High-Tech Distribution Center for Dairy Products in Southeast Asia
SSI Schaefer has implemented the most modern distribution centers in the country
For the “Mega Factory“ of Vinamilk Ben Cat district facility, the leading dairy company in Vietnam, SSI Schaefer has implemented the most modern distribution centers in the country. A high-bay warehouse and conveying system with tailored system components, efficient material flows with the first electric rail guided vehicle system in Southeast Asia as well as the intelligent logistics software WAMAS® offer continuous automated processes with high capacity throughput.
Vinamilk Vietnam: Casestudy
Until now, such a distribution center did not exist in Vietnam. High-ranking government representatives attended the official opening of the new distribution center in July 2013 signifying the importance of the project in the South-Vietnamese province of Binh Duong. On an area of more than 20 ha, the Viet Nam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk) built its first "Mega Factory" in the My Phuoc Industrial Park. 400 million liters of milk are processed at the production site every year. In April 2014, they have furthermore started producing baby food. The production volume shall be increased to 800 million liters until 2015. “With this factory, one of the most modern dairy distribution centers in the world is here,” proudly emphasizes Vietnams Vice Premier Hoang Trung Hai during the opening ceremony.
In fact, the production volume of the Mega Factory can cover a large portion of the liquid milk demand for the entire Vietnamese market. The factory is fully automated from goods receiving of the milk and base materials up to end-product storage. “Controlled by a central IT system, this ensures the best quality of products and the highest efficiency in manufacturing and storage,” states Mai Kieu Lien, the company chairwoman of Vinamilk.
The award for design, planning, and implementation of this finished goods storage and distribution center was given to SSI Schaefer, Giebelstadt, after an international tender. As general contractor, the intra-logistics specialists created a turn-key facility with a high-bay warehouse (HBW), front-zone, picking and shipping area – including floor slab, roof, wall, HVACR and sprinkler system in a timely manner. “SSI Schaefer is a worldwide leading supplier of intelligent warehouse solutions," justifies Trinh Quoc Dung, factory manager at Vinamilk the award of the contract. “The system supplier provided a comprehensive solution tailored to the local requirements, offered all services from one source starting with the construction of the building to the equipment and finally to the warehouse management system (WMS) and gave us the confidence to finish such a challenging project on time.“
The new distribution center is located directly next to the production buildings. The milk products filled in TetraPaks, boxed and palletized, reach the “Smart Warehouse” via two transfer stations. The logistics software WAMAS of SSI Schaefer does not only carry out the warehouse management system, but also ensures efficient material flow control and picking processes. An integrated visualization furthermore offers high transparency regarding plant capacity and processing states. “The WMS is one of the specialties of the plant," comments Dung. “It directly communicates with our ERP system as well as the production management system TetraPlant-Master. Production reports are quickly accessible, offering us high transparency and flexibility in the warehouse and allowing us optimal tracking of our products.”
SSI Schaefer has installed a fully-automatic dynamic rail guided vehicle (RGV) system loop to service both transfer stations from production. The rail-based transport system is the centerpiece of the automated material flows in the distribution center of Vinamilk. With its 15 vehicles, it provides all demand positions in the distribution center with the pallets from production. “This is the first time that SSI Schaefer has used an electric rail guided vehicle system for intra-logistic material flows in Southeast Asia," explains Carsten Spiegelberg, General Manager Systems and Automation, Schaefer Systems International Pte. Ltd., Singapore. “It enables efficient material flows at minimum space requirements." Furthermore the rail route can be flexibly extended for new production lines and for additional storage aisles to cater for further expansion needs. “An additional transfer station from the production and the respective extensions and connections of the RGV system are already considered in the plant layout,” says Spiegelberg.
With its narrow curve radius and space-saving footprint, the nearly 370 m long railway of the RGV system creates a "T" form in the plant layout with the top portion of the “T” as the interface between production and the warehouse. The transfer systems from the production are located at this top portion. With their double load handling devices, the RGV vehicles accept the pallets and move them with a speed of 90 m/min. counter-clockwise – along the around 130 m long lateral side of the new warehouse – to the nearly 35 m wide front side of the HBW. On their circuit, they first serve the transfer spurs for the storage and retrieval machines (SRM) of the 8 aisle HBW.
