Consafe Logistics controls fully automated sterilisation process for packaging materials

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In Etten-Leur in The Netherlands, Isotron Nederland B.V. sterilises in a fully automated process and on a 24/7 hours basis, many different items for several industries and end-users. Especially for the medical and packaging industries they treat items like towels, so called blood lines, hypodermic syringes and 'bag in box'-systems. Also the horticulture industry is their customer. They reuse plastic cans and trays, which have to be free from mildew or bacteria. These sterilisation processes take place without any human interference. Consafe Logistics' software SattStore controls the whole storing and picking process and ABB's SattLine controls all internal transport.

Isotron Nederland receives pallet loads with materials from their customers in a non-sterilised condition. These pallets are put on a slave pallet by hand and than on a conveyor system. These slave pallets have holes in their sides acting as a unique identification code. This code is registered by the WMS and combined with the new unique bar code of each individual pallet. This way again a new and unique combination code is created. After scanning the codes and the creation of the final unique code this pallet is checked on its dimensions. If they meet the passage dimensions in the warehouse, the pallet is put into one of the free storing locations in this warehouse by means of fully automated conveyors and cranes.

These conveyors and cranes are PLC-controlled. For this the bar code scanners inform the Consafe Logistics' SattStore database. SattStore decides on which of the 1,440 pallet shelve places each pallet is stocked.  The software also 'knows' for which customer what pallet on what time needs to be treated. This information SattStore receives from the host computer, who organises by means of a planning & scheduling programme all sterilisation processes. Pallet choice is made to the PLC as a picking order. This SattLine-PLC than controls the moving of the pallet into the sterilisation room and its return to the shelves. The right stocking place is chosen on an end-users storage basis. A 'medical' pallet for instance only can be stocked into the 'medical' warehouse section. When sterilised materials are transported to the end users, SattStore also informs SattLine and this software organises again a picking order but for external distribution.

Stabilised situation

Isotron Nederland handles about 50.000 pallets per year in a continuous process. Since its implementation the Consafe Logistics' (and ABB) software is under upgrading. However it's really stabilised situation. Consafe's Project Manager John Heere says this is exactly the purpose of SattStore and SattLine.

Mr. Naud Groeneveld, Plant Manager of Isotron Nederland B.V., states that Isotron probably could not operate the way it does without this IT-solution. "It is vital for our organisation having a fully reliable control system and SattStore as well as SattLine answers these demands", he concludes.

On the moment both software and hardware are for about eight years in service. Together end-user and Consafe Logistics are upgrading both systems. The control platform will be upgraded into the actual MS Windows version.

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