McCain, Kloosterboer and Westfalia - three family-owned enterprises from Canada, The Netherlands and Germany - are teaming up to build the biggest cold storage facility in France. In Harnes, 62nd department, the mega logistics center will be a space and energy saving high-density warehouse with more than 68,000 pallet places. Westfalia will provide the high density Automated Storage & Retrieval System (AS/RS), SpeedLoader, and Savanna.NET® Warehouse Management System technology. It will be one of the biggest cold storage facilities in Europe. At a temperature of -24 degrees, nine cranes in seven aisles and two main warehouse areas will automatically handle frozen food like French fries. McCain will be merging storage and distribution of its sites in Béthume, Harnes and others in northern Europe. This merger has economical and ecological advantages. The new logistics system will support McCain’s declared strategy for sustainability because the high density cold store will substitute eight regional warehouses and will noticeably reduce shuttle traffic. In addition, the special architecture of the warehouse will save on space and electricity. Kloosterboer will operate the cold store that will go into service at the beginning of 2010.
Logistics system with two main areas
The new McCain warehouse will be a space and energy saving cold storage facility with two principal areas. In the back, the storage area will store frozen goods in long, homogenous channels. The storage warehouse will be 100 meters long, 112 meters large and 38 meters high. Its cranes will be equipped with double lift Satellites® able to carry industry and Euro palettes weighing up to 1,000 kilograms, into channels which are 16 pallets deep.”Other systems would require many more cranes to serve such deep channels,” explains Paulus Paulusma, Project Manager of Westfalia. In addition, the storage area will have a reduced oxygen atmosphere. This guarantees a maximum fire protection.
The front area of the logistics center will be used for picking, distribution and incoming goods. It consists of two levels connected by an elevator. On the ground floor, twelve truck gates and an automated unloading system (Speedloader) will build the interface with transport logistics. In this area will be another Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS) for route preparation. More than 700 meters with automated roll and chain conveyors link the two main areas and secure a fast flow of products between production, incoming goods, the storage warehouse, picking zones and the distribution area. Goods to be stored will enter the AS/RS via two ways: from a gate connected to the neighboring production site, or via conveyors located on the ground floor of the distribution area.
Economical and ecological solution
“The Westfalia Satellite high density warehouse will be an economical and ecological solution for McCain. It really saves on energy and money because less space is requested and fewer automated cranes have to be in operation compared to alternative systems,” says Jack Kloosterboer, Managing Partner of Kloosterboer. A Satellite AS/RS needs fewer cranes and aisles than solutions like double-deep warehouses because they have a storage and retrieving capacity up to 16 palettes deep. “Less cranes just consume less energy. And when running the system they produce less heat that the cooling systems would have to cool down again. Less aisles also mean less air that has to be cooled down to -24 degrees at all times consuming a lot of electricity”, adds Paulusma. In addition, the high density warehouse has ecological advantages because it substitutes eight regional warehouses and helps McCain to reduce its truck traffic a lot.
Westfalia’s Savanna.NET® software will be handling the warehouse management of the system, including batch tracing. Savanna.NET manages and controls the flow of goods respecting both the best-before dates and FIFO (first in – first out) warehouse strategy. “To be able to handle peak demand in the most effective way Savanna.net organizes a continual relocation from the storage warehouse to the distribution warehouse, while considering truck tours too. The output of the system will be up to 250 pallets per hour”, says Paulusma.
“After intensive analysis and the calculation of alternatives, we decided to construct the logistics centre in Harnes in cooperation with Kloosterboer and Westfalia. McCain will invest about 42 million Euros here. With the new logistics centre we will save unnecessary transport and electricity costs and boost our commitment to sustainability. The biggest cold store in France will be a sustainable logistics system amongst family enterprises”, says Jean Bernou, President McCain Central Europe.