Warm Comfort In A Cold Warehouse

AS/RS systems take the chill out of storage and retrieval operations.


With this in mind, the company decided to use FKI's Condor crane system in its facilities. The Condor, used for pallet and case pick operations, is a floor-running manual/automatic crane that is operated by an employee who sits in a fully-enclosed heated cabin. It features dependable, in-aisle top and bottom guidance, which allows it to work at higher operating speeds. The heated cabin makes it possible for the operator to spend protracted amounts of time in an otherwise unbearable environment.

"You can work all day in there if you have to," says May. He says the use of heated crane cabins by FKI's other clients has allowed them to hold onto freezer workers much longer than the industry average turnover rate, which is quite fast.

Innovative is going to use six of the Condor cranes for pallet storage and retrieval in its 50-foot-high racking system. The space will include an area at the front of the racks that's used for maneuvering the feeder trucks that drop the pallets in the aisles. The Condor operator will pick up a pallet, rotate it into an empty slot and then scan the slot label, which records the position of the pallet onto his handheld.

On the retrieval end of the equation, the operator will use his pick list to see where he has to go and bring the pallets down to floor level, where they will be taken away by fork lift to the shipping dock.

Daifuku/Yili Industrial Group Co. Ltd.

It is no surprise that the Chinese economy has been booming over the last decade and, according to experts, when societies become affluent, their populations consume more milk. As a result, the demand for dairy products has also been escalating.

In order to increase production capacity and achieve a faster supply chain system, dairy producer Yili Industrial Group Co. Ltd. recently built the most advanced milk processing plant and distribution center in Asia thus far, inside its main factory premises located in Huhhot, the capital city of Inner Mongolia, China. At the facility, Yili produces milk, butter, cheese and powdered milk. The new facility now includes high-capacity production systems as well as an AS/RS system installed by Daifuku, a Japan-based provider of automated material handling solutions.

The DC was outfitted with Daifuku's Unit Load AS/RS Rack-Supported Building System (RB), which features 21,024 pallet-storing positions, as well as 11 cranes to access the pallets. The factory is producing approximately 1,500 tons of fresh milk daily through 18 production lines. The processed milk is poured into paper cartons and then transported to the packing line in the DC via conveyors.

From there, three palletizing robots stack cartons onto pallets, which are delivered to the temperature-controlled AS/RS system by a loop-type high speed Sorting Transfer Vehicle (STV). There are eight units. Each has a transport capacity of 247 pallets/hour.

When it's time for the product to ship out, another STV transports the pallets to the shipping area. According to Daifuku, the daily volume of product shipped out is roughly 2,000 tons. Thanks to the cutting edge technology at play, no manual handling is involved, from production, to packing, to shipping, thus removing operator involvement and temperature-related discomfort from the process.


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