Egemin Automation hoists one of the five automated stacker cranes in the new deepfreeze warehouse of frozen foods producer Crop’s in Ooigem, West Flanders. The new high-bay warehouse is being built next to the existing freezer warehouse and production plant. The investment in the expansion of the site must support Crop’s growth plans in the coming years. Crop’s new warehouse will become operational early 2016.
Egemin delivers a total concept for Crop’s and is responsible for the complete construction and logistics organization of the warehouse. The construction works include the foundations, insulation, roofing, cooling, oxygen reduction, fire detection, lighting and electricity. The logistic part includes the clad rack construction and all automation technology including five AS/RS stacker cranes, the conveyor system and the higher-level WMS software to control all material flows.
Complex hoisting operations
Egemin announced the project nine months ago. “Up until now, the project has gone very smoothly," says Lieven Joris, Project Manager at Egemin Automation. "The construction of the clad rack structure is almost finished and we have started hoisting the cranes in place in the warehouse yesterday. We are placing the second crane today. And we will install the remaining three in the coming days. We can then finish the clad rack construction."
The 39-metre-high automated stacker cranes will be delivered in several pieces at the Crop’s site. They are assembled there with the help of two mobile cranes and then lifted sideways into the warehouse. "The interplay between the two cranes is complex," Lieven Joris continues. "But the tower crane for the silo construction, also located on the site, adds an extra challenge. Its location complicates the proper positioning of the other two cranes. Knowledge, experience and good coordination are therefore of utmost importance in these activities."
OPTIMIZED STORAGE PROCESS
The deepfreeze warehouse will be 82 metres long, 38 metres wide and 40.5 metres high. With its 15 storage levels and five crane aisles it will provide space for over 19,500 pallets of frozen vegetables and fruits. Pallets can enter the warehouse from both the production plant and from external locations. Each pallet is checked for dimensions and weight before infeed. External and industrial pallets, accounting for 20% of the total storage capacity, are first placed on a slave pallet. That should optimize the storage process in the automated warehouse. Partner Stow will be responsible for the silo construction. The five stacker cranes are supplied by German partner MIAS, which will also be responsible for the hoisting operations.