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ReelPick in the most advanced distribution centre of the world

Jan 20, 2006 Cimcorp Headquarter

The world’s most advanced distribution centre for reel handling is operated by the Port of Tilbury for Stora Enso.

Cimcorp’s ReelPick system is at the heart of the new Enterprise Distribution Centre in the Port of Tilbury just east of London. Stora Enso’s customers in south and central England – including the demanding London Newspaper industry – can now benefit from highly automated distribution where reels are picked by robots and not clamped.

The Enterprise DC is a critical part of Stora Enso’s supply chain transformation. “We wanted a higher service level at a lower operating cost than had been achieved before. We achieve lower costs by using a high level of automation and fewer staff,” explains Ken Kirk, Paper Projects Manager at Port of Tilbury, and he adds: “When planning this project Cimcorp appeared to be the only ones who could demonstrate this solution (robot reel pick). They had the product, they could show it – and that gave a great deal of confidence. The competition did not have a detailed, working solution at the tender stage.”

Paper arrives from Scandinavia three times a week by ship. Containers for auto unloading are brought to a dedicated position at the automated warehouse, where the entire load is withdrawn and placed on a cassette under the gantry of one of the two ReelPick Robots.

The robot’s vision system finds the reel locations exactly and the robot picks the reels with vacuum. To read more about ReelPick technology follow the link. All reels are placed on slave boards automatically dispensed to the robot’s output position. From there the reels are conveyed into the automated highbay warehouse, passing profile gauge, weight check and an ID scanner along the way.

To pick a customer order, the reels are withdrawn from the auto warehouse and conveyed to one of the robot cells. At the robot’s input position a vision system finds the exact position and the robot picks the reel off the slave board and places it on the AVL (Automatic Vehicle Loader). When a trailer load is complete a trailer docks to the position and the whole load is swiftly transferred to the trailer.

The two robot cells each have both a casette for incoming loads and an AVL for despatch. The system gives full flexibility to the operation. The robots can double-cycle and loads can be input to the highbay at the same time as customer orders are being assembled on the AVL.

The warehouse management system’s database – linked to the robot control system – holds all the information about the reels, and based on this the ReelPick Robot will create the appropriate loading pattern for each reel size and trailer. Reels come in a variety of sizes. To handle a wide spread of reel diameters the ReelPick Robot has an outer ring on the gripper which is in position for large diameter reels but removed from the suction head for smaller reels. The process of switching between set-up for large or small reels is entirely automatic.

The ReelPick Robot technology, combined with Auto Vehicle Loading- and Container Loading-systems, makes it possible to manage the complete paper supply chain without clamping the reel. The reel is always handled gently and the risk of costly damage is virtually eliminated.