Westfalia automates deep-freeze high-bay warehouse in Rotterdam
Kloosterboer's Cool Port 2 with 60,000 rack positions starts in January 2022
With more than 4,700,000 sqm of cooling and deep freezing capacity, Kloosterboer is a leading logistics service provider for temperature-controlled food products in Western Europe. The specialist for warehousing, chartering, logistics, customs clearance and IT-based logistics solutions with more than 950 employees at several locations continues to expand his international network.
The latest state-of-the-art automated deep-freeze high-bay warehouse will be commissioned in January 2022. With Cool Port 2 at City Terminal Rotterdam, Kloosterboer will initially serve the key customer Lamb Weston/Meijer, one of the largest manufacturers of frozen potato products. The logistics service provider handles the export of goods produced at the customer’s production sites in the Netherlands via the port of Rotterdam. In future, these goods will also be delivered to Cool Port 2, loaded onto containers, and transported to the container terminals on the Maasvlakte by barge.
With hundreds of pallets per hour and a high-performance sequencing buffer, the handling rate in Cool Port 2 is as impressive as the dimensions of the plant. The 6-aisle fully automated deep-freeze high-bay warehouse is 69 meters long, 139 meters wide, 41 meters high and comprises 60,000 rack positions. 4,100 tonnes of steel have been integrated in the high-density storage system built as a self-supporting silo structure between autumn 2020 and summer 2021. Starting in June, the company Westfalia which planned this warehouse will contribute its intralogistics technology and automate a daily throughput of thousands of pallets. The intralogistics specialist produces and installs a total of six storage and retrieval machines as well as conveyor technology including a PLC control system. Westfalia manufactures the SRMs and conveyor units at the company headquarters in Borgholzhausen in East Westphalia, plans and programs the control system and keeps the supply chains short and stable this way.
“We are implementing a tailor-made, efficient and highly available logistics system on just less than one hectare in the port of Rotterdam. The pallets are delivered by self-unloading or conventional lorries and automatically travel from the dispatch hall to the deep-freeze high-bay warehouse via roller conveyors, turntables and locks,” explains John van Dijk, project manager in charge at Westfalia. Sensors check the contours of the loaded EUR and industrial pallets and sort out faulty or damaged load carriers at an early stage. This optimizes the reliability of the system.
In the high-performance deep-freeze warehouse SRMs take charge of the storage and retrieval of hundreds of heavily loaded pallets every hour at temperatures as low as -25° C. The general contractor for intralogistics designed its patented Satellite® load handling device specifically for multi-deep storage and has been developing it further over decades. Each STM stores pallets in multi-deep rows on both sides. For servicing purposes, these channels can be connected.
Usually, Euro and industrial pallets bend when heavily loaded, and the quality can vary significantly. The Satellite® load handling device which is unique in the world accesses profiles that support and protect the pallets. This design considerably increases their service life and prevents load carriers from jamming and blocking the system. The sequencing buffer supports the enormous throughput.
Compact storage and high capacity with a tremendous loading speed
“The warehouse layout is tailored to the needs of our client,” explains van Dijk. “Kloosterboer has complete control over the material flow. This level of transparency is an outstanding benefit for the Kloosterboer customers. Based on the order recorded in the system, the goods are taken from the warehouse and transported to the super-fast intermediate storage by means of conveyor technology. From there they are conveyed to the shipping zone and staged in the exact order in which they are to be loaded into the lorries at the docks.”
“The SRMs retrieve the unsorted goods using the line in a highly efficient manner. Only when in the buffer storage, the goods are sequenced suitably for the containers,” says Thomas Schoch, International Sales at Westfalia, describing the high-performance system. “Channel storage and high-performance loading buffer systems combine compact storage and capacity with a tremendous loading speed. They make a perfect match.”
With its energy-efficient, economical satellite and sequencing buffer technology and state-of-the-art freezer components Westfalia contributes to a flagship of the industry: The deep-freeze high-bay warehouse is about 35 to 45% more energy-efficient than a conventional deep-freeze warehouse. The building is currently being constructed in accordance with BREEAM requirements and designed to support the weight of up to 2,700 solar panels for energy self-sufficiency, if required.
