Deep freeze combination de luxe


Galliker Transport AG, one of the largest Swiss transport and logistics companies, is investing successively in expansion of their intralogistic structure. After conclusion of the first phase of construction, a fully automatic high bay pallet warehouse of food and health care products was initially put into operation. The facility, operated at ambient temperatures of -26°C, is distinguished by its outward appearance as well as a sophisticated, intralogistic inner life for maximum availability and labor safety - made by Stöcklin.

Over a period of three generations, Galliker developed from what was initially a small horse stable to a renowned logistics service provider with 17 branches in six countries. Presently this company located in the heart of Switzerland is completely family owned. The associated financial autonomy has made it possible for the owners to invest in the future without regard to quarterly objectives. Such decisions are based consistently on economic principles, with an eye to cost consciousness and performance. In harmony with this maxim, Galliker has dedicated itself to conscious, ecological action aimed particularly at establishing practical, energy saving and environmentally friendly infrastructures.

Family enterprise with guaranteed quality policy

Current Galliker Transport AG employs a staff of nearly 2,500; 2,100 in Switzerland alone. This transport and logistics service provider is active in the areas of “car logistics”, “cargo logistics”, “healthcare logistics” and “food, frig and fresh logistics”. The fresh and frozen products intended for Switzerland or international markets are buffered, picked, prepared according to customer specifications and delivered using various temperature zones to maintain an uninterrupted cooling chain.

Before the new logistics center 4 (LC) was opened at the location in Dagmerseller, storage and handling of food products was reserved primarily for the arctic temperatures at LC3.

“The new building was our reaction to the increasing demand for extensive logistics services from our domestic and foreign customers”

explained Martin Hofer, Storage Logistics Manager at Galliker. The company’s capacities for such services were exhausted. However, in view of defined company principles, the investment was necessary: Quality at the highest level, uninterrupted food safety as well as optimum labor safety and human engineering.

“Themes such as cleanliness and orderliness are important for our customers”, stated Urs Martin, Stöcklin Sales manager for Switzerland, Germany and Austria. In addition to straightforwardness in the form of short decision-making paths and fair relationships, these are further central values which distinguish the company and constitute the interior - regardless of whether we are dealing with vehicle fleets equipped with state-of-the-art GPS technology, buildings, technical equipment, offices or picking stations. In view of this attitude, the assignment was to install a photovoltaic system on the roof of the new LC4 building, to serve simultaneously as shelter for approx. 800 parked cars; just one more logical cue from the builder/owner.

High performance density required

Dagmersellen at the border to Altishofen enjoys a central location ideal for transport directly next to the A2 motorway and Gotthard railroad line. In view of the strategic objective of expanding the services offered in the areas of “food, fresh, frig logistics and healthcare”, the decision to upgrade the storage capacities at the time-honored company headquarters was a logical consequence.

This ambitious project was realized into phases: Phase 1 was successfully concluded according to plan in October 2015. It includes construction of a 28 m high, fully automatic deep freeze high bay storage facility (TK-HRL) with storage capacity for 9,200 pallets. This 4 aisle, deep freeze storage facility (TK-HRL) is served by four stacker cranes from Stöcklin’s MASTer series. As general contractor, the Swiss system provider also supplied and implemented the storage and retrieval conveying routes with integrated picking areas, distribution cars for horizontal transport, and elevator systems of various types as well as an inertization system for fire protection purposes. Stöcklin connected the material flow computer (MFR) to the existing ERP or merchandise management system, which also serves for warehouse management and control. In addition to regular functions, the material flow computer (MFR) also offers comprehensive, intelligent power management for the stacker cranes. A continuously visible, real time, system visualization feature was realized using Stöcklin WinCC.

Orderly throughput - a chilling solution

 “This intralogistic solution required extremely meticulous planning and layout to match the specific requirements”, remembers Oliver Vujcic, responsible Stöcklin Project Manager.

“In addition to meeting the requirements for availability, this project also required realization of redundancies and emergency strategies. The subject of ergonomics and safety was of equal significance.”

The objective was therefore to create a working environment with a positive effect on the staff’s wellbeing and motivation. Such a constellation has a productivity-increasing effect on the overall system performance.

The zoned building in Galliker’s new LC4 warehouse is subdivided into six stories, all of which are used for operative tasks. The receiving department is located on the ground floor. During the receiving process, the pallets delivered are placed on roller conveyors leading to the profile check using permanently installed scanners. Line scanners were selected, because the bars in the bar codes are printed lengthwise to the conveying direction in a so-called ladder arrangement. These labels indicating the contents are attached around the corner allowing them to be read clearly from the narrow as well as the wide side of the pallet.

