Fleet management with all-round carefree package – directly from the logistics system and floor handling equipment manufacturer

08.05.2014

As part of the tendering for the project “M-Industrie Floor Handling Equipment Fleet Management”, Stöcklin Logistik AG achieved success with a comprehensive fleet analysis and an integrated fleet management for various pilot operations of the M-Industrie Group of companies. Through the application of the latest technology, the operating costs could be significantly lowered and this together with increased safety and efficiency.

Along with 18 other companies in Switzerland and three plants in other countries, M-Industry belongs to the Migros Group. It produces more than 20,000 products from preserves to detergent. With over 11,000 employees - including 415 trainees in over 20 occupations - M-Industry is one of the most important employers in Switzerland and is one of the largest producers of its own brands worldwide. In addition to supplying Migros, it also exports high quality Swiss products to more than 50 countries. One of the M-Industry companies is ELSA in Estavayer-le-Lac, a community in the Canton of Freiburg.

ESTAVAYER LAIT SA (ELSA) – Partner for everything ultra-fresh

The company with headquarters in Estavayer-le-Lac known as ELSA is the largest Swiss single-site dairy processing plant with nearly 600 employees. Thanks to the high level of automation and expert management of processes and technologies, ELSA can offer an extremely wide range of products, while observing strict hygiene and quality requirements. Year for year, more than 269 million kilograms of milk are processed. Various types of Swiss cheese as well as imported cheese from France, Germany and Denmark are all marketed using their own logistics platform.

In October 2010 the ELSA-MIFROMA Group entered into a long term partnership with Schwyzer Milchhuus in Schwyz. The family dairy's main activities include the processing, packaging and marketing of numerous Swiss cheese specialties.

Optimization potential accurately identified

M-Industry operates fleets of floor handling equipment in over 18 companies with more than 30 locations. These floor handling equipment (FFZ) have grown organically in the individual companies and have been continuously supplemented to meet specific requirements. This has resulted in over 1,200 floor handling vehicles in use, which are treated differently in each plant with regard to the type of vehicle, supplier, financing, maintenance, service, replacement and management.

At the forefront of the commissioned fleet analysis is the checking-out of the correctness of the way in which the vehicles are used and of the need for the number and types of vehicles. The aim was to minimize operating and maintenance costs and to further improve the replacement costs and the terms and conditions of financing. As part of the investigation made by Stöcklin Logistik, interesting optimization potential was discovered which finally developed, that is to say was implemented step-by-step in the form of a consistently coordinated fleet management for the whole M community. In this way, just using ELSA as an example, the original 120 machines included in the fleet of stackers were reduced by 10% to 109 units.

Up to 4,000 operating hours per year in continuous operation

In Estavayer-le-Lac, the ESI 1600 units with standing and sitting facilities, a two-level function and a lift capacity of 1,800 mm are at work in the hardest continuous operation in the areas of truck loading, block storage, rack servicing and picking. Stöcklin's storage technology stackers with standing driver (ES) or with sitting driver (EF), which are based on an identical group of components, are proving to be a worthwhile investment due to their high handling figures both in long service lanes and in narrow aisles. These are equipped with a powerful AC drive unit and modern technology and thanks to their compact design with a short front structure and a width of only 800 mm, can be used in all situations.

Previously, one part of these stackers had been operated in continuous operation (4,000 hours/year) with up to three exchangeable batteries per unit. Using Stöcklin-Power's energy-efficient lithium-ion energy package, ELSA can, without any problem and very efficiently, manage the three shifts with only a single battery and short charging intervals. Numerically speaking, this means that up to 30 minutes time can be saved per day and per employee. In addition, maintenance work is reduced, such as water refilling. Application limitations are removed as no gazing takes place. Due to the 30 percent lower electrical current requirement during the charging process, the efficiency balance is further positively influenced in terms of sustainability.

Highly convincing lithium-ion energy system

While other suppliers use lithium-cobalt cells, which are not entirely safe, in their system and work with charging factors of 1.0 (discharged battery charged in 1 hour), Stöcklin uses a LI-ON system on lithium-iron-phosphate cells, LiFePO4, for absolute safe operation guaranteeing a working life of 5,000 charging cycles (at 80% charge) with a charging factor of 0.5 (discharged battery charged in max. 2 hours. The special active battery management system developed for this monitors and reliably protects the battery. In this way, temperature, voltage, current and charge conditions are permanently measured with a high degree of precision. Overheating, overload and total discharge are not possible.

