High performance system for 24/7


For Gamesa, an affiliate of the US beverage and foods corporation PepsiCo Inc., Stöcklin Logistik AG realized a new, fully automatic storage and distribution center. This investment required maximum turnover capacity and availability as well as error-free and efficient order handling.

Since 1990 Gamesa has belonged to the PepsiCo Corporation resulting from the merger between “Pepsi-Cola” and “Frito-Lay”. In the area of soft drinks PepsiCo and the competitor Coca-Cola have contented for decades for the favor of consumers thus establishing a preeminence on the world market. In addition to long-life bakery products in numerous delicious variations, Gamesa produces other delicacies such as pasta and ready-to-eat cereals. The company’s headquarters, which operates the currently nine production and distribution locations, is located in San Pedro Garza García in the Mexican Federal State of Nuevo León.

Customer proximity shows effect anew

As a reaction to the continuing growth, Gamesa invested in construction of a new storage and distribution center in 2014. This generously dimensioned structure with dimensions of 320 x 90 x 17 m was erected in Cuautitlán Izcalli, an administrative district in the Mexican Federal States of Estado de México just in front of the gates to Mexico City.

The end of June 2013 Stöcklin was granted the contract as general contractor and project coordinator for the entire intralogistics including Warehouse Management System (WMS) and Material Flow Computer (MFR). Peter Riesterer, Business Manager at Stöcklin Logistics de México S.A. with headquarters in Tlalnepantla near Mexico City, is enthusiastic about this new prestige project, confirming the market leadership of Stöcklin in Mexico.

“In addition to first class products and professional project realization this success is also the result of our strong and competent local presence with efficient service.

Here customer proximity is guaranteed, ensuring quick reaction times.

The most important objectives of this investment were realization of a fully automatic storage and distribution center with maximum availability and handling capacity. Naturally this project demanded maximum labor safety.

Time frame possible record breaking

“Go live” started on June 9, 2014 exactly one year after signing the contract. Following successful completion of the performance, function and availability test, the facilities have been under full load operation since the end of September. In smooth cooperation between the intelligent material flow computer as subsystem and the pallet conveying technology, suspended conveying equipment and ten stacker cranes in the high bay warehouse controlled by the Warehouse Management from Stöcklin, an hourly capacity or storage and retrieval rate of 250 pallets/hour was achieved, thus guaranteeing unobstructed supply of the market.

Chep wooden pallets are used exclusively as load carriers in these automatic storage facilities. They have dimensions of 1,220 x 1,020 x 140 mm (LxWxH) and maximum permissible gross weight of 1,000 kg. In the receiving department the goods on pallets with bar code label are placed on the conveying equipment by forklifts and logged in either by permanently installed scanners or hand scanners depending on the feeding station. They then run through a profile check. Here the pallets are also checked for damage. If the prescribed quality requirements are fulfilled, the cargo is routed on in the direction of the electric monorail.

Electric monorail - a central element

The electric monorail equipped with 24 individually driven vehicles forms a central element in the system, connecting the peripheral conveying area to the high bay warehouse, thus acting as a synchronizing feature for the entire system. The electric monorail operates as speeds up to 150 m/min. The transport orders generated by the material flow computer (MFR)/warehouse management system (WMS) are transferred via Ethernet to the central PLC control (programmable logic control - SPS) for the electric monorail and distributed among the suspended vehicles available. A separate, completely fenced area has been created for repair and maintenance, where vehicles can be moved in and out as required without disturbing productive operations.

The pallets travel over the electric monorail to the infeed conveyors in the antechamber zone of the also completely fenced, 10 aisle high bay warehouse (HRL) with storage locations for 30,000 pallets. Here they are picked up for storage by on of the ten stacker cranes (RBG). The stacker cranes (RBG) are 14 m high single mast units from the Stöcklin MASTer series, laid out for double depth operation. The travel over a length of 160 m with a capacity of up to 27 double cycles per hour. With acceleration values of 0.50 m/s2, they achieve travel speeds of up to 4.00 m/s and elevating rates of 0.50 m/s. Frequency-regulated motors at the drive control level and according to the specifications of the material flow computer, optimum acceleration and speed values commensurate with the requirements.

Clever picking strategies

Pallets requested for picking are transferred from high bay storage to the electric monorail, which transports then with the conveying equipment to the shuttle car (VW), which then transfers them to the gravity roller tracks. The shuttle car equipped with a roller track is laid out for 85 single transfer operations per hour. This performance is supported by travel speeds of up to 2.00 m/s or 3.50 m/s when travelling empty.

The order handling is RFID controlled (= Radio Frequency Identification) The required information is displayed to the picker on a hand-held unit. The strategy stored in the warehouse management system (WMS) allows differentiation between “positive picking” and “negative picking”. In the case of “positive picking” the employee at the picking station removes the required quantity of items from the pallet and places them on the order pallet already assigned to the customer. The retrieved source pallet remains on the removal track until all items contained in it have been picked. The empty source pallets are removed manually, stacked and either transported via the system to receiving or back to the high bay warehouse (HRL).

In the case of “negative picking”, on the other hand, the quantity of items not required is removed from the retrieved pallet and placed on a new load carrier. This is practical in all cases where more than 50% of the items present on the pallet are assigned to an order. In this case the pallet feed in from the high bay warehouse (HRL) is assigned to the customer, while the pallet just loaded is restored.  This saves an enormous amount of time and minimizes the error quota.

A separate area has been set up for sequencing. Here the cargo is fed to a shuttle car, which transfers the pallets to the storage locations for intermediate storage. The purpose of the shuttle car is to ensure “just-in-time” transfer of the picked goods to the specific order according to the loading sequence. The transfer care is equipped with a telescopic fork and chain conveyor and achieves speeds of up to 2.50 m/s in the loaded state or 4.00 m/s unloaded. This allows it to achieve up to 50 double cycles per hour. The area in which the shuttle car (VW) moves is completely fenced in the same manner as many other functional areas for safety reasons.

Investment in the future

After picking is completed, the consolidated customer packages are again transferred to the accumulation conveyor in shipping by the electric monorail system. The previously assigned goods then travel over 63 shipping lines to one of the 45 loading ramps, where long distance trucks can dock. Final order processing is also accomplished with RFID guidance using a loading display with integrate control feature.

With the newly erected storage and distribution center in “Parque Industrial, San Martin Obispo” in Cuautitlán Izcalli, Gamesa has created the prerequisites for ensuring that the Gamesa/PepsiCo products will continue to be available on the supermarket shelves in the proper quantity and at the correct time in the future. Simultaneously the company was able to strengthen its position within the corporation. “The objective of realizing integrated, faster, more precise and efficient order handling was achieved to the full extent”. Robust and proven technology and a corresponding system concept also provides an important contribution to not only ensuring but even distinctively exceeding the required system availability of at least 96 percent.

Moreover attention was given to the comprehensive safety requirements. A detailed safety concept provides a summary of all system functions and lists the the measures integrated into the system for protection of humans and material.