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Hybrid AGV solution for DC

07 February 2017

Domus Logistics despatches thousands from its distribution centre to deliver home furnishing articles to 520 CASA stores in eight different European countries.

The company is building a new automated distribution centre 10 km away.

The new DC will allow Domus Logistics to save up to 5,000 truck transports per year. The activities of five of its external partners will also be integrated into the new distribution centre.

Egemin Automation will install an E’gv system in the 50,000 m² DC, automating a large part of the internal transport and storage flows of pallets with CASA products. The DC will consist of a bulk storage and an order picking zone. Egemin's solution supplies goods to the order picking zone automatically, takes pallets to and from the bulk warehouse and stores goods in the warehouse. 

“We are using a total of 12 E’gv HYBRID warehouse trucks to do this. The trucks are delivered by STILL, our sister company in the KION Group and our partner for AGV projects with standard warehouse trucks in Europe,” says Eric Coenen, sales manager at Egemin Automation. “We fit the warehouse trucks with our E’gv Automation Pack and E’tricc control software, which allow the trucks to move autonomously, transport pallets, store goods in racks, etc.”

Incoming goods are received in bulk in the DC, primarily via shipping containers. The warehouse operators stack the boxes on pallets and puts the pallets onto the conveyor system for automatic wrapping. A fully automated control station checks and registers all pallets. Seven E’gv HYBRID FM-X reach trucks then take the pallets to the bulk warehouse for storage. In the 32-aisle bulk warehouse, five E’gv HYBRID MX-X very narrow aisle (VNA) trucks take care of the automatic storage and retrieval of all goods. When goods are needed, an FM-X truck will retrieve the pallet from a buffer position in the warehouse and transfer it to one of both conveyor systems for further manual order picking.

No rack space lost

Domus Logistics had a lot of requirements for its new distribution center. 

“The customer wanted to make the fullest possible use of the bulk warehouse's storage capacity,” says Eric Coenen. “But an AGV concept needs a little more distance between the pallets than a conventional warehouse for safety reasons. 

That would have meant that Domus Logistics would be losing a lot of storage locations, which wasn't an option for the company. However, by developing a rack and shelf solution that handles the available space in the bulk warehouse creatively, we were able to guarantee maximum storage capacity.” 

Picks per hour

Domus Logistics also had specific requirements in terms of the number of picks per hour. To meet those, Egemin worked closely together with Domus Logistics' established WMS provider to streamline all software processes. Egemin integrated these processes into its simulation model to demonstrate that the capacities could be achieved. Egemin’s system takes care of the transport management, while the rest of the warehouse is managed by the WMS which relays transport jobs to E’tricc, Egemin's AGV management software.