The load carriers used in this area consist exclusively of type 1 Euro-pallets (1,200 x 800 mm) with a maximum total permissible weight of 1,000 kg. The possible load height varies between 1,200 and 2,500 mm. Stacks of four pallets each can be formed using a pickup path, if required. This means that individual pallets as well as pallet stacks are under way on the ground floor on the conveyors equipped with integrated elevating stations.

A double shuttle car serves as the functional link between the conveying equipment on the ground floor and the high bay warehouse. For this purpose the stacks are scanned before pickup and assigned to the conveying locations on the shuttle car so that it can always hold two pallets parallel to one another whenever possible. Speeds of up to 3.0 m/s are possible in the loaded state. In combination with the load handling device laid out for the required peak performance, this allows 75 transport or storage and retrieval operations per hour with two pallets each on the infeed conveyors.

The deep freeze high bay storage facility (TK-HRL) offers sufficient capacity for storing 9,200 pallets. These storage locations are distributed over four, nearly 26 m high aisles with a length of 65 m each. Four MASTer 24-TK stacker cranes (RBG) are in operation here. The single mast units equipped with telescopic forks are laid out for double depth storage with up to 22 storage and retrieval operations per hour, if required. Since the risk of fire in deep freeze environments is “naturally” comparatively high, the entire high bay warehouse (HRL) is inertized.

“The reduced oxygen concentration as well as the temperature differences to adjacent areas made it necessary to coordinate the climatic sluices provided by the customer and integrate them into our overall system”, explained Oliver Vujcic. We realized this using high speed doors. These doors open within three seconds after starting up the sluice systems, effectively preventing escape of the inertization gas as well as cold air, or, in the opposite case, intrusion of heat.

Comfort in spite of the cold

The level between the ground floor and second floor serves for picking as well as preparation and labeling according to customer specifications. The required merchandise is supplied and removed by a special cable elevator, connecting the two levels vertically with one another. The elevator operates according to the MASTer principle and is equipped with a load handling device. At peak times, it is possible to pick up and deliver 48 pallets each carrying up to 1,000 kg.

The platform floor where the picking is accomplished supported by the two single shuttles, consists of hard wood panels mounted on gratings. The advantage of this solution is that sag is eliminated, providing a comfortable working environment. The wooden material prevents the cold being transfered directly to the worker through the metal.

Picking stations with ergonomic design.

Moreover four elevator systems are used for vertical transport. They also serve to transport rolling containers, fed in from a special station consisting of two chain conveyors in sequence at the beginning of the combination conveyor path. Since the floor of the conveyor is level, they roll in easily without great force. One of these four elevators has a so-called creep-under pickup station to allow it to accept rolling dollies easily. This functional principle also facilitates the work for the employees, because the cargo can be loaded very easily at floor level.   

Another single distribution car, also laid out for maximum performance, has a new type of gravity roller track, designed especially for deep freeze areas, for transfer of the goods to be shipped, over which the previously labeled pallets, covered with stretch foil, travel to the shipping buffer.

Other performance features are in sight

The experts at Stöcklin had a brilliant idea for a future-proof “Cold Supply Chain” as they planned and designed the intralogistic solution realized at Galliker Transport AG. “The chaos or apparent jumble in the area of the implemented conveying elements running vertically and horizontally actually conforms to a system”, noted Sales Manager Urs Martin with a wink. Not one detail - regardless of how small - was left to chance and simultaneously the space present within the 230 x 95 m building is utilized optimally. At Galliker everyone is quite satisfied with what has been achieved to date. Martin Hofer’s comments:

“The entire system fulfills all our desires in terms of functionality, human engineering, efficiency and design. Moreover the ingenious emergency strategies to maintain the material flow in the event individual sections fail, are convincing. The exterior as well as the interior appearance is unequalled throughout Europe.

Until now Galliker was capable of storing approx. 16,500 pallets in their deep freeze area. Now that the new logistics center 4 is in operation, it is possible to store an additional 9,200 pallets. But this is only an intermediate balance. Because the partnership between Galliker Transport AG and Stöcklin will continue. This means the preparations for implementing Phase 2 are already in progress. This second phase includes construction of an additional, fully automatic high bay warehouse with an additional 26,200 pallet storage locations in nine aisles. The facility is scheduled to go into operation by 2017 and be equipped with extensive conveying equipment for horizontal and vertical transport using the previously constructed deep freeze storage facility as an example.

Author: Urs Grütter, CEO, President and Board of Directors Delegate at Stöcklin Logistik AG in Aesch (Switzerland)

Tiefkühllogistik in Perfektion