Being Future-Ready In A Changing Beverage Market

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

Swisslog’s clients, The Absolut Company, MaiDubai, and Coca-Cola Amatil share the value of integrating advanced solutions to their entire supply chain.

The digital world is developing at a breath-taking pace. Every industry sector is going through a transformation towards a globally networked and integrated economy. This includes the beverage industry—automation and robotics, connectivity, and increased use of data are driving changes to intralogistics.

In this new era, Swisslog is a pioneer. Their experience with flexible and data-driven solutions spans decades. By bringing transparency and efficiency to warehouses with their Industry 4.0 concepts, intralogistics has evolved from a large rigid system into modular, software-driven solutions that can adapt to changing market demands. Backed by KUKA robotics, Swisslog is ready to lead businesses on the journey to achieving the highest intralogistics performance in a digital age.


The Solution

Software is at the heart of Swisslog’s solutions. SynQ, a material handling software, encompasses warehouse management, material flow and automation control system functionality in a single platform. It can visualise operating systems in 3D and also provide an array of business intelligence tools, such as condition monitoring. SynQ also allows businesses to synchronise automation equipment, robotics, people and processes for peak performance, and offers intelligent services for a smart future.


Case Study: The Absolut Company

At The Absolut Company AB, based in Åhus, southeast Sweden, Swisslog’s specifically-tailored solution includes fully-automated delivery vehicle unloading systems, pallet conveyor systems, automated pallet warehousing, de-palletisation systems and slat conveyors. Trailers equipped with built-in conveyors collect palletised vodka from the bottling plant to be automatically discharged at the Distribution Centre (DC), with a store of 21 200-pallet location served by 10 stacker cranes.

Implemented at Absolut’s fully-automated DC, the main goal of the solution is to boost efficiency and flexibility that meet different customer needs, and expansion of markets and operation. At the automated warehouse, de-palletisation for dispatches is performed at three automatic stations and transported by slat conveyors. One de-palletiser features a pallet magazine that dispenses Euro pallets.

These slat conveyor lines are used to sort loads onto dispatch lanes. To load shipping containers and road vehicles, forklifts equipped with a variety of attachments—e.g. grippers for slip sheets and squeeze clamps for case stacks—are used.

Along with Swisslog’s on-site solution, local field service enables quick supply of spare parts to Absolut, thereby ensuring reliable operation and minimal outage. To complement these, the modern warehouse management systems and controls—BoxControl and Automation Control—enhance inventory accuracy and smooth transport flows.

Altogether, the DC is run by only 12 personnel, thanks to the benefits of automation.


Case Study: MaiDubai

MaiDubai—priding itself in food safety—formed a US$21 million logistics partnership with Swisslog with the aim to fully automate its intralogistics system. Complete solution from system design through implementation and integration resulted in two High Bay warehouses with individual monorail and conveyor technology.

Along with an intelligent software-based end-to-end solution against the backdrop of Big Data and Industry 4.0, a six-aisle High Bay warehouse for raw ingredients and packaging materials, production lines and a 17,560-pallet warehouse for finished products were implemented.

The Swisslog Vectura stacker cranes in its transport system ensure efficient storage and retrieval systems in both warehouses. A 1,000 m monorail system forms the basis for material and goods flow, facilitating process-optimised transport throughout the production lines, warehousing and shipping of finished products.

This rail system is plied by 44 Swisslog trolleys with two pallets each. Complementing the warehouse technology components are high-performing IT infrastructure and control technology—ProMove pallet conveyor system, to boost efficiency in goods flow and sequencing pallets from receiving through shipping.

An additional Swisslog Warehouse Management Software is algorithm-powered and ensures sorting accuracy. The modular software platform features a scalable big data business intelligence tool. With its intelligent, automation-friendly design, it prepares Mai Dubai for opportunities offered by Industry 4.0 that has seen significant improvement in efficiency in the flow of goods.


Case Study: Coca-Cola Amatil, Australia

Collaborating with Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA), Australia, Swisslog assessed its New South Wales distribution operation to determine the feasibility of its materials handling solution. Designed specifically to overcome CCA’s site limitations, Swisslog focused on innovation in facility optimisation to provide cost-effectiveness.

To meet CCA’s high pallet storage requirement, vertical height maximisation was implemented, leveraging crane-fed automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS)—which allowed a 32 m High Bay that can store 158 million cans. A clad rack was installed to minimise building and material handling costs, with a quicker implementation schedule than traditional free-standing rack.

Swisslog met CCA’s high production rate with a monorail system for efficient movement among receiving, storage and staging operations, carrying 740 pallets every hour, i.e. one pallet arrives at its destination every five seconds. Answering to CCA’s high throughputs, Swisslog’s automated staging system provides operational flexibility on- and off-peak, enabling the loading of trailer at the dock while it automatically stages the next load. Targeted truck turnaround times was facilitated by automated loading—across six docks, over 15 trailers can be loaded every hour, equivalent to one 22-pallet trailer every four minutes.

As a result of automated system, the 24/7 operation at CCA only requires 26 people to be directly employed in the High Bay, with high inventory accuracy and timeliness.


Industry 4.0 Solutions: A Necessity For Factories Of The Future

Future-proofing warehouses will be vital to compete with smart factories globally. Swisslog has been a long-time partner to the top players in the food and beverage industry with a proven track record of solving warehouse and distribution challenges. Automated solutions are perfectly customised to ensure the optimal flow of goods at a low cost, helping businesses keep beverages moving to the right place at the right time for a long time to come.  

Designer: Breaker

SynQ allows businesses to synchronise automation equipment, robotics, people and processes for peak performance, and offers intelligent services for a smart future.


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