An automatic warehouse for the first automated wine production lines in the world

The Company
Set up in 1950 for the wine-growers of Trento who wanted
to offer top quality wines using a modern production
process, today it represents over 4,500 wine-growers
associated with 11 wine cellars and 65% of the Trento
wine production (approximately 5,700 ha). Cavit collects,
examines and selects the raw materials coming in from
the best productions of the associated Wine-grower’s
Cooperatives subjecting them to strict tests in every phase:
from refinement to bottling. Cavit was the first wine cellar
in the world to have a fully automated production process.

Problems and objectives
The design of the automated warehouse was guided
by the need to optimise the existing volumes, speed up
the production times and optimise product traceability
by increasing the storage capacity and the handling
flexibility. The customer also needed to increase the
capacity of the existing line ends, which required moving
the warehouse to a dedicated logistic unit using a part of
the area previously occupied by manual logistics.
The challenge during design of the new plant was to
find a way to have the requirements in terms of shipping
flows with the many different types of shipping required
for the different markets served coexist with the spaces
available while maintaining the required flexibility. 

The Solution & the Results
The new warehouse is located in a building with an
innovative design that hosts 6 stacker cranes (model NV)
with a height between 19 and 20 metres, which operate
on shelving double the normal depth and are split into 3
height classes: 2,250 mm, 1,830 mm and 1,680 mm with a
maximum capacity of 1,150 kg. The warehouse provides a
total of 13,468 pallet slots.
The entire system is dimensioned to be able to handle EPALbased
loading units of 800x1200 and “sleep sheet” pallets
of 1,000 mm x 1,200 mm for loading in a container. Other
types of pallets can also be handled, especially for export,
using “slave pallets” of 1,000 mm x1,200 mm. The seasonal
variability of the mix of loading units in the warehouse
required particular attention to the design of the storage cell
in order not to limit the flexibility of use.

The new logistic unit is connected to production by means
of a super-elevated tunnel through which the incoming
finished products are conveyed to the warehouse on a
continuous roller conveyor with a flow of 90 pallets/hour
after checking the weight, shape, forkability and integrity of
the pallet axes.
A loop with 12 independent steering shuttles (SVL) connects
the storage section in this part to all the system peripherals:
entry bays from production, reject bays for non-conform
products, entry bays from the outside, picking and shipping
bays. The automatic warehouse also acts as meeting point
between the full pallets and those prepared for picking: in
this way, the arrival of the units at shipping can be sequenced
correctly according to the right loading schedule.
There are 2 “goods to man” type bays for the picking
activities configured in such a way as to allow reverse
picking operations; they are equipped with dual pantograph
platforms and a weight canceller to improve the ergonomics of the workstation. During development provision was made
to add a third picking bay should Client’s future operating
conditions require, as well as the possibility to convert one
or more manual stations into fully automatic bays by adding
a layer picking robot.
The pallets generated at picking are automatically conveyed
to a station equipped with a rotary arm wrapper and
automatic labelling.

The shipping operations are carried out in 5 double bays
with an outgoing capacity of 134 pallets/hour, which
serve 5 tippers used to load the truck: each shipping bay
is equipped with a display for viewing the shipment and
the load. The shipping phase follows the Just in Time
philosophy, which means that the shipping units are called
only when the carrier is physically present at the logistic unit;
the warehouse continuously feeds the bays to avoid waiting
times during truck loading. In this way, use of the shipping
tippers is improved, at the same time saving useful surface
area as no pre-staging is necessary.