Start-up deadline for WITRONs fully automatic picking system is moving closer

INFORMATION: Free information is available from WITRON on the subject in this story. Click here to request a copy

EDEKAs Logistics Centre is growing

The EDEKA Handelsgesellschaft Rhein-Ruhr mbH, Germany, is currently realizing a new logistics centre with approx. 60.000 m warehouse surface on an area of about 22 hectare near Hamm-Rhynern. This logistics centre is considered to be the most unique within the German Retail Business. From the 4th quarter 2006, parts of the dry goods assortment will be picked fully-automatically and supplied to more than 800 retailers in North Rhine-Westphalia and the neighbouring federal states. WITRON Logistik + Informatik GmbH from Bavaria/Germany will be responsible for the realization of the comprehensive and innovative logistics system, especially characterized by the fully mechanized warehouse and picking system Order Picking Machinery (OPM). 

The whole assortment stored in the logistics centre in Hamm-Rhynern comprises up to 20.000 articles consisting of fresh, frozen and dry goods. All areas will be covered by specific warehouse and picking solutions from WITRON. EDEKA will put out a technological highlight within dry goods picking. On basis of the continuously automated system solution OPM from WITRON up to 85% of the dry goods assortment can be picked automatically. WITRON additionally integrates the highly-dynamic warehouse and tote picking module DPS (Dynamic Picking System) with pick-by-light technology as well as pick-by-voice applications within the conventionally operated warehouse areas.

The constructions of the halls for the dry goods assortment, which are 31 metres high, have been completed according to schedule. The installed OPM System including the high bay pallet warehouse takes up a good portion of the nearly 20.000 m of floor space. More than 40.000 pallet locations are available within the automatic high bay warehouse, which serves as replenishment warehouse within the OPM process. Seven automatic stacker cranes provide six directly connected and automatic de-palletizing stations with currently needed warehouse pallets. Thus software-controlled and depending on the order history as well as on the order flow. After separating the pallets into single collies (cases or trade units), they are physically merged with trays at six stations. The trays are buffered in a buffer warehouse that functionally resembles an automated small-parts warehouse until entering the picking process. In order to use the capacity of the small-parts warehouse in an optimal way, storage is carried out double and quadruple deep. The in- and outbound storing of trays is carried out by stacker cranes as well, which supply the trays in the sequence given by the software system to 24 fully-automated picking machines, the so-called Case Order Machines (COM). This is the heart of the OPM process and the complete logistics centre.
Product analyses within the planning phase have shown that by using the OPM technology 85% of the EDEKA dry goods assortment can be picked fully-automatically. At peak days, more than 240.000 collies are mechanically picked on pallets and into roll cages. The remaining 15% are covered by the dynamic warehouse and picking system DPS that works with pick-by-light technology. An additional small-parts warehouse provides 60.000 tote locations for the Dynamic Picking System. Integrated within the small-parts warehouse the picking workstations are located in two picking aisles. Here picking will be done from totes as well as from pallet locations. System-controlled, the DPS provides the articles that are needed for current orders. Totes that will not be picked any more in a foreseeable time are pushed back in the flow channel by the picker. Stacker cranes pick up these totes, re-store them into the small-parts warehouse and provide these empty channels with other articles. The result of this dynamic process is up to 70% shorter pick paths, since the pick front is consolidated. Thus the pick performance increases significantly. The racking and the mechanics have already been fully installed in the DPS area.

Apart from the automated warehouse and picking areas, WITRON will also provide a state-of-the-art system technology for the fresh goods area that will store not only dairy products but also fruits and vegetables on a 14.000 m floor surface. This area will be equipped with a pick-by-voice system which is currently successfully integrated in the warehouses in Moers and Meckenheim already. More than 50 pickers will be using this system. The same system applies for a bulky goods warehouse that is directly connected to the inbound area for the dry goods assortment. 15 pallet conveyor lanes and five empty pallet stations have been installed in the inbound area. The dispatch buffer with a capacity of 2.500 roll cages is located in the outbound area.

WITRON implements its Warehouse Management and Control System and supplies the "intelligence for controlling and monitoring the processes. The Warehouse Control System is currently being integrated into the inbound and outbound area, the pallet high bay warehouse and the DPS area. In parallel, the controls are integrated in the already installed COM machines and in the buffer warehouse. The integration of controls will be completed in the first quarter of 2006. The installation of the complete computer technology and interface processes will follow in the 2nd and 3rd quarter. After that, the complete system will be tested in its entirety, until the handing over in October 2006.

INFORMATION: Free information is available from WITRON on the subject in this story. Click here to request a copy

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