Australia, Automation, Companies, Features, Intralogistics, Logistics, Supply Chain

Swiss precision optimises automated pallet handling

Linfox BevChain has enlisted a dedicated on-site team from Swisslog to collaborate closely with its staff. Image: Swisslog.

With nearly 60 years in providing intralogistics and supply chain management solutions, explore how Swisslog utilises its experience in pallet handling, catering to diverse needs both locally and globally. MHD reports.

First founded in 1965 in Switzerland, Swisslog has grown to become a global supplier of integrated intralogistics solutions.

Originally established as a provider of pneumatic tube systems, the company quickly expanded its focus to include automation solutions for warehouses and distribution centres.

The company offers automation systems, software, and services designed to optimise material flow and enhance operational efficiency.

Swisslog’s solutions range from automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) to warehouse management software and robotic systems for tasks like picking and packing.

It caters to various industries, including e-commerce, retail, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare.

Swisslog has over 50 years of experience in design and implementation of automated pallet warehouses.

As part of its offering, Swisslog has a unique approach to pallet handling.

Swisslog understands that effective pallet handling is essential for streamlined warehouse operations.

Swisslog’s pallet handling solutions and automation software, including SynQ, are leveraged to automate and optimise key aspects of pallet management.

Swisslog’s AS/RS solutions are designed to automate the storage and retrieval of pallets within warehouses and distribution centres.

These systems use robotic cranes or shuttles to efficiently store and retrieve pallets from storage locations, maximising space utilisation and throughput.

Swisslog offers conveyor systems specifically designed for the transportation of pallets.

These conveyor systems enable seamless movement of pallets between different areas of the facility, such as loading docks, storage zones, and order picking stations.

At Lineage Logistics’ cold storage facility in Sunnyvale, Texas, Swisslog installed its PowerStore technology to automate the storage and retrieval system. Images: Swisslog.
At Lineage Logistics’ cold storage facility in Sunnyvale, Texas, Swisslog installed its PowerStore technology to automate the storage and retrieval system. Images: Swisslog.

They ultimately help optimise material flow and minimise manual handling.

Swisslog’s robotic palletising solutions automate the process of loading goods onto pallets.

These robotic systems can handle a wide range of products and packaging types, increasing efficiency, and reducing labour costs associated with pallet loading operations. Swisslog prides itself on finding the best pallet solution for its customers, including reviewing: 

  • Shape, size and height of your pallet warehouse
  • Number of products in your warehouseType of products in your warehouse
  • Number of pallets to be stored and retrieved per week, day or hour.

Taking optimisation to the next level

Swisslog’s WMS solutions include features for managing pallet inventory, tracking pallet movements, and optimising pallet handling processes.

SynQ as Swisslog’s automation software provides real-time visibility into pallet locations and enables intelligent decision-making to improve efficiency and responsiveness.

Swisslog’s pallet handling solutions offer a comprehensive approach to warehouse optimisation, delivering increased efficiency, improved accuracy, better utilised space, and enhanced flexibility.

By automating pallet handling processes, Swisslog boosts productivity while minimising errors through accurate tracking of pallet movements.

Going global

Swisslog’s expansion into global markets began in the late 1970s and early 1980s. During this period, Swisslog started establishing international subsidiaries and expanding its presence beyond Switzerland.

The company recognised opportunities in the growing demand for logistics automation solutions worldwide and strategically entered various markets to offer its expertise and solutions to a global customer base.

At Lineage Logistics’ Sunnyvale, Texas, cold storage facility, Swisslog’s PowerStore automated storage and retrieval system stands as the cornerstone.

This compact, high-density pallet shuttle system not only meets high throughput demands but also minimises worker exposure to harsh cold conditions.

Lineage’s commitment to innovation and data-driven approaches is evident in this 96,000 sqm expansion, marking its first fully automated cold storage facility in North America.

With three vertically stacked modules and advanced features tailored for cold environments, the PowerStore system achieves impressive throughput rates of 367 pallets per hour, facilitating faster turn times and allowing Lineage to maintain smaller inventories to meet customer demands effectively.

“Our results have been very good,” says Sudarsan Thattai, Chief Information Officer, Lineage Logistics.

“From the time we put in a truckload order to the time all the pallets arrive in the ready lane is just nine minutes – faster than the 12 minutes we had in our business case.”

“We expect that to drop to six minutes as we gain more experience.”

The Linfox BevChain success story

While Swisslog is recognised for its global expertise in providing logistics solutions, it also boasts extensive local knowledge and experience in pallet technology.

BevChain, a subsidiary of Linfox in Australia, has significantly improved its storage utilisation by approximately 60 per cent within its existing 24/7 facility in New South Wales through the implementation of Swisslog’s PowerStore automation system.

With over 30,000 pallet locations spread across five levels, the integration of Swisslog’s SynQ software ensures seamless operations with full traceability and trackability of products, including batch numbers.

To further optimise operational efficiency, BevChain has enlisted a dedicated on-site team from Swisslog to collaborate closely with its staff.

By having Swisslog experts on-site, BevChain can quickly address any issues that arise and ensure that their automation system operates at peak performance levels.

This partnership aims to maintain the automation system at peak performance levels through software support, training, condition monitoring, and spare parts maintenance, ultimately enhancing the overall lifecycle of the automation.

“We value the highly skilled, onsite Swisslog team who work in partnership with our people,” says Misha Shliapnikoff, President BevChain, Linfox Australia.

Swisslog’s solutions range from automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) to warehouse management software. Image: Swisslog.
Swisslog’s solutions range from automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) to warehouse management software. Image: Swisslog.

“They provide vital insights, immediate incident response and proactively monitor equipment to ensure maximum efficiency over its life span.

“This site represents BevChain’s commitment to work smarter for our customers. We continue to invest in their future with high performing supply chains and best-in-class technology.”

Enabling Vectura

Swisslog’s extensive experience in ASRS pallet technology, particularly with the Vectura stacker crane, spans over 50 years and encompasses a diverse range of environments and customer projects worldwide.

With over 600 successful implementations globally, including challenging conditions such as operating in frozen food warehouses at temperatures as low as -30°C or in ambient environments as high as +50°C, Swisslog has demonstrated its expertise in delivering efficient and reliable pallet storage solutions tailored to local and global needs.

The Vectura stacker crane, designed in Sweden, embodies Swisslog’s commitment to innovation and excellence in pallet handling technology.

Its versatility, energy efficiency, and reliability make it a preferred choice for warehouses seeking to improve their storage operations while reducing costs.

Whether in high-rise buildings with limited land space or in extreme temperature environments, Swisslog’s Vectura crane showcases the company’s ability to provide cutting-edge solutions that meet the evolving demands of the logistics industry on both local and global scales.

Swisslog’s extensive experience in pallet handling, coupled with their global reach, underscores their commitment to optimising warehouse operations.

Through partnerships with industry leaders like Lineage Logistics and Linfox BevChain, Swisslog delivers tailored solutions that address diverse needs in the logistics landscape.

As it continues to evolve, Swisslog remains focused on providing reliable and cost-effective logistics and supply chain management solutions that enable businesses to thrive in dynamic environments

To learn more about automation, visit Swisslog at CEMAT this year at Stand 201 between July 23 to July 25 in Melbourne at the MCEC. 

For more information on Swisslog, click here

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