ROYAL Talens manufactures professional and amateur artists' materials including paints, brushes and paper. In total some 7,000 order lines are handled at its distribution centre (DC) in The Netherlands, for dispatch to customers world-wide.
The company decided to build the new DC and to replace its traditional paper-based order picking with paperless batch picking.
The miniload - which is served by two cranes, each capable of handling two totes at once - feeds some 3,000 picking positions across four picking faces by means of gravity conveyor.
Order picking is carried out by nine manually-propelled trolleys with on-board terminals and weight checking facilities. Four orders at a time are picked into totes on the custom-designed trolleys.
Every tote box has a unique bar code that is scanned, along with the goods, as picking takes place. The host computer system communicates with Swisslog's Warehouse Management and the order picking control system.
The miniload stores both stock and part-picked orders until the last part of any order is available; then totes are transferred to the packing stations on the mezzanine level, where consolidation takes place.
The control system indicates which type of packing box is required and automatically issues the dispatch label.
The packed goods then travel by belt conveyor to the dispatch area on the ground floor where they are diverted to the correct conveyor chute of a small sortation system before being palletised ready for dispatch.
The Swisslog solution has resulted in a significant increase in picking accuracy, allowing Royal Talens to offer its customers a higher quality of service.
In addition, more precise inventory control has enabled Royal Talens to reduce its stock levels and thereby reduce its costs.