Robots for the supermarket

Drakes Supermarkets will be installing a robotic piece picking system in its new state of the art distribution centre (DC) in South Australia. It is the first time the robotic picking system will be deployed in Australia.
Drakes Supermarkets is one of Australia’s largest independent grocery retailers. The $80 million Drakes DC, which has received planning consent from the City of Playford and is fully funded by the South Australian family-owned business, will be located on a 17-hectare site at Edinburgh North and is expected to create up to 550 jobs.
“Our new facility will be the most advanced independent distribution and logistics centre in South Australia and is a key part of our group’s vertical integration strategy within the supermarket sector,” said Glenn Sutcliffe, logistics manager at Drakes Supermarkets. “We are excited that the centre will incorporate robotics as part of a wider high-tech warehouse picking system.”
To ensure high productivity and efficiency within the DC, Drakes has chosen Dematic’s RapidPICK 1-to-1 Goods-To-Person (GTP) including the Dematic Multishuttle buffering and sequencing system and robotic piece picking.
This is the first robotic piece picking module Dematic will deploy in Australia and only the second globally. The system will handle GTP compatible grocery products in an ambient environment.
“Some of the key benefits of the new Dematic system include the security of high-value items and increased pick rates, which meet Drakes Supermarkets’ needs in an increasingly competitive grocery sector,” said Terry Jamieson, business development manager at Dematic.
“As a business committed to continued growth, our goal is to build a new DC that allows us to offer the best level of service to our South Australian shoppers, as well as set the scene for our plan to expand nationally,” said Mr Sutcliffe.
 

Toll opens automated DC

The Toll Group has opened a new distribution centre (DC). The highly automated DC has been established to meet increasing demands for efficient e-commerce and omnichannel order fulfillment, and was fitted out by Dematic.
The DC features several Dematic systems integrated with new technologies. Dematic Multishuttles store, buffer and sequence 80,000 SKU. Workers pick orders at 24 ergonomic goods-to-person workstations. Ten AGV handle repetitive transportation tasks safely and automatically. In addition, the Toll Group worked closely with Dematic to define and implement support systems from other vendors to ensure complete integration.
As a 3PL, the Toll Group had some stringent requirements for automation. General manager of speciality retail at the Toll Group Robert Charles said: “We look at the occupation, health and safety requirements. We look at order accuracy to prevent returns coming back to the facility.
“We also look at customer service to make sure customers get their product in an efficient manner. Because it’s all about the speed to market today.”
 
 
 

How to keep cool things cool in order fulfilment

Dematic has released a new automated tool for cold chain order fulfilment.
Proper handling of refrigerated and frozen goods is one of the most challenging tasks in order fulfilment. The addition of the Multishuttle 2 Freezer completes the line of equipment for the cold chain market.
“Our focus continues to be on reducing operating costs for customers,” said solutions development manager at Dematic Darren Rawlinson. “The grocery and food production industries are especially competitive and automation can create an advantage.”
The Multishuttle 2 Freezer application is said to offer a high-density, low energy-cost product designed specifically to meet cold chain requirements.
Specific benefits of the Multishuttle 2 Freezer are said to include:

  • Reduced energy use and refrigeration costs.
  • Decreased labour requirements.
  • Improved product handling and FIFO rotation.
  • Increased inventory accuracy and full shipment traceability.

The Multishuttle is an automated storage buffer for cartons, totes, trays, containers and individual bundles. All variations of the Multishuttle (static and flex) can now operate at temperatures as low as -30°C, which offers grocers and food manufacturers a full range of energy efficient, high-density and high-throughput storage equipment for ambient, refrigerated and freezer environments.
 

Smart glasses arrive

Dematic is now a distributor of Vuzix Smart Glasses in Australia and New Zealand.
Vuzix Smart Glasses allow hands-free mobile computing that can be used within the warehouse for inventory management tasks such as picking orders, inventory replenishment, and inventory cycle counting.
Vuzix M300 Smart Glasses are a hands-free wearable computer that combine the features of a barcode scanner, a voice picking system, and a vision picking system. Designed specifically for industrial settings, they are an ergonomically designed and rugged Android-based device. They feature an nHD monocular display and Intel processor, large internal storage, recording features, and wireless connectivity capabilities. The Vuzix glasses also have a 10 megapixel, 1080p camera that records, stores, and plays back still pictures and video, perfect for picking, packing and shipping tasks as well as for maintenance and remote support functions.
“Dematic helps supply chain operators achieve operational excellence by offering the most appropriate solution for each application,” said Brian Lang, Dematic’s director of Real Time Logistics. “Including the Vuzix Smart Glasses in the Dematic portfolio creates more choices for customers and can optimise their order fulfilment.”
Ruggedised against water, dust and dirt, the Smart Glasses give the user versatility to navigate and use the glasses in almost any working environment. They also include the flexibility of multiple mounting options and enhanced battery packs for long or high-intensity users.
 

