In addition to its existing logistics location in Leipzig, Apologistics GmbH has put Europe‘s most modern, fully automated logistics center with 20,000 m2 for online pharmacies into operation in Duiven, Netherlands. Apologistics supports its mail-order pharmacies with more than 100,000 products, from the storage and provision of goods to order picking and “same-day” delivery to customers.
Klinkhammer supplies, integrates and digitizes the entire material flow of the automated warehouse, from state-of-the art robot picking technology up to the automated dispatch. More than 400 employees would have to be employed for a comparable, manual distribution center of this size with highest delivery quality. Due to the high degree of automation, Apologistics gets by with a tenth of the workforce.
The modern material flow control and warehouse management software of Klinkhammer are the brain of the system in the logistics center. They optimize the performance of the system and map fully automated processes with a large number of interfaces to automated storage, picking and dispatch systems. Robot piece picking not only increases picking accuracy, but also efficiency, in particular in case of “lot size 1 picking”.
The Sanofi group, headquartered in Paris, is one of the world's leading healthcare suppliers. According to the IMS, Institute for Healthcare Informatics, Sanofi is the fourth-largest pharmaceutical company around the world and has been renowned in the ambitious emerging markets for a long time. In addition to the over-the-counter drugs (OTCs), Sanofi also focuses on solutions for diabetes, vaccines and innovative drugs in therapeutic areas of oncology, thrombosis, cardiovascular diseases, central nervous system and internal medicine.
The expansion of the product portfolio resulted in an increasing need for new conveyor technology solutions allowing to smoothly handle pallets with a weight of up to one ton. At Sanofi's production site in Lüleburgaz/Turkey more than 1,000 euro-pallets daily are moved over the conveyors installed in the incoming goods and shipping department.
The Klinkhammer Group has been awarded the contract by Sanofi, Turkey, to plan and realize the conveyor technology, including two vertical conveyors, one pallet changer as well as the complete control and visualization system. Because of very strict quality specifications and requirements according to GMP in the pharmaceutical sector, pallets have to be changed. The highly performing logistics system by Klinkhammer puts up to 60 pallets per hour from wooden to hygiene pallets or vice versa. Making investments in new conveyor technology had become necessary as additional product lines have complemented the already manifold range of products. At Sanofi, not only liquid and solid pharmaceuticals are manufactured at one site, but also ointments. These three production areas are now connected via a conveyor bridge. The core of the system is a pallet changer featuring a capacity of up to 60 pallets per hour which provides the production areas with raw, auxiliary and operating material. Thanks to the optimized conveyor section, finished goods are transported completely automatically from the productions areas to the central shipping department. Besides the mechanical components, the Klinkhammer Group also realizes the control of the system as well as the visualization and material flow control.
The Advantages for the Customer
The material flow optimization helps to increase the throughput of goods while reducing manual operations. This considerably increases the efficiency of the logistics system.
For more than 50 years, the pharmacist/chemist Walter Bouhon GmbH, Nuremberg, has been active in the development and sale of drugs and skin care products.
The logistics center required for this was built by Klinkhammer and consists of a channel storage including order picking (pick-and-pack) and a dispatch/shipping zone. At the goods receipt, the products delivered are registered and labeled. The goods delivered are collected on several buffer lanes until products have been approved by the Quality Assurance. Following this approval, the stock becomes available and will be stored in the high-bay warehouse.
The minimum stock levels control the replenishment for the order picking zone. The products are retrieved from the channel storage system following the FIFO principle (first-in – first out). This storage technique stands out for its especially high storage density. This storage density can be achieved by multiple-deep storage (up to twelve pallets being stored in a row).
Order picking is done by “picking in stations” with a central initialization point (i-point) where cartons are erected for pick-and-pack operation and placed on transport trays based on the information obtained by the volume calculation. The “picking stations” are equipped with flow racks from which the picker takes the products. At some stations, the fast moving products are picked directly from the pallets. The picking process is controlled via pick-by-light technology after having scanned a transport tray. When picking special articles, a serial number is scanned that ensures unique product identification and completes batch tracing. At the end of the order picking system, you will find a dispatch/shipping zone where packaging and advertising material is added. Here, also special articles are added for special promotion or similar.
In the dispatch area, orders are consolidated and shipping is optimized continuously. Once picking has been completed successfully, the DC21 system returns the order to the Navision System host and to a shipping system. In this way, routing labels, EDI-information and many other, service provider specific information are generated. A manual warehouse, which is operated using manual RF terminals, serves as replenishment store for slow moving items and thus completes the warehousing principle.
Extension in 2 stages of construction during ongoing operation
Fresenius is the global market leader for dialysis therapies and dialysis products such as dialysis machines, dialyzers and related disposables. In Schweinfurt, Germany, dialysis products are manufactured according to highest standards.
Klinkhammer built the component warehouse necessary for this in form of a two-aisle automatic small parts warehouse. The double-deep storage of containers and trays with insert bins guarantees proper storage of a wide range of products. The warehouse was built within 2 stages of construction during ongoing operation.
Automatic storage and retrieval cranes with multiple load handling device ensure a fast and optimized transport as to load changes. The ERP-system by Ordat manages orders and stocks and transfers the transport movements to the material flow computer of the DC21 system. A carriage distributes the storage and retrieval boxes to the stations in the pre-zone of the automatic small parts storage (goods-to-man principle).