Swisslog BeverageLogistics Tracks Beer at German Brewery

As a means of guaranteeing continuous traceability of batches from beverage production in accordance with EU directive 178/2002, Bitburger Brauerei, one of the largest private breweries in Germany, implements Swisslog's logistics solution BeverageLogistics. The product combines the functionalities of Swisslog's WarehouseManager system with a lift truck guidance system and a radio-based module for physical product tracking. Swisslog also realizes the customization of the material handling technology of Bitburger's filling systems necessary for implementing BeverageLogistics. The brewery already began integrating the solution to optimize the management of its block storage area.

The filling lines at the Bitburger Brauerei produce 500 loaded beverage pallets per hour. These pallets are deposited in a block storage area of approx. 20,000 storage locations until they are dispatched to the customer. Every day an average of 250 truck loads with a total of approximately 7,700 pallets leaves the brewery.

A fully functional logistics system is essential i to handle a volume of 4.5 million hectoliters of beer efficiently. Given the binding force of EU directive 178/2002 as of 2005, for every bottle and every keg produced, beverage producers are also obliged to prove accurately from which production batch their goods come, onto which trucks they are loaded, and to which customer they are ultimately delivered and when.

For continuous traceability, Bitburger Brauerei will utilize the BeverageLogistics System from Swisslog in the future. Swisslog developed the integrated logistics solution consisting of warehouse management software, a forklift guidance system and physical goods tracking together with the company LOCANIS specifically for optimizing the storing and removal of pallets from block storage areas.

With the help of BeverageLogistics Bitburger is able to track the distribution of its products accurately. Lift trucks have to be equipped with sensors that determine the position of individual pallets in multi stacks using position control and angle definition. The system transmits the respective coordinates by radio frequencies to the integrated warehouse management system. BeverageLogistics also plans and monitors the routes taken by the lift truck operators from the filling systems to the block storage area. All data necessary to trace and track the goods -- from production to storage to distribution -- is saved electronically. Compliance with EU directive 178/2002 is thereby ensured.

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