Individual projects » Intralogistics Flowpicker®

THE FLOWPICKER®

A new idea for fruit & vegetable commissioning

Individual projects » Intralogistics Flowpicker®

The retail chain Kaufland was looking for a solution to be able to supply approximately 650 German branches faster and more efficiently with fresh fruit and vegetables. In return, the material flow experts from BSS and other partners of the ROFA Group jointly developed a patented system.

very day, Kaufland is faced with the task of supplying its stores all over Germany with fresh fruit and vegetables on a just-in-time basis. Time is the critical factor: the goods must reach the shops fresh and crisp in the desired quantity in order to encourage customers to buy. The boxes and crates reach the regional distribution centers, homogenized on pallets, and have to be quickly depalletized, sorted, and palletized according to branch order, in a very short time. The Flowpicker® high-performance order picking system can handle a unique amount of “boxes” (plastic containers or cartons) per hour in the competitive environment. Up to 7,500 units are possible. The new system scores not only in terms of performance. It also provides significant improvements in terms of ergonomics and thus comfort for the employees. Where previously incoming goods were depalletized manually, now it’s sufficient to simply move the incoming pallets on the cross-belt sorter. No more lifting, carrying, and tedious stooping, which constitutes an enormous burden for the warehouse staff in the long run.

A DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP AT EYE LEVEL

The patented Flowpicker® technique is a prime example of a development partnership between customer and ROFA Group. Before the distribution center in Möckmühl was equipped with the innovative picking system, there were extensive tests and optimization loops in a purpose-built pilot plant. In addition to the material flow expert and general contractor BSS, the ROFA Group also involved DLS (Dynamic Logistic Systems) and ROFA AG, who provided the powered pallet conveyors at goods receipt. The centerpiece of the Flowpicker® is a flow channel storage with around 720 roller conveyors, on which the incoming goods are temporarily stored before being transported to the semi-automatic or fully automatic palletizing stations. The flow of goods follows a sophisticated logic, for which the BSS material flow system is responsible. This ensures that all goods leave the interim storage facility within a specified time window and are bundled into branch-specific pallets ready for transport.

ROLL-OUT OVER ALL SITES

The Flowpicker® is now in use in a total of four of Kaufland’s distribution centers. A comprehensive supply of all branches in Germany with the high-performance system will soon be a reality. In the future, the patented high-performance order picker could also be used for other areas. "The flower trade, beverage logistics, DIY stores, carton picking – all these are environments in which the Flowpicker can prove its strengths," says BSS sales representative Wolfgang Krenmüller.

SHOW CASE

Customer: Kaufland
Project: High-performance picking in distribution centers

Involved companies:

  • BSS Bohnenberg GmbH (general contractor, controller, material flow computer)
  • DLS B.V.  (Order Release Module)
  • ROFA AG (powered pallet conveyors)


Project duration from start:
since 2011

SYSTEMS & PERFORMANCE

Type: automated commissioning system for fruit and vegetables
Performance: up to 8,000 boxes per hour storage and same performance in retrieval, sequently sorted
Length: approx. 15 km container conveying technology
Type: pallet conveyors
Performance: up to 180 paletts/h

Others:

  • PPC with 14 vehicles, performance up to 300 pallets/h
  • 6 fully automated destacking machines
  • 1 pallet wrapping unit
  • 6 fully automated stacking machines
  • 3 semi automated palletizing stations
  • 2 semi automated depalletizing stations
  • Fully automated incoming goods buffer with 150 duplicities/h