The new, finished goods product storage has a height of nearly 32 m. Special feature: SSI Schaefer calculated the statics for the entire superstructure and steel structure with consideration of seismic requirements – from the bracing towers to the beams and bracings, frames, and SRMs. Nearly 28,000 storage positions are available in the 8 aisles of the HBW for single-deep storage. They are designed for industry pallets mostly used in Asia (1,000 mm x 1,200 mm) with a weight of up to 1,100 kg. Up to 50 different items in 3 different product groups are on stock. The storage and retrieval is done by eight SRMs, type Exyz, the most modern and effective SRM generation currently available on the market.
With its innovative design features and the compact, modular design, Exyz offers a multitude of advantages in efficiency, high flexibility, and more storage capacity. Even in their standard version, the machines are equipped with efficient power recovery systems. An additional advantage is that all functional units are pre-mounted in basic modules and in a way that they can be loaded comfortably in a standard shipping container. “With this design principle it was possible to ship the SRMs comfortably to Vietnam," says David Goss, project manager at SSI Schaefer. “The basic modules also allowed an entirely new way of assembly on site. Because of the pre-assembled and tested components at our factory, delivery and installation time was considerably more efficient.” This was another reason why SSI Schaefer was able to hand over the entire project in Vietnam ready-for-use including construction within only 18 months after receiving the order.
Within 60 minutes, the SRMs move 92 pallets from production into the HBW and store them. The RGV system can in parallel transport up to 184 retrieval pallets per hour from the HBW into the shipping area – of those, 147 are full pallets and 37 buffered pick pallets or mixed product pallets. The loop of the RGV system transports the retrieval pallets to a double transfer position which is located directly opposite the front side of the HBW. From this point, the pallets are forwarded to a conveying system which serves two shuttle cars and one vertical conveyor. Each shuttle car serves eight shipping lanes with a buffer of up to 16 pallets per shipping lane and each lane consisting of gravity fed conveyors. Each lane services a batch which is loaded on the dispatch truck.
The vertical conveyor moves the pallets into the second floor above the shipping conveyors. There, the picking locations for the case picking are installed on an area of nearly 1,200 m2. The lift transfers the pallets to a conveying system which serves two shuttle cars. They transfer the pallets to the rear of a double-deep picking lane made of gravity roller conveyors. A total of 53 picking lanes are available. The picking is done using twelve electric pallet movers which serve as mobile picking cars. The employees get picking instructions via WLAN on the integrated pick-terminals of the picking cars. The cases are then picked from the front pallet on pick buffer lanes directly onto the shipping pallets. The logistics software WAMAS not only cares for route-optimized picking, but also considers restrictions for a stable and volume-optimized compilation of the order pallets.
After the case picking is completed, the order pallets are wrapped and labeled. Afterwards they are put on a conveying system that moves them back to the lift. Via the lift, the pallets are returned to the conveying system on the bottom level. According to the specifications of WAMAS, the pre-picked order pallets are forwarded to the transfer positions at the RGV system. Once on the RGV loop, the picked pallets can be sent to the warehouse storage where they are buffered for order consolidation or they can be sent back to the pallet conveyor dispatch lane area. WAMAS calculates and controls the sequenced supply according to the order.
“With the electric rail guided vehicle system we can use the same system component for all storages and retrievals,” summarizes Dung. “No cross traffic, but efficient processes." This is illustrated by the throughput data. Regardless of the complex material flows, 188 pallets per hour can be facilitated in shipping, 147 fully-wrapped pallets and 41 pick pallets. The current production volume of around 2,000 pallets per day is turned over in one shift. “The process-optimizing control by the WMS of SSI Schaefer furthermore reduces our throughput times and has nearly reduced our error rate to zero. The entire solution excellently supports our growth strategy“, explains Dung.