Strategic and technological innovation through a cutting-edge warehouse

30 November 2016

Diamond Phoenix will be on Stand 341 at IntraLogisteX 2017

The Havan group has demonstrated how the strategic use of the latest automation solutions has enabled them to consolidate its working methods and refine the quality of service offered in the Brazilian market.

Generally in warehouse management and infrastructure design you cannot define a solution to solve all the various issues. A mix that is suitable for all the different types of items handled is more convenient and efficient to use, but less able to meet customer specific needs. The case presented highlights how different load units and several streams can be managed from a single automated warehouse.

The Havan group is considered the largest network of department stores in Brazil with over 100,000 products available for customers. In recent years there have been more than 1,000 jobs created in the south of the country with over ₤16 million invested in new plant. In this way, the network now reaches 21 branches in two States and the milestone of 4,000 direct jobs.

In support of the 50 existing stores, Havan Group set up a new distribution center with the adoption of technological solutions that now represents one of the most modern & innovative logistics centers in Brazil. Crucial, was the collaboration with Cassioli, specialist provider of automated solutions in manufacturing and distribution environments. As in all cases, the first realization phase was formed from the analysis of Havan operating processes taking into account all the details of the establishment. At the end of this phase we proposed design alternatives consistent with the techno-economic objectives of the company. In this phase, the experience and professionalism of the designers and suppliers of technologies and solutions was crucial.
The Warehouse
The warehousing objective of this ambitious project, is to create a real centre of distribution in which it conducts the business of storing of goods, preparation of customer orders and packaging for shipment. The products are stored on both pallets and in plastic containers of various sizes. The warehouse is self-supporting (rack clad) and the average total quantity in stock is represented by approximately 25,000 pallets and 2,000 containers.
The whole system is designed in such a way as to meet the requirements relating to the potential level of goods received and the requirement’s to handle them.

Another constraint that had to be met was the volume of storage required and to contain the overall costs (this required a balance between the number of stacker cranes, number of cells in the horizontal and number of cells in height). Since the design of the automated storage is based on the technology of the stacker crane, this determines not only the inbound potential but also the subsequent handling potential, it is necessary that the performance offered by the system matches as far as possible the flow value of load units in transit through the warehouse (design flow). This flow value considers the likely evolution over time of the stock role within the Distribution Centre of Havan including any peak events in the distribution of flows.

The system is dimensioned to handle every day, in 24 hours, about 10,000 units including pallets and plastic containers. Each unit load introduced to the automated storage and retrieval system comes from external suppliers (which constitute about 60% of the input flow) or from the picking area (flow equivalent to about 40% of the total input.). The system, of course, is configured in such a way that the load units’ output from the warehouse have as a destination, the manual pick area or direct outputs which are dedicated to items intended for larger stores of the group. The automatic identification system for load units is by RFID technology.

The warehouse consists of 5No. pallet stacker cranes, each 32 meters high and designed to store pallets in a double deep configuration. Additionally, there is 1No. stacker crane of the same height for miniload use (Plastic totes). The dynamics of the stacker cranes performance (speed, acceleration, positioning times and forks cycle), together with the geometrical configuration of the racks are not, of course, the only variables to affect the handling potential of the system in question. The new warehouse management system “CASSIOLI Logis” with its control module “iControl”, are particularly effective in these contexts, where the locations are not characterized by the same frequency of access. The system provides for the allocation of the unit load according to a formula for apportioning of such areas dedicated storage space.
The optimal division of shelving in dedicated areas is obtained dynamically based on the analysis of the index of access for different classes of products. In this way, also considering the evolution of the range of sku’s, the system places products with the greatest access index in the most accessible areas. As for the physical allocation of the unit load and the matching criteria of the storage retrieval operations for combined cycles, CASSIOLI relies on simulation models developed internally by their R & D function. The simulation has allowed the making of predictions and appropriate operational policies that have resulted in reductions of the times of cycle variables and, depending on the case, these may even reach 25% – 35%. Cassioli’s approach in simulation was particularly appreciated by Havan who gained the opportunity to assess in advance the impact of certain choices in terms of lead times, production capacity, inventories and sizing technology choices.

The stacker cranes, in addition to employing the latest generation of the three-phase technology, are equipped with efficient systems for the recovery of energy: in the deceleration phase, the kinetic energy accumulated by the machine is converted into electrical energy exploitable by the same machine motors, other stacker cranes or by feeding to the mains. From this perspective, Havan qualifies as a modern business, sensitive to environmental impact and energy saving.

The costs relating to the automated warehouse system require a precise design of both mechanical and control system capable of maximizing the potential of the solution. The management by Logis of CASSIOLI provides optimization of operations through:

• Physical Allocation of pallets by index access. The Map Manager module implements the monitoring functions of the map by upgrading the stock to every deposit and withdrawal operation.
• Breakdown of marketing missions or levy on different groups of stacker cranes. As regards the input stream, the stock is fed by the loading unit coming directly from receipt of goods or from the picking area. In the latter area operators proceed to the sales order preparation by utilising the CASSIOLI Pick to Light system.
As for the stock from the output stream, the Havan Host system passes to the CASSIOLI management software the Playlists Execution, to which are associated two types of load: Complete Orders (for any other of the group sorting centers) or for picking. In the event that any article is present in different cells of storage, FIFO rules are applied.
• Management of combined cycles. The use of combined cycles (storage and retrieval in the same mission) as against single cycles, may also consistently reduce operating times. At Havan, the Order Manager module of CASSIOLI allows changes to the sequence of picking lists so as to identify the opportunity for combined cycles to minimize the time of transfer between input cells and picking cells.
The feed lines.

As regards the requirement for picking, CASSIOLI has provided 16 islands served in parallel by a system of motorised “SLS” shuttles (Shuttle Loop System). The line also manages the direct outputs and the input/output flow from the warehouse (or replenishment withdrawals requested from picking). The shuttle solution avoids generating the phenomenon of “queues”, fundamentally linked to an imbalance between the duration of operations that follow one another. The SLS system consists of a transport unit equipped with an independent drive. The maximum speed reached by each mobile unit is up to 300 m/min (5.0 m/s), with an acceleration of 2 m/s2. The benefits of a SLS system are not only limited to a greater handling capacity of the unit load or to the flexibility offered by raised walks.
The SLS devices are also of interest with regard to the profile of total costs. In comparison to the classical transport solutions of pallet roller & chain conveyor, the SLS system has a particularly low level of components. The electricity consumption is also lower, just consider the energy consumption of a single drive unit (the shuttle), with the number of motors necessary for the transfer of goods along a classic conveyor, especially where it is not uncommon to have configurations that connect operational areas located  hundreds of meters away.

The main appeal of the SLS shuttle system is definitely the dynamic balance of the operational areas involved in the handling system: the tasks assigned to individual work-stations can be automatically changed by the system based on the performance of individual stations without interfering with the overall handling capacity of the line.

Diamond Phoenix Automation are sole agents for Cassioli in the UK & Eire.