Arla Foods cut costs in warehouse


Arla Foods cut costs in warehouse operations with the NDC8 technology.

Arla Foods in Gothenburg have automated the transportation of dairy goods from the production area to chilled storage. By using warehouse trucks from Jungheinrich automated with technology from Kollmorgen, Arla Foods have cut their operating costs significantly.

Arla Foods, Europe’s second-largest dairy company with operations in Europe and North America, have three production facilities in Sweden. The site in Gothenburg serves the western region. Back in 2004 the outdated conveyor system used to transport dairy products from the production area to chilled storage was replaced with five manual warehouse trucks from Jungheinrich, operating two shifts a day. As Arla continuously look for ways to cut costs in their warehouse operations, they once again investigated the possibilities to automate the transportation of products from production to warehouse. The most attractive option was to use a system with automated warehouse trucks, also referred to as AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles), which would be both cost efficient and flexible. But could an AGV system fulfill all Arla Food’s requirements? Together with Kollmorgen, Jungheinrich presented a solution based on standard warehouse trucks automated with Kollmorgen’s technology. The solution fulfilled all requirements and in 2009 an AGV system handling 600–800 transportation tasks a day was put into operation.

The system

  • operates in the same area as manual replenishment and order-picker trucks
  • meets all applicable safety requirements, also when personnel are working in the same area
  • was installed without interrupting day-to-day operations
  • works properly despite frequent temperature changes as the AGVs drive in and out of the cold store
  • operates in the original warehouse from 1974 with limited space for driving and uneven floors

Six manual trucks were replaced with six AGVs running two shifts a day. Jungheinrich ERC 214 warehouse trucks were automated with the vehicle automation kit from Kollmorgen. The stationary software for traffic control and order management was integrated
with the existing warehouse management system. “We chose AGV technology because it is cost efficient and flexible compared to fixed installed material handling solutions. We are free to change goods locations and the warehouse layout whenever we need to. Jungheinrich and Kollmorgen offered us a solution with automated warehouse trucks that could be served as part of our existing fleet of trucks, which was a great advantage.” says Åke Larsson, Project Manager. He goes on: “With the new system we get a constant traffic flow—there is always a truck on its way to the production area to pick up goods. The AGVs run smoothly and cause no damage to goods or infrastructure.” Vehicle automation technology from Kollmorgen is applied in more than 17,000 AGVs around the globe.

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