Nestlé to automate baby and infant food plant by 2017
The company will integrate a warehouse shuttle system with connecting conveyor system and automated guided vehicles (AGVs), to begin operations in January 2017.
24/7 operation of Nestlé’s intralogistics flow
Michaël Coryn, marketing communications manager, Egemin, told DairyReporter the company relied on its experience in the automation of food industry processes to turn ‘this challenging project in infant and baby food production into a success’.
“In recent years Egemin has been providing more customers in the demanding food production industry with a smart and cost-effective intralogistics solution thanks to the use of intelligent systems and AGVs,” he said.
Designed according to Egemin's concept, the integrated warehouse system ensures a 24/7 operation of Nestlé’s intralogistics flows.
One of the challenges the company found during concept development was how the system would best fit into the available space.
The decision was based on storage capacity, requirements of the product line and the need to comply with sensitive food production guidelines.
The warehouse system is monitored and controlled by E'wms, Egemin's proprietary warehouse management software.
Conventional conveyor systems will control the handling of materials into both the warehouse and production areas.
Automatic waste disposal
Egemin E’gv’s will support these processes by supplying empty cans from storage and automatic waste disposal.
An additional warehouse for storage of sensitive materials that need to be supplied to the production line will be integrated in the system.
An automated forklift truck takes care of the storage and retrieval process in this warehouse.
According to Gerhard Berssenbrügge, CEO, Nestlé Germany, the factory in Biessenhofen continues to grow with the installation of a production line for hypoallergenic infant milk and plans to invest another €20m in the next few years.
"The new line combines an aseptic filling process with advanced sterilization technology for the highest taste quality and durability. In addition, the vitamins are optimally preserved in the infant milk," said Tim Keller, plant manager, Nestlé Biessenhofen.
Egemin Automation, headquartered in Belgium, has eight offices worldwide including the Netherlands, France, Germany, UK, US, China and Hong Kong.
Since August 2015, the company has been part of the KION Group, and together they acquired Retrotech for $40m, a US systems integrator of warehouse and distribution technology, with the deal expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.
Retrotech specializes in systems design, customized warehouse control software and stacker crane modernization and retrofits to ensure warehouse systems remain in good working order.
It has around 140 employees and generated revenue of approximately $70m in 2015. Retrotech will be held by Egemin Group Inc., based in Holland, Michigan, and be an operative part of Egemin Automation.