French company Lesage Prestige (Lesage), which supplies meats and delicatessen products, has implemented Hai Robotics‘ automated case-handling mobile robots (ACRs) to optimise space utilisation, improve site productivity and create a safer working environment at its Chemy facility.
The site currently provides metal and parcel deliveries within a 24-48-hour window, according to Lesage, and is set to be transformed to incorporate an automated storage and picking area.
François Lesage, general manager of Lesage, commented that the move towards automation is a strategic response to space constraints, the need to improve the working environment and improve the facility’s output.
Intensive automation of storage operations within the site’s cold environment is the central goal of the project, with introduction of the robots expected to result in no job losses. The upcoming cold chain facility is expected to operate in temperatures between 0°C and 2°C.
Instead, the two companies have said they hope to ‘refine and advance the current processes’ by providing support to human workers.
ACRs have been introduced to enhance order-picking efficiency and reduce the physical demands on staff, with the accompanying racking system being revamped to five aisles of nearly five-metre-high racks, to allow for a more compact storage solution and lowered energy costs for refrigeration.
As well as order picking, the ACRs will be used to augment the current goods flow by fetching bins from 3,600 locations and conveying them to the Pick by Light stations.
Hai Robotics added that, at peak times, five ACRs will deliver and store 340 bins per hour; to manage morning delivery surges, a buffer system ‘capable of handling up to eight bins simultaneously’ will also be installed.
The solutions will be integrated into Lesage’s existing IT infrastructure to improve the existing ERP system with capabilities such as fleet and inventory management, batch tracking and real-time flow visualisation.
The project’s completion is set for Q1 2024, which would mean an overall completion time of less than 12 months.
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