Pinzgau, an Austrian based dairy producing company, has commissioned Egemin Automation to implement an automatic transport system for its cheese ripening warehouse. The system will handle a total of 800 tonnes of cheese per year to be processed in accordance with the Pinzgau recipe. To meet these exacting requirements, Egemin will develop an automated guided vehicle system (AGV) based on its proven concept solution for cheese transport and handling.
In future, the AGVs will organise transportation between the four cheese ripening rooms of the warehouse, the processing machines and goods-out. The AGVs will also take care of the storage and retrieval process. Egemin Automation’s AGV management software E’tricc® will be responsible for the entire cheese management process and monitoring of the maturing process – 365 days a year. The project is scheduled to commence operation in the summer of 2015.
Adhering to prescribed recipes
As they mature, wheels of cheese are subject to a prescribed recipe. That is to say, a defined processing sequence, which must be adhered to at all costs. Otherwise, the quality of the cheese will suffer. “Pinzgau Milch aims to fully automate all transport movements between the ripening rooms and the treatment machines”, explains Yaser Gamai, Sales Manager AGV Systems at Egemin GmbH. “That is why we have developed a concept solution which precisely meets these specifications – the AGV system and the E’tricc® management software autonomously take on the complete management of the individual types of cheese in accordance with the recipes – that is to say, the entire administration of each recipe. As a result of this, Pinzgau will benefit from its products being of a very high and consistent quality.”
The recipes contain a specific number of predefined processes, such as oiling, plasticising, salting, smearing and drying. The duration of these processes is also prescribed, as are specific functions for treatment, such as brushing, board turning or cheese turning. Each variety has its own recipe during production. E’tricc® manages the transport of the cheese racks to the correct treatment machines at the right time, as well as the storage times that are prescribed for the ripening warehouse.
Warehouse location management
The E’tricc® software also includes a location management module to manage the 567 rack locations in the ripening rooms. The AGVs are responsible for storage and recipe-controlled transportation. Racks are stored in one of the ripening rooms according to their type, the assigned recipe and the rack number. If a cheese rack enters a new ripening stage, E’tricc® will send a transport order to an AGV to move the rack to the specified treatment machine. The journey then continues onwards according to the formula – either on to further maturation in a ripening room or on to goods-out.
“There were several reasons why we selected Egemin as a partner”, explains Pinzgau Milch. “The company impressed us with its extensive technical expertise, its many years of experience in the field of cheese dairy plants and, not least, the many references and projects that have been implemented in the dairy industry.”