SSI Schaefer successfully completed a 40 metres tall, rack supported high bay warehouse production, storage and distribution facility in Fredericia, Denmark, for Carlsberg, the fourth largest brewery in the world. Providing 76,000 pallet storage positions, an integrated pallet conveyor system with monorail and eight Schaefer Compact Cranes, the centre now operates via a sophisticated Warehouse Management System that continually ensures an efficient, high throughput process including; the replenishment of production lines and order picking and the sequential allocation of outgoing goods.
The contract to design, plan and build the new production and distribution centre, which is the largest investment project in the history of Carlsberg breweries, was awarded to SSI Schaefer following an international tender and is now one of the most modern and outstanding beverage logistics systems in the world for Carlsberg.
Peter Lambrecht, Project Manager, SSI Schaefer, said: "This is probably one of the most interesting projects that we have completed to date. The biggest challenge was the tight schedule – the plant had to be complete and ready for use within 14 months of winning the contract."
He continued: "A large platform construction was erected in the main hall, the in-house rack, an eight-aisle rack system, and the Warehouse Management System (WMS) linked to Carlsberg’s SAP-inventory management system, were installed within an existing building during running operations. In order to provide an accurate tailored WMS with SAP-interface, IT-developing, test and simulation programs took place simultaneously to the installation of the hardware in Fredericia."
The plant in Fredericia has now been operating at full capacity for a number of months and the old warehouses in Copenhagen have been consolidated in the new distribution centre with ease. Lars G.Hansen, Director of the Carlsberg Brewery, said: "Completely automated system is ideally tailored to our high standard throughput as well as exceeding performance requirements during peak times."
Up to 130 trucks and trains deliver approximately 5,000 – 6,000 pallets of empty bottles a day from all over Europe. Starting at the acceptance of empties the pallets are inserted into the conveyor system loop via 13 feed-in stations. Monorail loops then transport the pallets into the production facility which is connected to the logistics centre via a special bridge for the monorail. Schaefer overcame the height difference between the shipping warehouse and production centre with a serpentine track located beside the warehouse. Once in the production facility, pallets are taken off automatically and de-stacked by pallet stackers. The bottles and cases are cleaned, checked for damages and then forwarded to the bottling plant.
The production facility is equipped with an eight-aisle "in-house rack" that holds 6,000 pallet storage positions for single-deep storing, intended as a buffer for empties of soft drinks. The mini high-bay warehouse is also integrated into the conveyor loop for soft drinks and Schaefer’s Compact Cranes (SCC) provide storage and retrieval for up to 250 pallets per hour. Without the special design of SCC, the automated in-house high bay warehouse constructed within an existing complex of buildings would have proved difficult to achieve.
Unlike conventional storage and retrieval machines, these compact cranes are delivered as a completely pre-assembled component, from bottom carriage to mast stub and hoist platform, including the traveling drive and switch cabinet – enabling them to be transported and installed through access portals.
The two monorail loops also transport the cases and kegs, filled and palletized, on the production lines back to the logistics centre. SSI Schaefer installed a four kilometer track for the automatic transport system, its buffer and transfer stations and over 270 trolleys, that can achieve over 3,000 double cycles per hour, are located on the guide rails of the two loops.
The 9,000 metre squared high bay warehouse has 18 aisles containing 70,000 storing positions for beverage pallets ready for dispatch, each of them designed for a maximum weight of up to 1,000 kilogram. The 18 storage and retrieval machines within the high bay warehouse are equipped with two telescopic forks each and achieve an hourly handling capacity of up to 700 pallets for storage and 800 pallets for retrieval processes.
Retrieval takes place based on orders. In addition to the allocation of entire pallets, there are two material flow lines for order picking installed – one facilitates the fully automated compilation of mixed pallets and a pallet conveyor system supplies the separate sorting stations with retrieved pallets from the high-bay warehouse. A partially automated, manual picking area is installed for the compilation of cases with non-matching items.
Another distinctive feature is that the monorail and the majority of the pallet conveyor system are located on the second level of the plant. Approximately 50 vertical conveyors are used for the transport to and from the filling machines as well as for the transfer to the dispatch and goods issuing areas. In the latter the shipments are consolidated automatically and the pallet conveyor system then forwards them to the loading bays. There, fork lifts take over the palletized beverage cases and kegs to load them onto trucks.
In total SSI Schaefer installed 2,000 conveyor system elements, roller conveyors, chain conveyors, lifting-transfer units, pivoting roller conveyors and shuttle vehicles within Carlsberg’s new distribution centre. Lars G. Hansen summarised: "Despite the very aggressive schedule, the words co-operation and partnership were characteristic throughout the entire project. The bottom line, SSI Schaefer achieved an outstanding performance that fully met our expectations."