Secure and efficient picking

With their compact dimensions, ergonomic design and the fact that they are compatible with all types of picking aids, the latest Stöcklin ESPK 20 pickers are very favorably viewed aids in ELSA's widely differing picking areas.

An already well-proven 2.5 kW three-phase drive unit with directly flanged steering motor and the corresponding CanBus-capable electronic controls is used. Steering is performed with a spherically suspended tiller head that has the appropriate operating elements for driving and hydraulics. Driving release is only possible after walking on the special contact mat in the driver's position and this also always at the start releases an automatic straight ahead position of the drive wheel. This applies without limitation also for the version with optional person lifting device, also in the raised condition. Thanks to the built-in level compensation and the automatic speed reduction device when negotiating bends, this unit has a universally praised "road-holding", even at the highest travel speeds of 14 km/h. The energy which is released during the electronic braking can be reused by means of the energy recovery system. In addition, the AC drive and steering motors of the ESPL 20 are energy-saving and also designed for sustainable use of resources.

Modern and ergonomically designed EDP 20 low lift trucks and EDD 12 high lift trucks with support arm lift, two-level function and finely metered and speed-controlled lifting drive mechanism are used for truck loading and storage applications.

Universal forklifts from Hyundai

As general importer for Switzerland, Stöcklin has integrated the front stackers from the brand-name manufacturer Hyundai into its fleet management system: With the new -9 model series, the South Korean manufacturer sets new standards on the forklift market and distinguishes itself significantly from its strong competitors. Hyundai as taken a step forward with regard to appearance as well as performance, however still focuses on its core competencies. The company offers front stackers with load capacities from 1.0 to 25.0 t based on a compact and sleek, however robust and durable design. The new design and various options offer comfort and simple operation of the front stackers.

The new front stackers used at ELSA are also included in the new model series and offer additional advantages. The following are in use: Four wheel, 16B-9 model electric stacker (load capacity 1.6 t) with elevating heights of 3.7 m and 5.0 m as well as four wheel 32B-9 model electric stackers (load capacity 3.2 t) with elevating height of 6.1 m. All of these vehicles are equipped with heavy duty AC travel motors, which increase the maneuverability and handling efficiency. Moreover they are equipped with maintenance-free wet disk brakes, which produce less heat, thus providing higher braking performance.

To ensure the safety of the operator without having to wear seatbelts, ELSA has chosen a restraint system for the 16B-9 units and a full cab for the 32B-9 machines. The restraint systems are coupled to an immobilizer, which allows the driver to put the machine in motion only when safely closed. Since the 32B-9 is frequently operated outdoors, particular attention was paid to a pleasant working environment. This solution consists of a full cab to protect the operator optimally against wind and rain. Optionally the finger-tip operation offers the stacker operator an ergonomic and precisely controllable solution for lifting and lowering the load precisely.

The battery replacement flap with 180 degree hinges on the side allows the battery to be replaced very quickly and easily during operating peaks. The halogen headlamps, combination LED rear lamps and rear reflectors installed as a standard feature improve visible operation and increase the safety for the operator, regardless of the conditions of use. Moreover the automatic fork leveling device (optional) simplifies handling at the operating location.

Original customer tone:

“With the electric front stackers from Hyundai, ELSA has chosen robust, universal and high performance working machines, which are easy to service and operate.

Systematic fleet management

The whole fleet, which includes 20% of external units, is operated by experienced Stöcklin service technicians, who are regularly on site as part of the full-service contract. The Stöcklin Power-Fleet provides an efficient information tool for a holistic management system which continuously monitors and optimizes the fleet of stackers on an ongoing basis. This fleet management tool can be upgraded without limitation in three stages allowing detailed and transparent analysis and improving efficiency and safety of each and every stackers regardless of brand. ELSA is initially using Stage 1 (see Stöcklin Powerfleet figure) which allows the vehicle history (maintenance, repairs, impact damage, batteries, etc.), overloads and evaluations to be called up online at any time for cross comparison. Stage 2 specifies in addition the granting of driving release (access entitlement) with shock sensors. After the conclusion of Upgrade Stage 3, real-time data transfer with bi-directional messaging and vehicle location is also possible.

Customer satisfaction with all-round carefree package:

"The flexible fleet management system offered by Stöcklin Logistik corresponds both in terms of quality and quantity with our proposals for an all-round carefree package and is fully competitive - the fleet is these days simply more productive and running a lot better than ever before. Stöcklin takes competent and professional care of our fleet of vehicles allowing us to use them efficiently, and thus concentrate on our core competencies.