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Logistex, the materials handling systems integrator, has completed an automated high-bay, rack-clad warehouse in Ploiesti for Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (CCHBC).

It is the first automated high-bay rack-clad warehouse system in Romania, and the project was delivered within a demanding timescale without affecting on-site production.

The new system replaces the former manual handling process and will enable the company to meet growth in the Romanian market and increase pallet handling capacity by 33 per cent. As well as providing increased volume uptime and a more efficient delivery process, the project gives the company a more predictable cost base and a significant reduction in energy consumption.

Logistex worked closely with the bottling company’s consultants, Total Logistics, and managed the full design, integration and installation of the storage and materials handling equipment and systems. This included the pallet racking structure designed to withstand demanding seismic conditions in a region prone to earthquakes and to support the exterior cladding.

A spokesperson for the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company says: “There were a number of critical elements in the project including the need to minimise downtime during installation and to provide guarantees that the system would be completed within a very tight timescale. With their experience in installing automated materials handling systems in other bottling facilities, Logistex was able to demonstrate that they had the expertise and knowledge to provide the maximum return with the minimum risk.”

Using pallet racking as part of the building superstructure requires a more robust design, but reduces the cost and time compared with traditional building methods using a civil engineering steel structure and cladding panels.

Six automated powered conveyors – installed 3.5m above floor level to provide maximum usable floor space – bring palletised finished goods from production into the warehouse, at up to 290 pallets per hour. They are taken into the high-bay storage area, which provides efficient use of space, coupled with fast access to products using advanced automated handling equipment systems and software.

The 30m high pallet rack structure has a storage capacity of 34,848 pallets and is served by 11 twin pallet-handling stacker cranes that store and retrieve pallets automatically. With an aisle only 1.54m wide, a third or less than that required by conventional handling equipment, the cranes make ultra-effective use of cube space.

The high levels of automation in the new facility directly link production with the high-bay storage module, thereby eliminating inefficient internal fork truck traffic. Coupled with consolidation of stock into one storage facility, removing the need for inter-site vehicle movements, the project has considerably reduced the operation’s overall carbon footprint.

Pallet movements, stock levels and other essential information are managed by Logistex’s own computerised Logistex Warehouse System (LWS) interfacing directly with CCHBC’s existing SAP ERP system. The systems ensure that stock levels are efficiently managed, that staff can view the status of all pallets in real time, and ensure fast, accurate product shipments. The process now in place will enable the warehouse to dispatch up to 430 pallets per hour and handle 136 vehicle movements in an eight-hour shift.

Logistex’s managing director Jerry Woodhouse says: “We recognised the importance of the project to CCHBC future business strategy, and it also represents a great opportunity for our business reflecting our strategic commitment to the markets in Romania and other emerging Eastern European economies

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