Egemin Automation builds deepfreeze warehouse for frozen food

October 29, 2014 by Kirsty Adams
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Egemin Automation has been assigned to build and automate a brand-new deepfreeze warehouse for frozen foods specialist Crop’s in Belgium, at its Ooigem production site.

Crop’s investment in the new high-bay warehouse will support its growth plans over the coming years. The facility will be built next to the existing freezer warehouse and production plant. Egemin will be responsible for the complete construction and logistic organisation of the warehouse.

The construction works include the foundations, insulation, roofing, cooling, oxygen reduction, fire detection, lighting and electricity. The logistic part includes the clad rack construction and all automation technology, including five AS/RS stacker cranes, the conveyor system and the higher-level WMS software to control all material flows.

The works were due to start in mid-September, and the entire project is scheduled to be completed in approximately 12 months.
With impressive dimensions of 82m long, 38m wide and 41m high, the warehouse will be the highest automated deepfreeze warehouse in Benelux. With its 15 storage levels and five crane aisles, it will provide space for over 20,000 pallets of frozen vegetables and fruits. Pallets can enter the warehouse from both the production plant and from external locations. Each pallet is checked for dimensions and weight before infeed. External and industrial pallets, accounting for 20% of the total storage capacity, are first placed on a slave pallet. That should optimise the storage process in the warehouse. Stow will be responsible for the silo construction. The five stacker cranes will be supplied by German company MIAS.

E’wms, Egemin’s warehouse management software, is responsible for managing both orders and inventory. The software takes full control of all transport and storage systems, ranging from the infeed and storage in the warehouse to the dispatch and transport to the shipping zone.

Egemin and Crop’s have also concluded a two-year maintenance contract to ensure an optimal operation of all logistic installations in the deepfreeze warehouse. The maintenance contract involves 24/7 standby service, corrective and preventive maintenance and a system availability guarantee.

Lifting achievement

During the summer, Egemin hoisted 35m-high, 13-tonne warehouse cranes into their positions between the racks of floorcoverings company IVC’s new high-bay warehouse in Avelgem. The cranes will take care of the automatic storage of pallets with finished Moduleo luxury vinyl floor tiles. The warehouse has a total storage space for 10,600 pallet locations and 30 levels for pallets with different heights. The crane aisles each have a length of 78m.

With clad rack construction completed, the roof and wall panels were then scheduled to be attached to the warehouse racks, and the connecting zone and front zone of the warehouse equipped with roller and transfer conveyors and pallet lifts. The finished installation will be subjected to extensive software testing, and is expected to be operational by the autumn.

The new system at Avelgem will ensure the fully automated transport and storage of the finished products between production, warehouse and dispatch. In addition to an automatic high-bay warehouse, AGVs and conveyors, the extensive installation also includes an extensive picking zone where shipments are prepared for the customer.

The automated warehouse will be housed in a new building opposite the existing buildings where production is situated. A conveyor bridge will connect the existing building with the new building. A transfer car will take care of the transport of finished vinyl flooring between production and the warehouse and dispatch.

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