Automation of the intralogistics of the entire daily consumer goods distribution center is seldom the right solution. However, profitability and productivity can easily be increased with independent automation islands, fitting seamlessly into the overall process.
Straight from the field to the shop shelf. That kind of logistics route would be the optimal in the distribution of fresh products. When quantities are huge and customers are many, distribution centers are a vital part of the production process. In order to offer customers the highest quality possible of fresh produce from vegetables to dairy and bakery products, handling and order picking must be both fast and gentle. Cimcorp’s automation islands, which handle plastic crates, are the perfect answer to this challenge.
When automation is used instead of a manual order picking process, the lead times of the products are reduced dramatically. By minimizing handling and picking time, fresh products can be delivered to the customers: the less time spent in the distribution center, the longer the shelf life.
Jarno Honkanen, Sales Manager for order picking systems at Cimcorp:
Cimcorp’s automation islands enable just-in-time deliveries within even the tightest of timeframes. Products can go from reception to transport-readiness in just six hours even in the largest distribution centers – that’s the time it takes for robots to pick over 28,000 plastic crates.
Cimcorp MultiPick® automation islands are based on robots that operate on an overhead gantry to combine buffer storage and order picking functions into one flexible entity. The robots handle, store, and pick crates of product in stacks.
“The system picks the crates accurately and quickly one order at a time ready for delivery. This also enables the grouping of the order according to the customer’s wishes, for example by product group, so that shelf-stacking at the sales outlets is made easier,” explains Honkanen.
The modular structure of the system is one of its strengths: applications for special requirements can be implemented easily, and expanding the system is straightforward. The diverse types and sizes of plastic crates pose no problems for the flexible system. “Typically the numbers handled daily by one automation island is between 25,000 and 40,000 crates.”
Along with shorter handling and order picking times, the key benefits of automation islands include the complete traceability of all goods movements.
“The robots also help with the tidying up because they can automatically empty the whole floor area,” laughs Honkanen.
TEXT: TOTTI TOISKALLIO PHOTOS: ARTO HELIN, SHUTTERSTOCK
Self-sufficient automated order picking system
Cimcorp’s MultiPick® automation islands take care of:
- goods reception
- put-away – location of stored items
- retrieval planning
- picking of crates
- sorting and assembly of crates into discrete orders
- loading of the orders onto transport units ready for delivery.