Friesland Campina is the 3rd world leader in dairy product and the 1st worldwide dairy cooperative. The Dutch company, founded in 1879, employs 19,000 people worldwide and its products are distributed in more than 100 countries.
A complete AGV solution to automate cheeses production and maturing
Following a logistics study realized by BA Systèmes’ experts, the company was chosen as a partner in the automation of the cheese boxes’ flows during their maturation process.
An AGV fleet handles the cheeses’ transfer from the storage areas where they are ageing towards the treatment area (several transfers over a period of several days) to be moved towards shipping areas (automatic preparation in marshalling).
The objectives of the AGV installation was:
- To ensure a continuous production (24 hours/24 and 7/7),
- To improve the cheeses ageing process,
- To guarantee the traceability of the internal logistics and the quality,
- To reduce the operating costs of the process.
A range of adapted vehicles coupled with significant software developments
To handle cheese boxes of more than 2 tons and a half, BA Systèmes had to adapt some of its vehicles and proposed a fleet of AGVs composed of GF (counterbalanced AGVs) and GF2CC, some AGVs able to carry simultaneously two loads side by side.
The whole logistics system is controlled by AGV Manager, directly connected to the process planning system. One specific characteristic of the application is to store batches of several boxes in fixed depth aisles; a feature that provides the ability to store multiple batches in a same aisle. Storage algorithms developed by BA Systèmes, include the provisional schedule of future treatment or shipment of each batch in order to limit operations of stock reorganization. This ensures both a better system responsiveness to requests and a higher occupancy rate.
“The flows’ automation allows us to maintain the quality of the ageing process while preserving the cheeses. AGVs are equipped with safety systems to ensure product integrity during the multiple transfers but also guarantee the safety of operators working in the same area,” says Eduard Lammertsma, project manager at Friesland Campina.