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At CeMAT 2011, held recently in Hannover, Germany, Vanderlande Industries presented a number of new material handling solutions, which enable food retailers to empower their stores and streamline their warehouse operations.
Goods-to-man item picking system with the PICK@EASE workstation
Vanderlande demonstrated its goods-to-man item picking concept CPS with the PICK@EASE workstation. This is especially suited to the slower moving items in the retailer's product range; such as personal care products like shampoo and tooth paste. It is claimed that, with this high performance ergonomic workstation, operators can achieve a sustainable high performance of 900 order lines per hour.
"Within a goods-to-man concept goods are automatically retrieved from an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS), so the amount of walking warehouse personnel have to do is substantially reduced," explained Vanderlande's general manager Distribution, Parcel & Postal, Jan Hulsmann. "Goods picking is made much easier, quicker and better coordinated, with greater throughput and much less risk of picking errors. In fact, productivity can be increased by threefold or fourfold compared to previous methodologies. Also, due to the ease of use of CPS with the PICK@EASE workstation, new warehouse personnel can learn how to the use it within minutes rather than hours due to the self-explanatory nature of the system."
Hulsmann added that many ergonomic improvements have also been built in to this new system. "Warehouse personnel often perform activities, which can put a lot of strain on their backs, arms and legs. Therefore, this solution has for example been designed to work at the right height to make daily work processes not just more efficient but also more comfortable."
Additionally, an Ergonomics Workshop was organised on the stand. With the 'XSense Suit', visitors were able to see sustainable performance in a given situation immediately. With the Virtual Reality 'Ergomix', visitors themselves were able to test how certain types of workstations impact sustainable performance.
Automated Case Picking (ACP)
Additionally, Vanderlande demonstrated its new fully Automated Case Picking (ACP) solution especially developed to handle retailers' fast moving goods. With ACP, a reduction of 40 per cent in order picking costs per case can reportedly be achieved.
"Our ACP solution fully automates the handling of cases, in a food retail distribution warehouse," Hulsmann explained. "We set out to ensure that necessary manual work is reduced to the absolute minimum from receiving goods to shipping goods. Goods are offloaded from the truck, they then get de-palletised, moved to single cartons and then brought to the automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) where they are automatically placed. Then when a request is received for certain goods to be sent to one of the warehouses they are picked out in the right sequence and palletised this process is all fully automated. This new solution offers a dramatic change in cost efficiency, in ergonomics, in store friendly delivery everything that our customers need to achieve to empower their stores and streamline their warehouse operations through lower cost outlay, higher productivity, greater accuracy and energy efficiency."
VISION warehouse Management System
The VISION 'Control Room' showed the capabilities of the Warehouse Management System. As well as providing all the required functionality to manage the various everyday warehouse processes the system also includes a 'Business Process Intelligence' module to aid continuous process improvement.
Continuing the environmental theme, Hulsmann pointed out that as well as helping its customers to save energy through the provision of highly efficient warehouse automation systems, Vanderlande as a company also constantly strives to be as 'green' as possible. "For example, we have a solar roof on our German office, and we all drive fuel-efficient cars in order to keep our CO2 emissions to a minimum," he said. "We have also adopted the Cradle to Cradle design concept developed by Professor Michael Braungart, whereby we look carefully at our eco-effectiveness as a company; for example, carbon footprint reduction methods. And this finds its way into the actual products we develop, such as the CROSSORTER 1500. It is built with sustainable materials, consisting of technical or biological nutrients that are safe and healthy for humans and the environment. It consumes 80 per cent less energy than conventional cross belt sorters, 99 per cent of the materials are easy to dismantle and recycle, 90 per cent of the materials used are environmentally friendly and the number of parts is reduced to an absolute minimum. We push the whole eco-friendly concept down our supply chain and always consider how the parts we source can be re-used or recycled after our systems have come to the end of their lifecycle. For this purpose, we always look to source for parts and materials that have high energy-efficiency ratings. Indeed over 90 per cent of the materials we use are now considered to be eco-friendly insofar as they can be easily dismantled and recycled. We also always strive to be as environmentally responsible in terms of how products are packaged and shipped."
Hulsmann concluded by saying consumers are becoming increasingly demanding; asking for competitive pricing, high availability on the shelves, a broad and attractive product range and a pleasant, convenient shopping experience. "These requirements place a tough challenge on the retail stores and the retail warehouse processes of our customers. At CeMAT, we showed how our innovative material handling solutions enable retailers to reduce out-of-stock, increase speed-to-shelf, and ensure on-time delivery and efficient in-store logistics, enabling the stores to focus on what they do best: serve customers."