“Pallets of finished product are uploaded onto an automated pallet conveyor, taken over the airbridge and delivered to the distribution centre.”The new Linfox DC for Kellogg’s recently Collectively, Kellogg’s and Linfox identifiedwon the inaugural ‘Award for Excellence the need to manage the distribution centrein Supply Chain Management and processes with less manual involvementDistribution’ at the SMART 2007 Conference and more automation. The challenge wasin Sydney. to create an environment that could automatically process high demandThe award winning state-of-the-art facility volumes whilst also achieving high storagewas commissioned to manage the density. The decision was made to co-locatewarehousing and distribution of all Kellogg’s the new Linfox facility alongside the Kellogg’scereal products manufactured at its Botany manufacturing facility to achieve this goal.manufacturing facility. Linfox originallygained the Kellogg’s business when it Design for flexibility.acquired Mayne Logistics in 2003. The new distribution centre was designedPrior to the new facility being commissioned, to provide Linfox with flexibility on how theLinfox engaged a 24-hour shuttle service building may be used over its useful life. Asbetween the Botany facility and the Linfox a result, the Kellogg’s solution had to meldMinto warehousing operation. On a daily with the ‘general purpose’ configuration ofbasis, a significant number of pallets the building.would be loaded onto articulated vehicles, The solution design and concept weretransported to Minto, and then manually complex as it was necessary to maintainhandled in and around the warehouse. the best storage density and maximiseThe Minto warehouse accommodated volume throughput. Dexion worked with28,000 pallet positions and was 27,000 Linfox and Kellogg’s to develop this design.square metres in size, with no automation The system had to incorporate Kellogg’sto speak of. requirements to receive product from theDexion Case Study – Linfox Kellogg’s
“Linfox has experienced about a 10% reduction in pick error rate with the new system, and product damage has reduced by 85%.”manufacturing facility 24 hours a day, 7 days The new Botany distribution centre can Distribution System’ (RDS), which is the • ncreased responsiveness to ia week, and to minimise any disruption to hold a total of 32,000 pallets within the command-and-control centre. The RDS customer demands,manufacturing by the warehouse operations. automated storage component and the drives the ASRS from a logical viewpoint • minimal stock movement. conventional section of the warehouse. and interfaces with the Linfox warehouseThroughout the design process Dexion management system, which in turn An automated system solution was superiorworked with Linfox and Kellogg’s, confident The automated storage and retrieval system to a labour-based solution in meeting thesein the knowledge that the final design (ASRS) enables pallets to be stored in five communicates with the Kellogg’s ERP requirements. Linfox has experiencedconcept would be both acceptable and aisles, six-pallets-deep on either side. system. about a 10% reduction in pick error ratecompetitive. As the design process evolved, Each aisle is serviced by its own automated The command-and-control centre provides with the new system, and product damageDexion continually researched the supplier crane. Each crane has a satellite carriage a pictorial view of the ASRS operation and has reduced by 85%. The company has alsomarket and identified ‘best of breed’ unit that drives into the racking to deposit enables the operator to see what the system been able to reduce its labour requirementequipment for the overall solution. This or pick up pallets. The ASRS can put away is doing in real time. It is designed to reduce - indicative of this is the ability to halve itsincluded pallet conveyors, robotics, storage up to 90 pallets per hour and retrieve 120and retrieval systems, and IT hardware. the amount of time taken to resolve a forklift requirements in the new facility. pallets per hour. particular issue since the operator is able to The time from when the product is packedThe chosen solution saw the production The system presented a number offacility connected with the distribution see where the problem is and fix it quickly. to it being available for picking in the challenges for the Dexion project warehouse has reduced from two days tocentre by an ‘airbridge’ placed over the management team. Fundamentally, theydividing road. Pallets of finished product are The goal. being received and ready for picking within had to engineer an advanced integrated one hour.uploaded onto an automated pallet conveyor, system for a building designed for Linfox and Kellogg’s required a newtaken over the airbridge and delivered to warehouse design that would provide a conventional warehousing. The system was How it works.the distribution centre. Previously, stock true ‘win-win’ for both businesses. selected due to its reliability and provenwas transferred by semi-trailers travelling At the end of the manufacturing process, technology, but it is the innovation in the Some of the key deliverables sought were:approximately 40 kilometres from Botany Kellogg’s cartons are automatically design of the overall system that makes thisto Minto, so the amount of product • educed reliance on labour and manual r palletised and then wrapped by a shrink project so interesting.handling has been significantly decreased wrapper. Each pallet is checked at the handling of stock,by the automated airbridge, with vehicle A unique feature of the system is a profile checking station for pallet overhangmovements reduced to exceptions only. component of Dexion’s ‘Real-time • a long-term partnership solution, on all four sides, to ensure the bottomDexion Case Study – Linfox Kellogg’s