Dematic expands with AutoStore

Dematic has signed a global agreement with AutoStore, which will enable Dematic to expand its omni-channel integrated product range with an ultra-high density storage and goods to person piece picking system to optimise order fulfilment and kitting. As a qualified system integrator, Dematic will design, configure, engineer, install and support AutoStore as a sub-system within an overall Dematic system or as a stand-alone piece picking system throughout the globe.
Including the AutoStore system in the Dematic portfolio creates more choices for customers to optimise order fulfilment, the company said. For example, if storage density is the most important consideration, the AutoStore system may be the most effective option.
With the AutoStore partnership, Dematic has the ability to provide scalable solutions that work across all elements of the dynamic order profiles and SKU velocities associated with e-commerce and omni-channel solutions. In addition, the Dematic iQ Warehouse Execution System (WES) will manage all functional areas of the operation including piece picking and the AutoStore system. This Dematic one-source provider capability ensures production and distribution operations employ a holistic integrated system that harmonises information and material flow from receiving to shipping.

What is AutoStore?

AutoStore is a modular piece picking system. It consists of five standard modules: robot, port or workstation, grid, bin and controller.  The robots drive on the top of the grid to access inventory stored in the bins below. The bins are put away, retrieved and delivered to the ports or workstations as required.
When compared to conventional storage density, AutoStore can store up to four times more inventory in the same space. It can be installed in oddly shaped buildings, around pillars or on several levels and fills out the warehouse space potential to its maximum. The AutoStore infrastructure is independent of the building structure, and disassembly and relocation is feasible and cost effective.
AutoStore is an eco-friendly system. Overall power consumption is low, energy recovery occurs during bin lowering and robot braking. Ceiling lighting is not needed. It requires less space due to the compact structure.
AutoStore is built around the “goods-to-person” principle. The key benefits of goods-to-person include eliminating worker travel time to pick locations, picking productivity, omitting dedicated pick faces (no slotting, re-slotting, manual replenishment), product security/inventory accuracy, order processing speed, and order accuracy. AutoStore technology supports a quiet, clean environment with reduced fatigue factors. Workstations are designed for ergonomic operation.
 
 
 

Dematic launches new safety-enhanced pallet guides

Dematic has announced the launch of a new solution in its ColbyRACK range designed to increase safety for forklift operators removing pallets from high storage levels in warehouses and distribution centres (DCs).
The Retrofit Pallet Guide was designed by Dematic after calls from its customers, including a major retailer and a 3PL provider, for a solution that would minimise incidents where pallets and cartons fall from heights.
The solution is primarily intended for retrofitting pallet guides to single deep selective racking.
The Colby Retrofit Pallet Guide can be installed onto existing selective racking beams, and also offer an option for storing European pallets on Australian racking.
“Worker safety is becoming more important for Australian businesses, particularly those that operate busy facilities with pickers and forklifts in close proximity,” said Dr Paul Berry, Senior Structural Engineer, Dematic. “Dematic identifies the challenges organisations face with their storage equipment and develop solutions that overcome these.”

Dematic announces Egemin Automation integration plan

Following its acquisition by the KION Group, Dematic has announced plans for integrating Egemin Automation into its organisation – Egemin Automation was purchased by the KION Group in 2015. The integration, targeted for completion by the end of 2017, will result in the world’s largest Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) supplier, while supporting Dematic’s system integration capability in Europe.
In the first of two major integration moves, Dematic will be creating a ‘Mobile Automation Centre of Excellence’ which will combine the Dematic, Egemin Automation and NDC (a recent Dematic technology acquisition in Australia) AGV products into one global group. The Centre will also include Egemin’s in-floor chain conveyor (E’tow) offerings.
The Centre will be headquartered in Holland, Michigan in the US, the current home of Egemin’s North American operations, under the leadership of Tom Kaminski, former CEO of Egemin NA.
Jeff Moss, CEO, Dematic International stated, “As a member of the KION Group, Dematic and Egemin Automation will leverage KION’s leading market position and continued investment in forklift technology to offer an unprecedented level of expertise, techology and world-class manufacturing to customers. By combining three great brands, the Dematic Mobile Automation business is now effectively the world’s leading provider of innovative AGV and warehouse technologies that will optimise the supply chain.
“Together, we offer the marketplace a unique combination of automation and industrial software solutions that will maximise employee efficiency and minimise customer investment.”
In the second integration move, Egemin’s warehouse automation activities (E’wds) will continue to be located in Zwijndrecht, Belgium and will be integrated into the Dematic Central Europe organisation, reporting to Barbara Wladarz, Managing Director, Central Europe. The Benelux team will continue to serve all European regions in the design and delivery of warehouse and distribution solutions. The enhanced offerings will provide focused vertical market solutions including pallet warehouse systems and standard convey and sort solutions addressing the diversified requirements for markets, such as food & beverage, pharmaceuticals, distribution and logistics, production and manufacturing.
“Current customers of Egemin Automation will benefit as this new and empowered organisation will leverage the strengths of Dematic to offer even more comprehensive solutions and support,” said Jan Vercammen, Managing Director, Egemin Group.
Moving forward, Vercammen will serve as Vice President, Business Development, Dematic International. He will be responsible for business development activities and identifying and facilitating best practices throughout the Dematic International regions of Europe, China, and ANZA.

