In Saint-Quentin, France, construction of the first automated high-bay warehouse for corrugated packaging in France has been completed. This investment will enable output to be stepped up further in the coming years, increasing quality and service while helping to reduce our ecological footprint. The project forms part of a long-term vision for this key French site of the VPK Group owned Ondulys division.
Innovation and digital integration
The new high-bay warehouse brings a wealth of logistical benefits. Capacity has been doubled, resulting in greater flexibility and shorter delivery times. Automated quality detection and pallet handling will help protect goods and pallets against damage and improve the quality of palletisation.
The warehouse management system is connected to a 3D truck loading tool to ensure that trucks are loaded to the optimum level. Each truck is also equipped with a ‘track & trace’ system to enable just-in-time loading.
Philippe Tran, Managing Director of Ondulys, explains, “The new high-bay warehouse in Saint-Quentin is the cream of the crop in terms of innovation and digital transformation. In France, it’s the only one of its kind in the industry. Doubling the storage capacity will enable us to significantly increase our output in the coming years. It will also increase product quality, enhance stock management and improve our responsiveness. I am looking forward to presenting this impressive piece of work to our customers.”
Improved ecological footprint
A fully automated and connected high-bay warehouse also has tangible ecological benefits. A high-bay warehouse takes up on average 40% less space than a traditional warehouse. Automated handling reduces product damage to a minimum. Energy use is significantly less than in a conventional warehouse. Transport to external storage sites is eliminated, thus reducing our CO2 emissions.
The new warehouse has a surface area of 6,000sqm, with a total storage capacity of 20,000 pallets of up to 2m in height. Up to 240 pallets per hour can be moved in and out of the 37m high facility. The total investment cost for the project is €20m.
The technical equipment and software are currently being extensively tested. The warehouse will enter service in the autumn, when landscaping work will also be completed. The plan is to accommodate all nearby storage capacity within the new high-bay warehouse by the end of 2019.
Over the past 10 years, substantial investments have been made to develop the production site in Saint-Quentin. A new Fosber corrugator was installed in 2009, shortly after the takeover of the site by VPK Group and new converting machines were purchased over the next few years, including a Bobst casemaker, Göpfert die-cutter and materials handling systems. In 2015, a mezzanine was added and the WIP field was completely renovated. Earlier this year, the site was BRC grade A certified.