“Ideally, to optimise the operation of the system, only the fastest moving lines are stored in the ASRS. To maintain a constant flow of pallets to the cranes, each pallet transferred into a crane aisle is preceded by an occupancy check of the crane’s infeed conveyors.”boards are present and that loads do not Pallets travelling along the airbridge passexceed height restrictions. The profile through an automatic roller door ontochecker also ensures the SSCC number another pallet lift. They are then lowered to(within the bar-coded pallet labels) isn’t the warehouse floor level by the frame liftmissing. and discharged onto the conveyor system that accumulates each pallet beforePallets that fail any of these criteria are discharging it.flagged for local rejection. A circular log iscreated for all rejected pallets in the The induction conveyor is the primaryprogrammable logic controller (PLC), which ‘decision point’ location on the cranedetails what is wrong with each pallet. conveyor loop. The EXE warehouse management system provides theRejected pallets are transported by conveyor corresponding receiving task to the Dexionthrough a return path to an existing Kellogg’s RDS prior to each pallet arriving at thisturntable and reject lane, where they are induction conveyor. Pallets are check-unloaded via existing methods controlled weighed to confirm that the weight is lessby Kellogg’s. than the crane rating, and palletsPallets that pass the profile-check are exceeding this weight are redirected to atransferred from the infeed turntable reject lane.conveyor onto an accumulation conveyor. On confirmation of a good label scan andThis conveyor mechanically accumulates weight check, the pallets are inducted intopallets before discharging them onto the the RDS control system. The warehouseelevator turntable. The elevator raises the management system looks at the SKUpallet to the airbridge conveyor level, and information to see if it is to be stored in theholds the pallet until the airbridge conveyor ASRS, i.e. if it is in the ‘top 40’. If so, itis ready to accept it. hands the order over to the Dexion RDSDexion Case Study – Linfox Kellogg’s
“To maximise performance, the closest pallet positions are selected, and to maximise storage utilisation, like batch-numbered pallets are stored within the same six pallet-deep location and across all cranes.”which puts the pallet away in the ASRS. location. The pallet is picked up by theThe pallet will then move to one of the five satellite cart, which drives into the rack andcrane aisles. deposits (or collects) pallets.If it’s a pallet destined for manual racking, There are five automated stacker cranesit will be moved to this area and put away operating within the ASRS system. Eachinto the conventional racking. If the ASRS crane is controlled by its own dedicatedis full, the system will automatically move PLC located in the crane’s control cubicle.pallets to conventional racking also, or Crane operational commands are fed tostore them in block stack. the crane PLC as required by the crane’s SCADA system. This system acts as theProduction pallets destined for the interface between the Dexion RDS controlconventional racking are moved to an exit system and the individual cranes.conveyor where they wait until the forklifttake-off conveyor is free. An indicator light To maximise performance, the closest palletannounces that the pallet is ready and positions are selected, and to maximisesafe for taking off by the forklift operator. storage utilisation, like batch-numbered pallets are stored within the same sixIdeally, to optimise the operation of the pallet-deep location and across all cranes.system, only the fastest moving lines arestored in the ASRS. To maintain a constant When retrieving pallets, the system selectsflow of pallets to the cranes, each pallet the closest available storage locations, taking account of Kellogg’s FIFO batchtransferred into a crane aisle is preceded code philosophy. To maximise storageby an occupancy check of the crane’s space utilisation, the system retrieves allinfeed conveyors. If they are all full, the six pallets from a selected location, andpallet is redirected to another crane. like batch-numbered pallets are retrievedThe conveyor loads a pallet onto the crane, evenly across all cranes. Once a pallet iswhich takes the pallet to the correct retrieved it is then sent to despatch.Dexion Case Study – Linfox Kellogg’s
