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Kuehne + Nagel has deployed Autostore by Central Systems & Automation to manage delivery, picking, packing and shipping operations at its automated distribution centre in Veghel.

The 650,000 sq ft warehouse, which is more than 120 feet high, houses K+N’s ambient, chilled and services divisions.

Autostore communicates with different computer systems, equipment such as automated guided vehicles, cranes and conveyors, and integrates with K+N’s existing management systems. It also interfaces with customer ERP systems, enabling real-time sharing of data.

The system receives electronic pre-advice notifications for all deliveries to the site from the K+N ERP system. When deliveries arrive, the vehicle is checked and all pallets are unloaded by an automatic vehicle unloading facility.

Under instruction from Autostore, the conveyor automatically transfers pallets to goods-in indexation. Additional deliveries are made from other depots which are unloaded by forklift and placed on the input conveyors. Site manager Hans Russens says: “For both types of delivery, the pallets are profiled to check the balance and measurements. The barcode label on each pallet is automatically scanned, cross-referenced and validated against the pre-delivery advice. Incoming goods may also be accepted without pre-advice and the EAN pallet label data used to create
the pallet reference information in Autostore.”

Veghel’s high bay has a surface area of 55,000 sq ft and comprises 11 aisles, with an automated narrow aisle stacker crane and 52,000 pallet storage places.

Autostore manages and co-ordinates all pallet movements within the high-bay through real-time analysis of pallet data, user-definable storage strategies and zoning rules. Product and
workload balancing across all aisles is automatically maintained by Autostore.

A radio data terminal (RDT) is fitted in the cab of each forklift, informing each picker which product is required. Pick faces are manually replenished by forklift and a user-definable low stock trip point triggers replenishment in the RDT system, meaning the case picker operates on a JIT basis.

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