Load it, store it, cool it
What do a Belgian supply chain solutions provider, a South African logistics storage specialist and a global mobile temperature-control giant have in common? They’re leading the way in logistics solutions for the food and beverage industry …
Saving six minutes when loading a distribution truck might not sound like much, but, when 50 to 80 vehicles are loaded, per shift, those six minutes turn into great gains in efficiency and savings. This is exactly what Coca-Cola’s Dongen production plant, in the Netherlands, has achieved with the help of supply chain solutions provider, Zetes.
At the plant, 16 forklifts drive back and forth to collect pallets from the conveyor belt and load them into the correct lorry. The scanning process, though, was a challenge. The forklifts were able to load up to three pallets, but were only able to automatically scan two of these.
If a third pallet was picked up, the driver had to get out of the forklift and scan in the third pallet manually with his handheld scanner. This resulted in time loss and dangerous working conditions.
Zetes equipped each forklift with three moveable, robust scanners and sensors. The scanners are able to read the labels on the pallets while being driven up to them. The forklift driver then gets a message with the number of the vehicle onto which the pallets must be loaded.
With this new system, one type of forklift can carry up to three Euro pallets, two block pallets, or 12 dollies. All data is automatically forwarded to the Coca-Cola SAP system as well, using the application developed by Zetes.
“The scanners can now read the labels regardless of their position to the pallet – the accuracy has improved from 98 to 99,9 percent,” says Kees Kroes, logistics-warehouse-transport manager at Coca-Cola Enterprises Netherlands.
“When picking up three pallets, the driver of the forklift no longer has to get out, in order to manually scan the third pallet. The risk of accidents has, therefore, been reduced to an absolute minimum,” says Kroes.
The sweet smell of citrus storage
Lemons, oranges and grapefruit need to be handled under optimal conditions to preserve their freshness. This is why citrus fruit distributor FPT contracted APC Storage Solutions SA to optimise the operations of its facility in the Durban harbour district.
For six months of the year, in line with the seasonal citrus fruit produce it exports, FPT runs a 24-hour, seven-days a week operation with two cold-storage chambers. For the remaining months, the facility is used to accommodate smaller, diverse stock inventories – each with individual dispatch requirements. APC’s solution thus had to temper the facility’s cold-storage requirements with an ability to quickly and efficiently retrieve each load unit.
The company’s Movirack solution was chosen for the task. Each chamber was equipped with seven mobile racks, which are over eight meters high and eight back-to-back bays deep, to accommodate over 1 200 pallets.
“Movirack was the most suitable storage solution for the FPT warehouse, as it offers maximised pallet density, while retaining direct access to each stowed pallet; thus allowing immediate retrieval and the facility to accommodate diverse secondary stock inventories when it’s not storing fruit,” explains Ettienne Meyburgh, general manager – KwaZulu-Natal, APC Storage Solutions SA.
To accommodate the Movirack system, structural modifications were made to configure the warehouse for mobile cold storage down to 0°C. APC also installed a new reinforced sub-base and strip footing system, incorporating the Movirack embedded rail system and a new FM2 super-hardened floor to handle the stresses of cold storage applications and the harsh movements of material-handling equipment.
Moving stock the cool, ecological way
Moving products efficiently and storing them correctly are critical to a good warehouse operation, but what about moving them to their destination with as little impact to the environment as possible?
Thermo King – a division of Ingersoll Rand – has taken this to heart. Since January 1, its trailer and self- and vehicle-powered refrigeration units have been available with the next-generation, lower global-warming potential (GWP) refrigerant as standard.
The new Chemours Opteon XP44 (R-452A) refrigerant has about a 50-percent lower GWP value than the refrigerant it replaces.
“Thermo King is committed to delivering climate-friendly temperature-control solutions,” says Karin de Bondt, vice president and general manager for truck, trailer and bus at Thermo King in Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Every new truck and trailer unit will be high performance and feature R-452A and, in addition to new units, our customers can opt to retrofit this solution in existing systems.”
The implementation of R-452A refrigerant follows the first anniversary of the climate commitment made by Ingersoll Rand in September 2014. It contributes to the EcoWise portfolio of products designed to lower environmental impact and improve efficiency with next-generation, low GWP refrigerants.
The climate commitment includes reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to Ingersoll Rand’s operations by approximately 35 percent by 2020; reducing GHG emissions related to its products by 50 percent by 2020; and investing US$ 500 million (R8,3 billion) in product-related research and development over the next five years to fund the long-term reduction of GHG emissions.
In the first year, the company’s commitment led to the avoidance of about 1,5-million metric tonnes of CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to the CO2 emissions from burning more than 725 747 t of coal and the electricity use of more than 200 000 homes for one year. By 2030, the company expects to reduce its carbon footprint by 50-million tonnes.
R-452A is available locally through the GEA Refrigeration Africa network. The company is also able to assist with an expert assessment of the impact of the legislation on a refrigerated transport operation, as well as to actively reduce the environmental impact of a fleet.