Vanderlande firmly believes that warehouse automation must be able to adapt to customers' changing business needs. Whether those needs apply to product range, storage capacity, delivery times, daily throughput or number of delivery points; Vanderlande offers flexible solutions. Now the company has developed ADAPTO, a highly flexible storage, retrieval and transportation concept. ADAPTO provides unrivalled scalability and availability, enabling Vanderlande customers to maximise their customer service levels. ADAPTO is the next logical step in flexible warehouse automation. "We are happy to announce the first customer to take this step, the Spanish retailer J.A. Recio, which operates an extensive chain of drugstores under the commercial name Avenida", says Jan van der Velden, Market Director at Vanderlande.
Increasing labour costs, limited availability of space and many small orders with short delivery times: these are a few of the challenges that today's warehouses and distribution centres are facing. They result in a constant search for solutions that reduce operational costs, generate higher productivity, optimise use of space and enable high service levels. ADAPTO is part of the full service solutions that Vanderlande offers.
ADAPTO is a '3D concept', consisting of the following components:
- Racking structure with an integrated shuttle track system.
- Multidirectional Microshuttles that transport product carriers between rack locations and system exits/entries.
- Lifts that allow the shuttles to move between rack levels and system exits/entries.
- Shuttle traffic control software that maximises system throughput and minimises order lead times.
- A highly user-friendly interface that provides a real-time overview of the entire system and its components.
Scalability and availability
ADAPTO makes optimal use of the available space in warehouses. "Storage capacity can be increased by extending or adding aisles while the system remains operational", says Tibor Matskassy, Business Development Manager at Vanderlande. "The throughput of an existing ADAPTO system can be increased by adding Microshuttles and/or lifts. There is no need to accurately predict the future – users can start now, and adapt later." Another major benefit of ADAPTO is product availability at all times. "Lift or shuttle unavailability does not affect the product availability, as each shuttle can reach every location in the system", Matskassy explains. "And even in an emergency such as a power outage, rush orders can still be fulfilled as all products are always within manual reach."
Maintainability and sustainability
Maintenance platforms allow quick operator access to all shuttles and rack locations, enabling fast and safe troubleshooting. If operator intervention is required, the problem area is isolated, affecting only a minor part of the system. A multi-layer safety system allows operators to work safely inside ADAPTO, and the maintenance workstation is an ergonomic environment for a maintenance engineer. Operational costs such as maintenance cost and energy consumption are low.
Recio has the future in mind
"It's the best scalable solution with the future in mind, and it is also able to handle peaks like no other concept. That is why Recio choose ADAPTO as the extension to their order distribution system (ODS). This ODS has been operational since 2003", explains Van der Velden. "Up to now their picking workstations were replenished from a manual storage area. Starting later this year, this replenishment process will be taken care of by ADAPTO, leading to a significant increase in workstation performance. We are, of course, very proud of both ADAPTO and the project at Recio, and we are looking forward to the successful commissioning of the system."