Home>Automation>Automated handling>Global pharma players trust in Swisslog to strengthen intralogistics
Home>Automation>Automated storage>Global pharma players trust in Swisslog to strengthen intralogistics
Home>Industry Sector>Chemicals & Pharma>Global pharma players trust in Swisslog to strengthen intralogistics

Global pharma players trust in Swisslog to strengthen intralogistics

23 January 2017

Swisslog is a leading automation expert for robot-based and data driven intralogistic solutions, with many satisfied customers in the pharma sector.

The centerpiece of the logistics expansion in Germany’s Pfieffewiesen industrial area, B. Braun Melsungen’s global hub has had its capacity expanded from 10,000 pallets to a total of 73,000 and will enable the company to respond flexibly to increasing market demands. A total of 28 pallet stacker cranes are used to store and retrieve items in the fully automated logistics facility. 

Earlier expansion stages employed automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to handle transfers between production and storage, as well as supplying automated pick stations with stock from the automated small-parts warehouse. Modern conveyor systems handle pallet logistics, while the Swisslog Warehouse Manager system displays real-time data on all ongoing processes.

“Since the warehouse’s establishment in 1991, B. Braun Melsungen has entrusted us with a number of expansion projects, and we’re proud of that,” says Daniel Hauser, Managing Director of Central Europe for Swisslog Warehouse & Distribution Solutions. “Every logistics expansion stage thus far followed the Swisslog blueprint to boost capacities and reduce product throughput times.”

Cold storage for Roche

F. Hoffman-La Roche, based in Switzerland, is another pharmaceutical company taking advantage of long-term automated intralogistics solutions. A customer of Swisslog’s for almost a quarter of a century, Roche develops drugs, some of which are biotechnology-based and temperature-sensitive. For the storage and picking of these medications, Swisslog implemented a state-of-the-art cold storage logistics facility at Roche’s Kaiseraugst location, reducing throughput times for getting customer orders ready for shipping from 120 to 48 hours.

The high bay cold storage warehouse has four aisles, moving 1,000 to 1,500 pallets per day and operates in a temperature range between 2°C and 8°C. Four Swisslog Vectura cranes are used for single-deep storage. In contrast, the deep-freeze warehouse operates at a constant temperature of minus 10°C. Swisslog’s Warehouse Management System is one of the systems controlling the Roche logistics facility, including conveyor and picking technologies.

Track and Trace

Another essential task performed by the Warehouse Management Software is the seamless tracking and tracing of warehouse and shipping processes that affect quality and safety. The implementation was done in accordance with GAMP5, which thoroughly verified, risk-tested and documented preconfigured and new software functions. As a result, Roche has a validated system that meets the strict international requirements for drug safety in accordance with the GMP Guideline.

The cold storage facility is integrated into Roche’s overall logistics system in Kaiseraugst, which Swisslog helped set up in the 1990s. “We connected the new logistics facility to the existing warehouse sections,” says Hans Reimann, Project Lead at F. Hoffman-La Roche. “This had to be done without major disruptions to the material flow to ensure smooth, on-time deliveries of medications to our customers. Sophisticated planning and systematic implementation made it all possible.”

"The facility is 22 years old and still looks like new," says Thomas Seiler, Head of Swisslog’s System Operations teams at Roche’s Swiss location Kaiseraugst. "As well as developing a complex logistics system in 1994, Swisslog has been running operation maintenance and expansion of all technical aspects involved. One thing that was and still is particularly important to us is that we as a System Operations team are competent partners for Roche and always ensure the Kaiseraugst location will continue to grow."