When designing internal logistics the golden rule is: ‘As much automation as necessary, as little as possible’. Turkish confectionery and biscuit manufacturer Eti Gida kept this principle in mind when designing the dynamic process support systems for its new production and distribution centre in Eskisehir, Anatolia. The 6,500m² distribution centre is the most recent of five factory warehouses operated by the company.
Achieving super-fast handling times, forklift trucks take the palletised confectionery straight from the production area to interim storage in the distribution centre’s static high-bay racking system. Initially, the picked order pallets were put together on staging zones in the goods-out area. "This resulted in a lot of cross traffic, evasive manoeuvres and other disruptions that had a detrimental effect on loading and waiting times for carriers and therefore impaired the throughput and efficiency of the warehouse as a whole," explains Halil Gürkan Arikan, head of logistics at the Eti Gida distribution centre.
This is why, early in 2011, the company’s decision-makers collaborated with the racking system manufacturer to find a better solution. In May 2011, a flow storage solution from Interroll was selected as the best-in-class solution.
The Interroll system, which features a compact FIFO flow-racking system for 1,440 Euro pallets directly in front of the goods-out gates, was designed and installed within three months. It comprises 360 lanes each four pallets deep on four levels with 90 lanes side by side. A special feature of this compact and space-saving system is that the 360 lanes are gravity-driven flow storage lanes with a 4% incline equipped with an Interroll pallet roller flow system.
"This solution has allowed Eti Gida to improve warehouse dynamics without having to invest in a sophisticated automation solution," says Interroll project manager Bülent Caliskan. "Thanks to the high level of efficiency and minimal outlay for automation, the investment pays for itself after 18 to 36 months on average."
The forklifts fill the flow storage lanes from the back with picked order pallets as specified by the warehouse management system. Running on 60mm diameter system rollers, the pallets are directed with high precision towards the pickup point. At the end of the lanes an integrated pallet separator isolates the pallets to be unloaded. At the same time, it prevents them from colliding.
A preventive speed controller integrated into the rollers also provides collision protection by regulating the flow of pallets at a constant speed of 0.25m/s.
Another well-conceived design detail of the Interroll solution are the transfer points of the lowest pushback lanes, where the lanes taper off into narrower roller tracks on the left and right, while there are no rollers in the middle section of this unloading module. "This means that the pallets in the bottom lanes can also be removed using manual pallet trucks," explains Caliskan.
Primed on growth
The flow storage solution is compatible with standard handling devices and thus remains fully functional even if business processes are modified or additional automation is installed.
Outstanding safety, careful pallet handling
Unloading module with speed controller and separator for collision-free operations.
Speed controller for a steady pallet flow at 0.25m/s. "The flow storage system has enabled us to separate and optimise goods flow and transport routes within the warehouse. The pallet roller flow system greatly simplifies pallet handling and has halved the loading time for our trucks."