NewCold expands operations Victoria

Melbourne to gain two new temperature-controlled facilities

Temperature-controlled storage company NewCold Advanced Cold Logistics is building two new facilities in Truganina, near Melbourne – including a chilled one for the first time.
The chilled and ambient storage facility will handle product for dairy company Fonterra Australia which is consolidating its distribution network and six warehouses into the one facility. Opening in July, the 12-storey site will be capable of holding up to 110,000 pallets.
“The first of its kind in Australia, the facility is highly automated and, because of its technology, we can be more agile and responsive to our customers’ needs, deliver smaller and more frequent orders and importantly, improve our service delivery,” said René Dedoncker, Australia Managing Director, Fonterra.
The frozen storage facility will stock products for McCain Foods, Australia, as previously reported, and Peters Ice Cream Australia, part of the Froneri group.
It is being built by storage equipment manufacturer Dematic, and will comprise of an integrated system combining automated pallet handling systems using in-house warehouse and control software developed in-house by NewCold.
“The storage and handling of McCain’s frozen products in the new automated facility will give us a more stable temperature regime and highly accurate stock control,” said McCain Foods ANZ Supply Chain Director Taso Kourou.
“We have years and years of experience in automation and that gives us the edge over someone who is building an automated warehouse for the first time,” said Jon Miles, Country Manager, UK, NewCold adding that NewCold is a “truly international temperature-controlled business.”

Dematic to build advanced warehouse solution for Sigma Pharmaceuticals in QLD

Australian full-line pharmacy wholesaler and distributor Sigma Pharmaceuticals has awarded a contract to Dematic for an advanced materials handling solution.
Sigma currently services more than 4,000 pharmacies nationwide, with over 15,000 product lines daily. The company has a national network of 15 distribution centres and makes in excess of one million deliveries to customers by road, sea and air each year.
Sigma’s new 15,000-square metre DC in Berrinba, Queensland – due for completion by October 2017 – will feature temperature controlled cool rooms and primarily service the company’s network of pharmacies in Queensland and northern New South Wales.
“Our new Queensland distribution centre is critical to servicing the growing needs of Sigma’s network of retail pharmacy brands in northern Australia,” said Richard Church, General Manager Logistics for Sigma Pharmaceuticals. “The warehouse will enable our business to continue to grow while meeting customer needs with accuracy and speed. We look forward to working with Dematic on this crucial initiative.”
To maximise space and efficiency in the DC, Dematic will manufacture and supply a selective racking capable of storing 6,347 pallets, along with a voice system to facilitate the picking of products in manual areas.

Dematic wins Asahi contract

Asahi Beverages, comprising some of Australia and New Zealand’s most successful beverage businesses, including Schweppes Australia, Asahi Premium Beverages, Independent Liquor and The Better Drinks Co., has awarded Dematic a contract to build a high bay warehouse storage facility.
The warehouse in Heathwood, Queensland, will consist of a satellite storage solution containing six aisles of six-deep satellite ColbyRack capable of storing 28,000 pallets. The automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) will include six new Dematic RapidStore Storage Retrieval Machines (SRMs) with Dematic’s latest “free roaming” Automover satellite carts. The solution will also feature Skate Auto-loading Truck Docks, a pallet conveyor system, stretch wrapper, automatic barcode labelling, and a full case picking area.
“Dematic was selected by Asahi Beverages as their preferred logistics integration partner following an extensive tender process that assessed experience, comprehensiveness of offering, and local capability,” said David Rubie, Dematic’s Manager of Industry Logistics. “We look forward to working with Asahi Beverages to deliver a supply chain solution that is a core component of their ongoing success.”
“Our new Queensland high bay warehouse is another major step forward in the transformation of our customer centric logistics network,” said Tracey Wagner, General Manager, Logistics and Customer Operations, Asahi Beverages. “We are pleased to be working with an experienced integrator such as Dematic on this crucial program.”

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