Modern AS/RS technology improves efficiency at two distribution centers

With 520 stores throughout Sweden, Dagab AB is one of the country’s four largest grocers. As part of an ongoing effort to efficiently serve customers, Dagab recently renovated two distribution centers. One serving customers in northern Sweden and the other serving customers in the south. In both facilities, cutting-edge material handling systems reduced cost and decreased delivery lead time. With the new systems in place, Dagab will be able to efficiently manage future growth.

  • 28m (92ft)-wide, 102m (335ft)-deep, 15m (49ft)-high, unit load AS/RS has 12,288 pallet locations.

    28m wide, 102m deep, 15m high, unit load AS/RS has 12,288 pallet locations.

  • Input lines to the unit load AS/RS.

    Input lines to the unit load AS/RS.

AS/RS increases storage capacity while transport system optimizes the flow of goods

Two of the six racks have a capacity of double deep storing. The rack masters are double folk type to handle skid pallets.

Two of the six racks have a capacity of double deep storing. The rack masters are double folk type to handle skid pallets.

Dagab AB opened the Stockholm distribution center near its head office in June 2008. It consists of dry, cold, and frozen areas. A unit load Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS) and Sorting Transfer Vehicles (STVs) were introduced to handle dry products.

The AS/RS consists of six storage retrieval machines and has a storage capacity of 12,000 pallets. It handles full europallets (900mm x 1,400mm) and half-pallets (900mm x 700mm). Half-pallets are stored double deep.

Inventory location within the AS/RS is open, enabling the system’s control software to determine the most efficient storage location at any given moment. Throughput is 180 pallets per hour, which is more than double the throughput of a conventional system and 20 percent higher than the Göteborg distribution facility (see below for more details on the Göteborg facility). Two STVs run on one track to increase the throughput. In the event that one STV is removed for maintenance, the system can continue operations.

A pallet is loaded onto STV from input conveyor.

A pallet is loaded onto STV from input conveyor.

The new automated equipment has optimized material flow within the facility. Incoming goods are automatically processed through conveyor, STVs, and AS/RS. Replenishment products destined for one of two picking areas on either side of the AS/RS are automatically retrieved for workers who transport the pallets from conveyor to a specified location by forklift. The changes within the facility have also resulted in significant labor savings.

New material handling technology replaced existing, aging equipment

Göteborg Distribution Center

Unit load AS/RS (5 cranes, 20m (65') high) accommodates the 2,400sq.m (25,830sq.ft) footprint stores 9,690 pallets.

Unit load AS/RS (5 cranes, 20m high) accommodates the 2,400sq.m footprint stores 9,690 pallets.

The Stockholm facility was not Dagab’s first automated facility. In 2006, Dagab introduced a new unit load Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS) and high-speed Sorting Transfer Vehicles (STVs) in the Göteborg distribution facility in southern Sweden to store and handle dry goods. Previously, dry goods were stored at a field warehouse 10km away. An AS/RS was already in use at the facility, but as throughput demands had increased, the older system could not keep up. Therefore, the distribution system was reconfigured.

By bringing the storage operations from the field ware-house into the distribution center, Dagab was able to fulfill orders faster and eliminate the wait time experi-enced by delivery truck drivers. After the new center opened, processing throughput doubled. Also, by fully utili-zing ceiling space for storage, the facility has enough reserve capacity to handle a growing volume of goods.

Convincing results

“The fact that Daifuku was able to provide us with all of the components from a single source was one of the main reasons why we decided to work with this vendor. The positive results of the project confirm our selection: we have doubled the output of goods from 75 to up to 152 pallets. The high-bay racking system also provides us with extremely high stock availability.” says Christian Jensen, Operation Manager.

< DAIFUKU NEWS No.192 (October 2009) >