EROSKI’S new automated system is unlike any other in Europe
The new platform is a great step forward in terms of making the internal processes more efficient. It allows the shops to give the services they need to provide and these benefits are passed on to the customers.
With this innovative plant, which incorporates the latest technologies developed by ULMA, EROSKI is transforming its logistic system into a more efficient and sustainable model, as it reinvents the methods in which the product orders for its shops are produced. This puts the platform amongst the top ten most innovative platforms in Europe, and it is also the first that can automatically prepare bottle orders, thanks to its cutting-edge technology. Likewise, thanks to the new installation, 70% of the loads and 50% of the volume no longer have to be carried/handled manually by the employees, making better use of their working time, and with logistical cost savings which can be passed on to customers.
This part of the system is used for the incoming products that EROSKI buys from its suppliers. It consists of 14 docks, where the 4,000 pallets that arrive at the platform every day are unloaded; 70% of these no longer require practically any reception control.
Thanks to automation, the space occupied by the loading docks has been reduced by 40%, as the pallets can now be stored directly as and when they are unloaded from the transporting vehicle.
The platform has a storage capacity of 35,000 pallets, distributed in two automatic silos and conventional warehouse shelves. The storage area has ten stackers, which move 400 pallets per hour. The control station, which has more than 100 cameras, monitors the whole automated installation to provide a direct image of what is happening.
132,000 boxes are prepared every day. With the automated system, 50% of total production is automated.
The system has been fully designed and developed by ULMA Handling Systems.
Its advanced technology, inspired by the Japanese high-speed rail system, allows the sorter to move over large distances within the platform at a speed of 2m/second, so that it is continuously moving, yet it hardly makes any noise. Its capacity is 10,000 boxes/hour.
The latest-generation FSS automatic storage system developed by ULMA has seventeen height levels and the boxes that have been removed from the pallets are stored before the WMS carries out the calculations for initiating the palletisation process. Its capacity is 265 trays/hour.
From this area, the boxes are moved to the sequencer, following an optimised order based on the characteristics of the products themselves (weight, size, fragility, etc.) and the replacement requirements of each establishment. Its capacity is 550 trays/hour.
Once the orders have been put in the proper sequence, they are palletised. The platform has six automatic palletisers, ROBOT IK PAL. Each one has a production capacity of 665 boxes/hour and arranges the pallet mosaic according to the distribution scheme in each shop, thereby expediting replacement operations and improving workflow in each establishment.
The palletising process is completely automatic, from the replacement of the empty pallet to the placement of the cardboard to facilitate the base and consistency of the products. The platform has six automatic palletising stations, from where EROSKI services more than 350 supermarkets and hypermarkets. The products are placed on the pallet according to the implementation order in each shop to facilitate replacement. The technology was 100% developed in Spain, as a result of the cooperation between EROSKI and ULMA.
Dispatch, Documentation and Transport
EROSKI is already in the process of implementing a project for the automated vertical dispatch of orders, which will conclude the overall physical transformation of its platform.
Throughout its 40-year history, this logistical food platform has undergone numerous changes to become what it is today: one of the most innovative top ten European platforms and the first to palletise bottles automatically.
Half the platform’s production has been automated, reducing by 70% the weight of the boxes that its employees handle each day. The objective was to radically change the production model, toward a model that is more socially sustainable. 80% of the employees of the plant are cooperative partners having worked with the platform for more than 15 years. These people have been re-employed in other positions that are more qualified and better suited to automation.
Another main objective of automating the system was to optimise the production processes and make it more efficient. EROSKI’S logistics are now more competitive, flexible and industrialised, so they guarantee optimal service in shops, reduce logistic costs and, finally, improve the shopping experience of the company’s customers.
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