Nuremberg - The Klinkhammer Group has built an automated deep freeze warehouse for temperatures down to -22°C for the company Frischdienst Walther, a food delivery wholesaler located in Kitzingen, supplying restaurants, hotels and large-scale consumers. Thanks to the tray technology used, it is now possible to store a wide variety of different package sizes in a cost-effective manner. The focus is on short distances, a minimum cooling loss and significant increase of efficiency in the warehouse through automation.
Restaurants and large-scale consumers rely on the competence of Frischdienst Walther who supplies more than 7,800 articles for the preparation of menus. More than 100 years of success as family-owned company - this is only possible with the respective dedication and passion for what you are doing. Following the motto: "Being your expert in frozen food who speaks your language and ensures that you bring the quality to the table which your guests expect from you" the company Frischdienst Walther guarantees highest reliability during order picking of the goods ordered thanks to the technical support provided by the "Pick-by-Voice" technology. By means of the electronic routing and scheduling system and thanks to the own vehicle fleet equipped with two-chamber cooling systems, delivery deadlines and cold chains are fully complied with.
Tray technology ensures flexibility for package sizes
Given the rapidly growing need for deep-freeze products, Frischdienst Walther decided to automate its processes in the deep-freeze warehouse by contracting Klinkhammer. "Our aim was to considerably increase the capacity, speed, efficiency and flexibility while at the same time making optimum use of space" outlines Friedrich Walther, Managing Director of Frischdienst Walther. "The orders of our customers from restaurants are often placed at very short notice and more than 95% of them are delivered within 24 hours." For the just-in-time delivery to its customers Frischdienst Walther may now benefit from a modern, automated high-bay warehouse featuring two aisles, providing 9,120 tray storage locations. The throughput amounts to up to 150 storage and retrieval actions per hour. The specialists of Klinkhammer use trays as loading/storage aids as these trays offer highest possible flexibility during the storage process of packaging units of different size and height.
Energy efficiency and a minimum loss of cooling in the deep-freeze warehouse
The order picking workstations, which are connected by means of a conveyor loop in the pre-zone of the automated deep-freeze warehouse, guarantee an ergonomic handling of the trays. The maximum height of the small parts warehouse totals to 7.60 m to fully comply with the statutory fire protection requirements. Thanks to this height limitation it was possible to avoid the installation of complex and costly sprinkler systems or the inertisation of the warehouse. All warehouse sections and functional areas are linked such to ensure shortest possible distances and such that the loss of cooling as well as the introduction of heat and humidity is kept at a minimum level. The machines and systems have been designed to best fit the requirements in deep-freeze stores. Deep-freeze suitable technical components such as special drives, control cabinet heaters, appropriate photoelectric barriers and sensors as well as temperature-resistant plastics guarantee high system reliability even at temperatures of minus 22°C. To ensure high energy efficiency, the power requirements of the system were harmonized with the power requirements of the air conditioning to compensate power peaks in current consumption.
Linking the Klinkhammer Warehouse Management Software to the ERP system
The Klinkhammer Warehouse Management System, including the material flow computer, is linked to the already existing ERP system via interfaces. Beyond the incoming goods and order picking process, the warehouse management system also controls the flow of materials and the storage and retrieval actions of the products which are allocated to a storage location depending on the product group, best-before date and batch number. The Klinkhammer material flow computer is responsible for the transport of the trays and the management of the storage locations. The warehouse management system is in charge of managing the respective stocks on the trays whereas quantity changes are controlled by the higher-level host system. To get a better overview of the storage locations available, the warehouse management system displays the availability based on height classes. Special sequencing algorithms allow strict adherence to the order and position sequence taking into account batches and best-before dates. For identifying the goods to be stored in the warehouse, the trays are labeled/marked with unique, machine-readable bar codes at two positions.
Saving time thanks to automated receipt
Following notification, the user places the frozen products on an empty tray for automatic receipt. While this tray is identified and weighed at the conveyor system scanner, the weight determined by the scales is compared to the calculated weight of the quantity received. If the weight is within the tolerance range, the tray is automatically stored in the deep-freeze warehouse. Product-specific units with different individual weight, as this is the case, for example, for a leg of venison, can be represented in the warehouse management system by entering the weight manually. After that, the ERP system receives a feedback reporting on the sum per position including time stamp. Thanks to automating the warehouse, it was possible to achieve a significant efficiency increase when handling different package sizes and weights.