“The cranes are designed to work in the dark, further reducing lighting requirements.”Despatch. proceeds to remove cartons from the pallet, Safety first! Unauthorised opening of the gate duringAt despatch the system features a robotic generally three at a time. General access to the ASRS pallet racking automatic operation causes the respectivede-palletising and container-loading system, Cartons placed on the take-away conveyor is prevented by a full perimeter fence without robot to immediately shut down. The palletwhich is a self-contained operational unit flow automatically away from the robot access points. Each crane run-out area is entry opening of these safety fences isnot connected with either RDS or other area, then divert onto the lane conveyor fully enclosed by a safety fence. Access to protected by a light barrier to guard againstconveyor controls. It consists of two associated with the boom conveyor each run-out area is controlled by key and unauthorised access by personnel climbingidentical robotic units, each capable of position. Sensors on the conveyor check electrical interlocking of the respective over the pallet conveyor. Unauthoriseddelivering cartons to one of two container for jams or a natural build-back of cartons, access gates. Entry is restricted to entry at these points will immediately shutpositions. and stop and start the conveyor as required authorised maintenance personnel who down the respective robot.Before de-palletising can commence, the to ensure an even flow onto the boom are fully trained to operate under approved conveyor. Access to the robots’ pallet stacker istelescopic boom conveyor is driven to the procedures. protected by automatic doors. These doorsappropriate container loading door and If cartons bank up to the robot put-down The pallet lift conveyor is fully fenced and remain shut at all times except when theactivated, and the associated carton area, depalletising will stop until the carton protected by a light barrier system. completed pallet stack is being removed.conveyor system is started. The container- conveyor is free again. Cartons discharge Breaking of the light barrier will cause adoor delivery lane is selected automatically onto the boom conveyor, which transports OHS levels have been greatly enhanced general pallet conveyor system emergencyby the position of the boom conveyor, them up to the working face within the stop. Each of the two de-palletiser robots with the new system. There are 32,000and the required pallet stacking patterns container. is fully enclosed by a safety fence, and pallet positions in the ASRS and conventionalare stored in the subsystem with their Workers unload and stack the cartons in access to these areas is controlled by key racking, so every time a pallet is pickedcorresponding Global Trade Identification the container with the boom conveyor and electrical interlocking of the respective from a high level bay there would be theNumbers (GTIN). moving backwards or forwards, up and access gates. potential for product, pallet or rackingA new pallet arriving at the de-palletising down, as the container is filled. All orders damage.position is detected automatically by the are pre-ticketed before the truck arrives Entry is once again restricted to authorisedrobot control system and the carton GTIN to avoid congestion at the loading dock, maintenance personnel who are fully However, there is no issue with the ASRSis scanned. The system checks the GTIN as it is critical that there are no delays in trained to operate under approved because the cranes are the only equipmentagainst valid stacking patterns and then turnaround time. procedures. touching the pallets.Dexion Case Study – Linfox Kellogg’s
“This state-of-the-art Linfox distribution centre is a first for the Australian third-party logistics industry, and marks a new direction in relationships between customers and third-party logistics providers.”Environment. loads of greenhouse gas-producing vehicleEnvironmental issues were a key movements each year.consideration during the design andawarding phase of the Botany distribution An award-winning achievement.centre. The distribution centre is lit by This state-of-the-art Linfox distributionlights that emit the lowest possible amount centre is a first for the Australian third-of greenhouse gases. party logistics industry, and marks a new direction in relationships betweenThe cranes are designed to work in thedark, further reducing lighting requirements. customers and third-party logisticsThe construction of the warehouse also providers.accounted for environmental factors, such It is the first facility where a third-partyas insulation and the use of sky-lights. provider has implemented a fully automatedThere are also recycling programs in place system on behalf of a manufacturingat this facility. customer. This is important for Linfox andProduct close to its use-by date is donated important for the Australian manufacturingto charities nominated by Kellogg’s rather industry. Australian manufacturersthan being sent to landfill, further reducing increasingly recognise that their expertisethe impact on the environment. lies in manufacturing and that logistics Dexion began this construction in May resulting in the facility winning the should be left to the experts. 2006 and Kellogg’s then gave Linfox until prestigious “Award for Excellence inThe greatest environmental benefitachieved by Kellogg’s and Linfox with the Increasingly, they look to logistics partners the end of September to prove that the Supply Chain Management andnew facility is in reducing the number of such as Linfox to mirror their organisation. system was 100% operational, which has Distribution” at the inaugural SMART 2007 now been confirmed beyond doubt. Awards for Supply Chain Excellence.semi-trailers travelling on the arterials Many are international companies seekingbetween Botany and Minto. This is estimated partners that can support them across the The system was delivered in full, on timeto have eliminated approximately 11,200 Asia-Pacific region. and to the operational specificationDexion Case Study – Linfox Kellogg’s
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