Casebook 2011: Retrofitted AS/RS expands capacity 150% for Fage
Based in Athens, Greece, Fage produces a popular yogurt. After much success in Europe, the company expanded into the U.S. market and the additional growth necessitated an expansion into a new building for both the manufacturing and storage capacity.
Back in early 2008, Fage USA opened a new manufacturing plant and distribution center with a single-aisle automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS; Westfalia Technologies, 800-673-2522, http://www.westfaliausa.com)) designed to store 1,600 refrigerated pallets. The rapidly growing company soon realized the need for additional storage and expanded its high-density storage system to accommodate 4,100 pallet positions—a 150% growth.
The new storage/retrieval machine (SRM) handles both the existing and expanded distribution center with an extended aisle. The 150% growth was made possible by extending the crane aisle for more storage lanes and increasing the depth of those storage lanes.
New rack entry vehicles are capable of storing pallets up to 12 deep in a single lane, which allows for the company’s expansion without the need for an additional SRM. Without this capability, the company would have needed a building 25% larger to accommodate the additional storage.
At only 33 feet high, the facility’s height is typical of conventional warehouses, but with the high-density AS/RS technology, its dense four-level cubic storage requires a smaller building footprint, thereby having less impact on the environment around the facility.
Designing for growth was only one of the company’s objectives. Others included buffering the product from manufacturing, full pallet movement, case picking, and buffered pre-picked material back into the AS/RS for future truck loading. The system handles individual orders, distribution center orders, and combinations of both, in advance and just in time.