The technological advantages of the intralogistics specialist and long-standing Kloosterboer partner are already proving their worth in three joint logistics projects. In 2018, the general contractor had already been assigned with building the Kloosterboer deep-freeze warehouse in Lelystad, a top modern deep-freeze high-bay warehouse for the launch customer McCain. Westfalia planned and technologically implemented the deep-freeze channel storage system in the Kloosterboer Delta Terminal Rotterdam Maasvlakte and in the French town of Harnes in 2003 and 2010. Further projects with Kloosterboer are in the pipeline for the time after completion of Cool Port 2.
On the software side, new and legacy plants were consolidated into Westfalia’s current Savanna.NET® Warehouse Execution System (WES), which will also handle the complete warehouse management and material flow control in Cool Port 2. As an all-in-one software solution, it combines comprehensive functions of warehouse management software and warehouse control software. Despite the limitations imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the warehouse at the Delta Terminal switched to the new WES on time in December 2020, and Westfalia commissioned it remotely from Borgholzhausen.
“The Warehouse Execution System is a customized interface for Kloosterboer's customers while at the same time offering maximum transparency of the company’s own logistics services,” explains Thomas Schoch. “By upgrading all automated Kloosterboer deep-freeze warehouse systems to the state of the art we effectively connected the systems. Processes defined for one of the warehouse systems can thus be implemented more quickly for the other systems controlled by Savanna.NET®.”
“The deep-freeze high-bay warehouse Cool Port 2 offers our customers a strategic location for multi-modal transport,” says Nicolas Robin, Operational Project & Implementation Manager at Kloosterboer, describing he project goals of the Dutch logistics service provider. “With the automated deep-freeze high-bay warehouse we intend to optimize the efficiency of our warehouse around the clock and offer our customers a top service level. This system will maximize our efficiency and level of service. Thanks to its high performance, availability and flexibility it enhances our work.”
For Nicolas Robin, the renewed cooperation with Westfalia Logistics Solutions Europe was a clear decision: “For us, Westfalia is a long-standing partner for our automated deep-freeze high-bay warehouses with multi-deep channels, and we already implemented three deep-freeze high-density storage systems together using their proven solutions. Westfalia’s solutions and approach meet our high standards and requirements,” says Nicolas Robin. “At the same time, our companies have jointly increased their competencies and further improved their standards through this cooperation. We work closely together in assigned project teams. A team of IT specialists and a project manager at Westfalia are intensively dedicated to the Kloosterboer projects. They are highly familiar with our requirements and processes. This helps tremendously in ensuring the success of the projects.”
The trusting cooperation has proven its worth, particularly in times of travel restrictions, says the operational manager. The perfect example of this, he informed us, was “the conversion of the Warehouse Execution System at the Kloosterboer Delta Terminal under the constraints imposed by COVID-19 in December 2020: Testing and commissioning of the software was successfully performed by Westfalia remotely from Germany and by the Kloosterboer team on site at the location.”
Facts & figures: The Cool Port 2 deep-freeze high-bay warehouse
- Customer name: Kloosterboer B.V.
- Industry: food products
- Industry: temperature-controlled logistics services
- Storage, chartering, logistics, customs clearance and IT-based logistics solutions for: temperature-controlled food products
- Warehouse site: City Terminal Rotterdam
- Service provided by Westfalia: general contractor for the entire storage system technology
- Year of construction: 2021
- Implementation period: July 2020 to January 2022
- Warehouse type: multi-deep
- Storage temperature: up to -25°C (deep-freeze warehouse)
- Warehouse dimensions: 69 x 139 x 41 (LxWxH, in meters)
- Rack positions: 60,000
- Loading devices: wooden pallets
- Storage and retrieval machines: 6 up to 38 m
- Load handling devices: Satellite®
- Software: Savanna.NET®
- Customer requirements:
An automated location providing sustainable and innovative logistics services for conditioned food offering significant operational and economic performance improvements for its B2B customers.
Consolidation and automation of deep-freeze warehouses at the logistically highly attractive container handling facility in the port of Rotterdam as well as fully automated sustainable storage capacity and throughput using state-of-the-art technology.
- Special features:
High-capacity loading buffer ideally complements compact storage and capacity with enormous loading speed, precisely in sequence!
Top performance for logistics customers, tailored to the individual requirements of temperature-controlled food logistics.
Highest transparency and complete control of the material flow through interface for the customers of the frozen food logistics service provider.
- Special features of overall project:
Delivered on time despite COVID-19 limitations thanks to in-house development, manufacturing, assembly and service staff.