The Hybrid-Intermediate-Storage-Solution is used for the interim storage of semi-finished goods and makes full use of the hall height, saving space and creating new pallet rack positions. Conveyor systems, conventional transfer cars and off-floor storage and retrieval machines (SRMs) form a complete system in a customised rack layout.
A quick look inside the halls of many corrugated cardboard manufacturers is enough to understand the challenges are faced with: different corrugated cardboard formats as far as the eye can reach, metres-long blue conveyor belts, and little space. The corrugated cardboard stacks are often bulky and occupy a lot of space. If put into interim storage as semi-finished goods for further processing in-house, they are usually transported on large-scale buffer conveyors which are usually spread across a maximum of two storage levels.
Combining large-scale buffer conveyors with tried-and-tested warehouse logistics technology produces a cost-effective solution for the automated interim storage of semi-finished goods. Storage system manufacturer Westfalia and corrugated cardboard conveyor technology specialist Dücker co-operate in such projects.
Depending on the project and available hall height, additional levels can be added for a high-density storage design with racks above some or all conveyor belts. With such optimal use of space, maximum storage capacity can be achieved as required for stacks of corrugated cardboard in an existing or new hall.
The technology of Westfalia’s off-floor storage and retrieval machine Aviator® forms the conceptual basis for the Hybrid-Intermediate-Storage-System. This winning combination is only made possible thanks to the Aviator®, which, not requiring travel rails on the floor, is both off-floor and flexible. It operates at the topmost rack level, accessing all levels from there as well as the buffer conveyors in the lowest high-density storage level integrated into the warehouse.
Ropes lift and lower the load handling device within the aisle. Smart automation technology directs the load handling device to the compartments in a highly precise manner.
The Aviator® uses several Satellites® to pick up and drop off the stacks of corrugated cardboard. Since different formats may have to be stored together, there must be the option of flexible arrangements. The Aviator® uses its satellites to map these arrangements, storing several cardboard stacks next to and behind one another in any number of different arrangements.
When new semi-finished goods come out of the corrugator, a transfer car built by conveyor technology specialist Dücker places them in interim storage. A second transfer car and the off-floor Aviator® work together inside the warehouse and share the aisle. The transfer car on the lowest level ensures timely throughput for most of the semi-finished goods and handles goods distribution. However, a small proportion of the goods produced cannot or should not be processed yet. The Aviator® then stores these in the newly created high-bay storage system, providing a fully automated and compact solution. A third transfer car distributes the goods to the finishing lines at the other end of the storage system.
In another practical scenario, the blue-belt conveyors at the lowest level can be continued through the aisle, dispensing with the transfer car in the middle. Only a few “landing zones” serving as receiving and delivery points for the Aviator® are kept to ensure system flexibility.
In a Hybrid-Intermediate-Storage-Solution, both systems can also work separately within the respective application and are not necessarily interdependent. Should one of them suffer an outage, however, the other system can then take over all or some of its tasks, depending on the system design, and ensure downstream processes are still supplied.