With the introduction of new production lines at its site in Leeds, Britvic had identified an increase in forklift truck movements and the need for a significant uplift in capacity and throughput. To meet the demands of the new production equipment, reduce manual movement of stock and maintain a safe operation, the decision was taken to automate the pallet warehouse on site. Health and Safety was a key driver for the automation of the pallet shuttle system ensuring that every employee is able to work in a safe environment.
The objective was to provide fully automated full goods pick and put away in the new warehouse, and to provide additional automation to reduce, but not eliminate, the warehouse movements from the end of the line to the warehouse.
During 2016, Britvic installed a manually operated shuttle storage system, with plans to automate this at a later stage. Britvic was confident that Logistex had the skills and depth of knowledge to carry out the new project. The existing shuttles available on site were not able to be utilised within the proposed automation and consequently a full replacement was needed.
Logistex worked closely with Britvic to design a new solution which saw the previously manual fork truck operated system converted to a fully automated pallet shuttle solution. The Logistex design team used their skill and experience to analyse Britvic’s requirements, design a solution and prove its effectiveness through 3D simulation prior to implementation.
Britvic’s Leeds Site Operations Manager, Mark Young, says; “The site team and Logistex worked very well together. From project management meetings, to daily site meetings in the live environment, we found it to be very successful, and that is very noticeable in the end solution that has been delivered.”
The solution has the capability to receive 288 pallets per hour, has 15,000 pallet locations and stores plastic, glass and can products.
Perhaps the most interesting and innovative part of the new solution are the automated pallet shuttles. The pallet shuttles, provided by Automha, are made up of ‘mover’ vehicles which travel along the front of the racking, and satellites which go into the lanes for the automatic collection and storage of pallets. The satellites use capacitors rather than batteries for power so there is no need for prolonged charging periods. Also, because the shuttles are lighter than an automated storage and retrieval system, they use less power per move, so there are environmental benefits as well as the desired safety improvements.
The system is controlled by Logistex’s own warehouse control software, LWS Reflex, which manages the pallet inventory into and out of the automated store. The WCS integrates with the Britvic SAP system for order processing.
Logistex also provides its engineering support services for best practice maintenance management of the automation system at site. The support includes a team of on-site engineers for mechanical and electrical maintenance and repair of the equipment, hotline and access to the Logistex Central Support Desk for technical support and emergency spares. Mark Young says; “We see high reliability from the automated warehouse due to the engineering works that Logistex carries out.”
The solution has enabled production to double to 5 million litres per week. The new system is optimising use of space, increasing throughput, reducing truck movements and consequently improving health and safety.
Britvic’s Site Operations Manager, Mark Young, says; “Automating the end of line has allowed us to move more pallets per hour than we could previously move. This has helped us improve our customer service figures out of Leeds while adhering to our health and safety needs.”
Logistex’s Business Development Director, Derek Kay, says; “Britvic have demonstrated their forward-thinking commitment to health and safety by adopting the automated pallet shuttle solution and we look forward to continuing to work together for many years in the future.”
Visit Logistex at IMHX 2019 on stand 18L110A.
t: 01536 480600