The Carton Sortation System is a fully automated carton sorting, storage and retrieval system used by producers who supply many different Stock Keeping Units (sku’s) to their customers. These can sometimes amount to well over 100 unique products.
The size and complexity of the system is dependent on the producer’s requirements and those of their customers.
This case study however, is a real-world example of a facility installed in Europe in 2006 that continues to operate with reliability exceeding 99.9%.
Summary of production:
The producer supplies 87 sku’s to its customers, where:
- 3 sku’s relate to 37% of production (12.3% daily production per sku)
- 2 sku’s relate to 12% of production (6% daily production per sku)
- 9 sku’s relate to 18% of production (2% daily production per sku)
These large volume sku’s exit the primary chilling or freezing systems and proceed directly to palletising.
The remaining 73 sku’s relate to only 33% of production (0.45% daily production per sku). These are the products that proceed to the CSS.
click the link to view: production_diagram.jpg
CSS – How it works:
The minor-grade sku’s arrive randomly at the CSS at the average rate of 9 cartons per minute; each barcode is scanned as it enters to determine where the carton is to be stored.
The carton then enters the Infeed Elevator where it is moved to and discharged into its designated storage location.
For the 73 minor-grade sku’s, the producer nominated a requirement for 120 different storage locations (12 locations wide x 10 locations high), with each location holding 12 cartons providing a total static capacity of 1,440 cartons. This suited the producer’s particular needs as they expected the maximum time that any carton would be required to be stored before being palletised to be 160 minutes (on average).
Through the CSS control system, each storage location can be assigned to a particular sku – however it is important to note that:
- The producer did not produce every sku on any given production day
- They required the ability to allocate more than one storage location to a particular sku depending on the throughput of that product
- The number of storage locations actually used on any given production day varies to suit the mix of production and the customer requirements for the production day. Not all 120 locations need to be used.
-When a nominated sku is called for palletising by the producer’s inventory management system, it is retrieved from its storage location by the Outfeed Elevator and discharged to palletising.