Looking to the sky


Ferag Australia showed off the ferag.skyfall for the first time in Australia at this year’s CeMAT. MHD caught up with Ferag Australia Managing Director Philip Batty to dig deeper into what this pathbreaking technology offers.

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, supply chains are becoming ever more complex and demanding. In response, innovative solutions are required to streamline processes and make operations more efficient and adaptable. Enter the ferag.skyfall system, a ground-breaking, three-dimensional solution which made its Australian debut at this year’s CeMAT exhibition in Sydney.

Ferag.skyfall, a high-tech amalgamation of shuttles and trolleys, utilises application-specific load carriers and harnesses the power of gravity to reinvent the way warehouse handling operates. By capitalising on vertical space, this revolutionary system significantly reduces the demand for valuable floor area, leaving room for vital value-creating processes to thrive.

Beyond being a spatially ingenious solution, ferag.skyfall simultaneously consolidates multiple functions into a single, efficient system. It can handle everything from conveying, buffering, and sorting to more intricate tasks such as order picking and consignment for diverse sectors, including e-commerce, retail, B2B, and 3PL. This all-in-one system can extend process chains without necessitating additional transfer points, thus resulting in smoother, more integrated operations.

Speaking to MHD, Philip Batty, Managing Director of Ferag Australia, explains that while there are other pocket sortation systems in existence, ferag.skyfall’s uniqueness lies in its origin and operation. 

“We adapted our technology from the core Ferag graphics technology, a process that took a reasonably long period of time,” Philip says. “This core technology has been around for 40 years,” he says. “Ferag.skyfall is the culmination of the company’s deep-rooted knowledge and decades of industry experience.”

According to Philip, the real innovation of the system is its smart use of established technology. “The chain technology it uses has been around a long time, which means we understand it well. We know how to build systems with overhead conveyors,” he elaborates. “By effectively utilising a combination of driven technology and gravity, it successfully achieves lower overall power consumption, setting it apart from its competitors.”

The ferag.skyfall system is also engineered to handle impressive loads. 

“Its capacity for a pocket sortation system is quite high,” he says. “For instance, each pocket can carry 15 kilos, and we can sort 10,500 pockets per hour. If you had 50,000 pockets all loaded – that’s a significant amount of weight.” 

The flexible design of ferag.skyfall allows it to be utilised effectively in any setting. Whether in a greenfield or a brownfield environment, it can adapt to meet specific site needs. Its unique functionality streamlines the sorting and buffering process, essentially doing the hard work so operators don’t have to. 

“All the operator has to do is receive the work item – whether it’s a single item or part of a multiple order – and put it into a pocket,” Philip says. “The system will then sort and bring together the items belonging to that one order and deliver it to the packing location.” 


In an industry where speed and efficiency are paramount, the potential of ferag.skyfall to revolutionise the intralogistics landscape is apparent.  

“For high-volume e-commerce operations with complex SKU and order profiles, it will have a big impact in Australia,” Philip says. 

This is particularly so given ferag.skyfall’s spatially savvy design. 

“One of the major advantages here is that the whole system can be elevated, freeing up the ground floor for other uses,” Philip explains. “You can place it high up above the ground operations. This is particularly advantageous in Australian warehouses, which typically have high ceilings. And doubly so given the scarcity of available industrial property in Australia. Many companies have so much underutilised space above them in their warehouses. Ferag.skyfall slots in perfectly, here.”

Buffering capability – which refers to managing processes with different throughput rates and synchronising their outputs – is another area where the system stands out.

This is especially crucial when dealing with an automated pick engine, which operates swiftly, and a manual pick process, which might be slower. These differences in speed and timing can create challenges in coordinating the flow of items for an order. “If you try to synchronise them in real time, it’s nearly impossible,” Philip says, recalling “nightmarish” past experiences trying to consolidate items from different pick engines. The possibility of automated loading and unloading of the stations makes the process even more efficient and powerful.

This is where ferag.skyfall’s buffering capabilities shine: “The operator in the automated process doesn’t have to consider where the item goes, he can simply pick items and place them in pockets without thinking about which order they belong to.” 

This decoupling of tasks allows the operator to focus on the picking process and enables the ferag.skyfall system to handle the rest.

In essence, the system “synchronises the delivery of items,” helping to level out and align the different timings of processes. This translates to increased efficiency and productivity in order handling, making it an attractive solution for businesses grappling with the challenges of managing disparate picking processes.


“Sustainability and energy efficiency are central to the value proposition of the system,” says Philip. 

Ferag.skyfall’s vertical utilisation advantage can be a boon to businesses operating within constrained building spaces, providing a cost-effective alternative to relocating or constructing new infrastructure.

But it isn’t only in terms of spatial efficiency that its stands out. 

“Regarding energy efficiency, it’s chain-based, meaning it doesn’t need a lot of motors or drives to work,” Philip explains. “It sometimes uses gravity, pulling up at times and then letting gravity take over to run down.”

The system operates like a pumped hydro system – energy is consumed to elevate the load carriers, but the process of descent is powered by gravity. This makes it a highly energy-efficient solution. “You don’t have a lot of motors,” Philip notes.


Philip Batty was gearing up for the first-time unveiling of ferag.skyfall at this year’s CeMAT exhibition in Sydney. The excitement and anticipation was palpable as he talked about the upcoming showcase. “Last year, we presented a small static concept, but now we need to show people the product in action – moving, loading, and unloading – so they can truly appreciate it.”

In wrapping up our conversation, Philip has a clear message to potential users of the ferag.skyfall system.  

“I’d ask those considering their expansion paths whether ferag.skyfall might not be the best add-on solution for them? You can add it on to an Autostore system or a shuttle system and get the most out of your vertical space.

“The ferag.skyfall has had outstanding success overseas, and it’s the right product at the right time for Australia. We at Ferag Australia look forward to sharing its potential with attendees at CeMAT this year. And since we’ll be exhibiting alongside so many other fantastic intralogistics solutions, we’ll be able to show you how it works in concert with other fantastic products from other companies – like Autostore, just to name one. 

“Ferag Australia works with a lot of other great manufacturers and solutions providers. The ferag.skyfall is great in its own right, but also a great addition to the intralogistics market mixture in that it complements so many other great solutions.

For more information on Ferag Australia, click here

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