Warehouse automation specialist Movu Robotics (Movu) has installed an atlas pallet shuttle system for logistics service provider Kris De Leeneer (KDL), which it has said holds approximately 45,000 storage locations and has the capacity to handle a throughput of up to 11,000 pallet movements a week.
The automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) was introduced to grow pallet throughout by adding further shuttles to the site, with the system’s modular rack also being extendable to further increase capacity.
The installation marks the robotics company’s first project for a third-party logistics provider and is designed to meet the needs of this market by providing a modular and adaptable system for materials handling.
KDL’s new 10,000m2 distribution centre (DC), opened at the end of 2022, is located in Lokeren, Belgium, with height being used to maximise the site’s storage capacity.
The self-powered robotic carriers move pallets on the rail of a 28m-high atlas rack of ten levels, with a footprint of 60x100m.
What’s more, Movu’s warehouse execution system (WES) manages the shuttle traﬃc within the rack and issues orders from KDL’s Warehouse Management System (WMS).
Movu has also provided an app that allows an authorised operator to control the system from a smart phone.
Next to the atlas system is the DC’s dispatch area and three mezzanine levels, each of which have an area of approximately 2,000m2 and are served by elevators and used for goods processing.
Once goods are brought in and inspected, pallets are placed on the internal transport system. The Movu atlas shuttles deposit and remove pallets via three lifts. KDL’s Warehouse Management System controls the orders for put-away, pallet picking and replenishment.
On the mezzanines, teams perform services such as packaging, labelling and assembling. All pallets, including those for piece picking, are brought in or picked up by the shuttles. The system has 150 pallets per hour going in and the same figure going out, according to Movu.
With a stacker crane-based AS/RS, if one crane is out of action, the pallets in that aisle cannot be reached. This leads to difficulties in reconfiguring facility infrastructure, with a heavy crane also needing more power than typical lightweight shuttles to transport each pallet.
With Movu atlas, however, shuttles can easily be added or removed as demand requires.
The rack is currently 40% occupied, leaving space for KDL to expand the system for new customers. One of the site’s rear walls can be removed to enable an extension to the modular rack and the addition of more shuttles, with the site holding capacity for a potential expansion to 90,000 pallets in the future.
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