A highly automated solution for a cold storage warehouse

The Company
Fratelli Veroni fu Angelo S.p.A. is one of the historical and
most prestigious brands in the cured meats sector in Italy. The
origins of this company go way back to 1925 when five brothers
that were running a food shop decided to expand the family
business and take up the production of cured meats. Over
the years the company has specialised in the production, marketing
and distribution of a wide range of cured meats. Today
the company is run by the fourth generation of the Veroni
family, counts 4 controlled companies and comprises 7 production
units all situated in Emilia Romagna.

Problems and objectives
The system designed by System Logistics fits into a larger multiyear
project of innovation and expansion of the business,
which on the one hand has involved the production cycle and
company reorganisation and on the other hand modernisation
of the production systems. In particular, the production
unit at Gazzata of San Martino has tripled its production surface area since 2010: hence the need for a finished product
warehouse with a high degree of automation, a capacity of
2500 tons of product, and streamlined logistic processes for
maximum efficiency.

The solution and the results achieved
The new warehouse, built on a green meadow, is the heart of
the company’s entire logistic system. It replenishes the picking
area to which it is connected by means of an automated
conveying system and is characterised by a double-depth automated
solution with high productivity. The radio-frequency
and the Warehouse Management System (WMS) integrated
with the stacker crane software and the picking software
complete the information technology of the project.
The food nature of the product requires that the temperature
of the entire production site be kept at 8-10°C, while the
warehouse operates at a temperature of 0-3°C. Warehouse
operation is guaranteed 15 hours a day (06:00 to 21:00) in
two work shifts. The system is made up of the following main
parts: elevated handling system for pallets and crates coming
in to the processing departments; dedicated area for the automatic
palletization, weighing and shape control operations;
intensive storage area for pallets and bins with automatic
storage systems; picking and shipping area; consolidation and
shipping area.
The warehouse is spread over 3 floors (of which one underground)
for a total surface area of 2500 m² of which 1100
m² for the automated warehouse alone. The warehouse
is used to store plastic bins (for indoor use, dimensions
1000x1200x800 mm, max. 500 kg) and palletized loading units
of finished product (Epal pallets and plastic pallets, dimensions
1000x1200x1200 mm, max. 500 kg). The storage potential
is 5000 loading units with racking designed to stock the
two types of loading unit. The warehouse is spread over 14
levels in height with double-deep racking served by 3 stacker
cranes dedicated to as many aisles and engaged in pallet and
crate handling. 6 SVL (System Vehicle Loop) steering shuttles
handle the loading units. In order to contain the number of
stacker crane movements, an “intermediate buffer” area has
been arranged consisting of 32 selectively reachable stations
(stalls) outside the automated warehouse where the highturnover
items are allocated thus avoiding putting broken up
loading units back in the warehouse. There are 12 additional
stalls, i.e. 3 for each of the 4 picking bays. On average, the
warehouse handles 3000 rows/day equal to about 1000 orders
a day executed and 85,000 kg outgoing product.