pull reports to see which goods are destined for where and track the status of the system and all the components. When goods leave the warehouse, they pass through an integrated weighing system. The E'tis software records the weight and enters it into Sinotrans' WMS database. That way, one can see the weight that went to the shops and compare it with the incoming weight.

Sinotrans chose Egemin after careful consideration. The client paid a visit to France, Germany and the Netherlands twice. "They have clearly chosen for Egemin because of the reliability of our transport solutions and the solid experience and hands-on expertise of our employees," says Dirk Dewulf. "During close consultations with the client, we explained all the details of the E'tow.