Improved throughout, operating efficiencies and stock management, together with significant cost savings, are some of the benefits from a new automated warehouse, opened recently by Coca-Cola Enterprises and designed, manufactures and installed by FKI Logistex.
The facility provides on-site storage for the first time at CCE's Edmonton production unit, eliminating double-handling operations when shipping stock off-site to local warehouses. The unit, which has 25,224 pallet locations, is designed to accommodate future expansion of the factory to meet sales growth forecasts. It was completed by FKI Logistex on time and on budget.
The warehouse is linked to five bottling production lines, handling primarily 500-ml and 2-litre plastic bottles of soft drinks for customers throughout London and the south of England and can receive 200 pallets and despatch 300 pallets every hour. Interfaced to the CCE host WMS, the Logistex Warehouse System handles every movement from receipt to despatch.
Following CCE's philosophy of never stopping production, FKI Logistex employed its handling technologies, plus testing and simulation, to meet targets of 98.5 per cent to 100 per cent full system availability and 65 per cent throughput even when "down". The resilient overall design avoids risk of single failure points.
Jeff Lamb, MHE consultant to Coca-Cola Enterprises, says: "Edmonton was a stockless site, with all production transported immediately to two local warehouses. This was both inefficient and a serious barrier to expansion. After a competitive tender process, FKI Logistex was chosen to design, supply and integrate the handling systems needed for this vital expansion. This built upon a successful partnership with FKI Logistex established on a previous automated warehouse project in Antwerp.
"Apart from having demonstrated an ability to understand fully and meet CCE's demanding requirements with simple yet functional solutions, the price was highly competitive. Another key offering from FKI Logistex was its ability to produce a system able to handle 'retail-ready' plastic pallets which avoid slave pallets.
"Surrounded by roads on all sides, the physical constraints of the site presented a unique challenge involving the construction of a new high-bay building only 1.5 metres from the boundary. Demolition and construction phasing were critical but production was maintained throughout the two-year build. FKI Logistex provided a project team, working with project managers Faithful + Gould and builders John Sisk & Sons. The warehouse was fully operational in under three months from hand-over by the company."
The 33-metre clad rack building has 12 aisles with fully-automated FKI Logistex storage and retrieval systems, each incorporating 32-metre high, double-deep pallet-handling cranes. Five automated elevator units connect the production lines to a high-level pallet system.
Heavy-duty conveyor systems are bespoke for CHEP and MU pallets. Handling pallet types including GKN's and 2 x 800 x 600 plastic merchandisable units, a twin-level shuttle system automatically sorts pallets to customer loads. The pallet-handling systems include four transfer cars and five vertical transfer devices. Incorporating pre-despatch, double-tier gravity lane marshalling, the warehouse has close-coupled loading bays for ultra-fast vehicle turnaround. Apart from integrating all materials handling systems, FKI Logistex was responsible for the supply of mezzanine floors, sprinklers and wall and roof cladding.
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