The case picking system solution was launched in 2008 for the automatic compilation of shipping units in the business segments and has been honored with several awards, including the renowned MM Logisitik Award (2008). SSI SCHAEFER continuously develops their wide expert knowledge in the Food Retail market sector.
The SSI Case Picking receives entire pallets from suppliers at goods-in and transports them to automatic depalletizing using a conveying system or automated guided vehicles (AGVs). There, robots automatically unload the pallets either completely or partially layer by layer. For this process, state-of-the-art robotics technology is used to ensure gentle product handling.
The layers of the retail units are then buffered individually in an automated picking warehouse. Here, highly dynamic single-level shuttle systems by SSI SCHAEFER are used.
In case of higher performance requirements, the shuttle picking warehouse can be designed as a module of the SSI Case Picking system using the 3D-Matrix Solution®: The 3D-Matrix is a highly dynamic solution that enables storage, buffering and sequencing in one system. The temporarily stored cases can be handed over to the palletizing robot in the correct sequence.
The intelligent modules of the logistics software WAMAS® by SSI SCHAEFER calculate the optimum compilation of retail units retrieved from the 3D-Matrix as they are automatically transferred to order pallets by robots. The pallets are transported to goods-out either by conveying system or AGVs from SSI SCHAEFER.
Every robot is only as good as the software it is controlled by. With its comprehensive software systems expertise, SSI SCHAEFER already has all the necessary knowledge in-house. This way users receive the optimum combination of software, intralogistics hardware and industrial image processing from a single source. The modules of the WAMAS® logistics software make robots more “intelligent” and fit for holistic logistics applications.
The central component of the palletizing robot control system is what’s called the Robot Material Flow Controller (RMC). It processes the 3D vision data, which it then uses to set the movements of the robots. Thanks to the modular structure of the WAMAS® software suite, specifically adapted solutions can be implemented.
Industrial image processing with state-of-the-art sensors is one of the key technologies of automation. It can be used to control machines intelligently, automate processes, and verify and check items.
Furthermore, corresponding systems check quality criteria and provide valuable data for process optimization. All parameters relevant for optimum product handling are saved in the system. Possible changes are recognized by the WAMAS® Vision module and will be taken into account in the future in a "self-learning" manner for this item.
The smart Pack Pattern Generator calculates an optimized pallet according to individual specifications. This is done by using sophisticated algorithms and is based on the information from image-processing systems. Different criteria are weighted according to the customer:
Certain restrictions and product groups
Immediately after the calculation is completed, the calculated pallet is visualized and the order can be started and processed by SSI Case Picking. The system accesses the ordered items by batch number or best before date or according to the First In, First Out (FIFO) principle.
If there are malfunctions during the automatic palletizing, e.g. due to a damaged package, the order can be packed onto the same pallet with a packing pattern modified in real-time or, if necessary for stability reasons, the order can be repacked onto a new pallet.
The SSI Pack Pattern Generator enables the packing layout for each individual pallet and store to be configured individually and applied automatically. This intelligent best in class packing algorithm calculates and implements volume-optimized, stable and store--optimized packing patterns.
The sequenced in-feed and palletizing of all respective retail units is essential to create the “perfect pallet”. The temporarily stored units are retrieved from the picking warehouse in the correct order and transported to the palletizing robots in the optimized sequence. Thanks to the 3D-Matrix Solution this takes place without any performance loss and without any additional sub-systems for subsequent sequencing. They rapidly and reliably pack the goods onto pallets or into roll containers using the previously calculated, optimum packing pattern for each store.
Thanks to the automation of processes and the implementation of ergonomic work stations, warehouse operators can automate heavy physical activities, optimize their personnel deployment and thus meet the country-specific, sometimes very strict, requirements with regard to occupational safety in the warehouse (e.g. in the deep-freeze warehouse).
Automated picking and palletizing of a wide item and packing range enables smooth operation 24/7. Separate picking warehouses for different temperature ranges (down to -30° C) can be implemented within the system.
All item retrievals from every storage area and at every station are booked in the WAMAS® system, including batch data and best before dates, so that the operator is always informed about and can dispose of his current inventory.
Automatic storage and picking systems make optimum use of the storage space in terms of footprint and height, as the aisles for storage-retrieval machines or conveying sections are narrower and higher than rack aisles for manual order picking trolleys or forklift trucks. Automatic depalletizing or palletizing is also done in robot cells in a space-saving manner.
Palletizing robots are able to create different pallet sizes and roll containers in a stable, volume-optimized and store-optimized sequence. The possible combination of case and piece picking is able to process different order sizes and handle as well as palletize a wide item range in one system.
With an optimum balance between storage system, sequencing and palletizing, high performance rates of the overall system with a high degree of space utilization can be achieved.
The calculation of an optimum pack pattern, the careful handling and stacking of the units and the pallet wrapping with stretch film to secure the load ensure a high level of stability for the mixed pallet.
Food retail ensures that consumers are supplied with everyday goods. The demands on the width and depth of the product range as well as the quality and security of supply have increased enormously over the past ten years. Diverse store formats offer an extensive range of dry, fresh and frozen products in a large variety and different packages. This results in a vast spectrum of requirements for intralogistics and the handling of the product range:
Consideration of best before dates and traceability of batch numbers.
Gentle handling of often fragile products for appealing and customer-friendly appearance in store.
High flexibility and efficiency capacity of the logistics system due to recurring peaks, resulting from seasonal and sometimes weekly campaigns.
Stores prefer multiple deliveries with smaller batch sizes and store-optimized packed pallets and roll containers to be able to replenish shelves quickly.
Volume optimization for transport.
The growing e-commerce share for the food industry and in everyday products calls for new concepts in warehouse logistics, such as delivery to the doorstep or customer pick-up.
Rising energy and personnel costs, staff shortages and higher requirements in the fields of occupational health and safety in the warehouse.
High performance requirements and deadline pressure in food logistics. In deep-freeze warehouses, employees have to wear e.g. personal protective equipment and stick to regular warm-up breaks.
Rising prices for logistics space lead to topics such as space saving and optimum use of space when building storage facilities.
All of these developments reinforce the trend towards semi-automation and full automation in the area of picking trade units as well as in the compilation of individual items. The technology must be able to be used for all temperature zones in food logistics and to automatically and stably pack containers of different sizes and weights on different pallets and roll containers.