Frischdienst Walther invests in automated dry, cold and deep-freeze warehouse

Nuremberg/Kitzingen (03/2020) – With the automated storage and shuttle technology of Klinkhammer, food reaches Franconian kitchens even faster.

Promise of freshness to restaurants, hotels and large-scale consumers
With its wide range of fresh and frozen products as well as food, Frischdienst Walther located in Kitzingen is one of the well-known wholesale distributors of Franconia. The company, which is run by Mr. Friedrich Walther in the 4th generation, delivers more than 8,500 articles to Franconian restaurants and hotels, supplying everything they need as a culinary host, from the bratwurst to the Franconian dumpling to freshly caught fish, from innovative products to domestic delicacies.

To keep the promise „ordered today until 18 o’clock, everything freshly delivered tomorrow“ in the future as well, the innovative family-owned company automates its dry and cold storage together with the intralogistics specialist Klinkhammer and doubles the size of its automated deep-freeze warehouse. The challenge: The technology will cover three different temperature ranges and three different flows of goods. The reason for the automation was the steady growth, the extension of the product range and the increase in the order volume. The Klinkhammer shuttle warehouse will increase the throughput in the cold storage and thus significantly decrease the handling costs per article. 

Three automated warehouses in three climate zones
The automated deep-freeze warehouse with a temperature of -22°C, which was completed in 2016, is now being extended by an additional building to provide a total of 19,680 tray storage locations in the future. The new automated fresh goods warehouse with a temperature range of 2°C up to 6°C will be equipped as a high performance shuttle warehouse with three KlinCAT multilevel shuttles. The dry goods warehouse for the storage of food, which will have no climate control, is planned as a 2-aisle automated small parts warehouse for B, C and D articles. Due to the diverse packaging designs, trays will be used as loading aids in all three storage areas. The separation of the goods from pallets to trays enables flexible and easy handling of orders with small lot sizes and mixed product range. The articles are made available for order picking at the respective work stations in all three temperature zones via goods-to-man system. „We have chosen Klinkhammer because we can already look back to a very good and trusting cooperation in the first automatization project“, emphasizes Friedrich Walther, managing director of GV-Frischdienst Walther GmbH. „The high storage density of automated warehouses saves storage space, substantially reducing the need for climate control, i.e. refrigeration, and thus also reducing power consumption significantly. A further decisive advantage is the precision and speed as well as the path optimization in the storage and order picking processes.“

High-performance multilevel shuttle warehouse for fresh goods 
The delivery to the customers in less than 24 hours requires highly flexible and rapid order processing. Therefore, the temperature-controlled fresh goods warehouse is equipped with three superimposed KlinkCAT multilevel shuttles, each reaching six tray levels. The shuttle warehouse is characterized by a compact design and a low weight and offers a higher throughput than the automated dry goods warehouse equipped with conventional storage and retrieval cranes. In comparison with the automated small parts warehouse, the shuttle warehouse provides 30% more performance despite half the space requirement. Especially for fast-moving fresh goods such as fresh milk products, cheese specialties and fresh meat, this solution helps to accelerate the internal material flow. Further advantages are an innovative energy-efficient drive concept and low investment and maintenance costs. Since there is a separate aisle access on each of the three levels, the other levels can continue to operate during maintenance work. 

Pre-picking accelerates the flow of goods
The shuttle warehouse also serves as order consolidation buffer. Pre-picked orders are temporarily stored for shipping to consolidate them with goods from other storage areas at a later time. This significantly accelerates order processing and decouples the processes. The pre-picked order trays are stored in the bottom levels of the KlinCAT. Thus, it is ensured that the trays are stored in close proximity and the paths during retrieval of the goods are as short as possible. Fast-moving articles, which are not managed in the automated storage areas, are picked by the employees directly from the pallet storage onto rolling containers using pick-by-voice. Subsequently, the B, C and D articles are consolidated with the goods already picked in the shipping area of the automated storage. As the goods remain in the temperature-controlled area from that time on, uninterrupted temperature-controlled storage is guaranteed.

Conveyors connect storage areas for fresh and dry goods
The dry goods warehouse, planned as a 2-aisle automated small-parts warehouse, does not require any climate control. In order to avoid a complex sprinkler system or inertisation, a maximum height of the highest storage level of 7.60 m is also taken into account here. The pre-zone circulation of the fresh and dry goods warehouse connects the storage and retrieval conveyors to the order picking workstations in the cooled logistics area. The order picking workstations are supplied by two feeding conveyors and are equipped with a separate discharge conveyor, thus enabling the return of opened trays and the storage of stacked empty trays besides storing the goods. The weight, height and barcode are verified at the discharge conveyor. The workstations are equipped with an all-side roller table ensuring ergonomic handling of the trays and with multi-order work tables for the order trays.

Minimum cooling loss due to high-density deep-freeze storage
The tray warehouse featuring 2 aisles with 9,120 storage locations was put into operation in 2016 and provides almost fully automated deep-freeze logistics. Due to the extension by 10,560 tray storage locations, the planned product range extension can be realized and processes can be further optimized. An automated conveyor loop and an ergonomically designed deep-freeze order picking workstation with two monitors is connected to the storage. Thus, the new deep-freeze conveyors and another order picking workstation are connected to the existing system in a way that shortest possible distances are ensured and the cooling loss as well as the introduction of heat and humidity are kept at a minimum level. Retrievals are performed precisely in the sequence in which the frozen articles are to be picked and packed per order. Thereby, batches and best-before-dates are taken into consideration. 

The Klinkhammer warehouse management software is extended by the management of the dry and fresh goods warehouse and connected to the existing host system. Now, the actual net weights of weighed goods, such as legs of venison with different individual weights, can be recorded. For this purpose, barcodes on the goods indicating net weights are scanned and summarized. The material flow control of Klinkhammer manages the transport of the trays and the storage locations. The visualization system KlinkVISION offers transparency in the warehouse and enables fast remote maintenance. The plant is scheduled to be put into operation in spring 2020.

Data and facts

  •  Automated, 2-aisle small-parts warehouse for dry goods with 9,728 tray storage locations
  •  Multilevel shuttle warehouse KlinCAT for fresh goods for 3 levels with 4,608 tray storage locations
  •  Automated deep-freeze warehouse with a total of 19,680 tray storage locations
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