Veghel, 27 March 2017 – Vanderlande is pleased to announce the successful completion of a pilot project executed together with LIDL following a trial period lasting several years. At the heart of the pilot project was Vanderlande’s Automated Case Picking system (ACP), which was subjected to intensive testing at LIDL’s site in Hartheim near Freiburg. The final results led to a decision being taken to implement the ACP solution from Vanderlande together in future projects.
The ACP concept makes it possible to fully automate the picking processes in distribution centres. Upon reaching the goods receipt area, the manufacturer’s supplied product ranges are automatically unstacked, checked, scanned and stored in an automated storage and retrieval system in which shuttles from Vanderlande’s comprehensive shuttle portfolio are used for storage and retrieval purposes. Packages retrieved from there are moved to the palletising area via automated conveyor systems, where they are then loaded onto a pallet by a robot fitted with a special gripper. The pallets, filled in a manner appropriate for each sales outlet, are automatically shrink-wrapped and labelled and are then ready for dispatch to the sales outlets.
The pilot system was designed in such a way so that the sales outlet pallets were introduced into the supply chain, meaning that they were used under realistic conditions. The various LIDL product groups were tested for their ACP ability with the operational capability of the ACP being continuously expanded.
As a result of the stringent requirements regarding the quality of sales outlet pallets, a great deal of attention was paid in particular to the LIDL-specific requirements for the central Load Forming Logic (LFL) software from Vanderlande. The underlying software algorithm is essential for the robots to be able to pack the various packages in the desired order in a stable manner that is easy to use for the sales outlets in question.
Both LIDL as well as Vanderlande gained valuable experience during the course of the on-site tests. Both organisations were able to incorporate the learnings into an extended concept and is now offered by Vanderlande in the form of ACP 2.0.
“The experience we have gained together has allowed us to raise the ACP concept to a new level and significantly increase added value for our customers. We are delighted to have found a partner like LIDL who is willing to put our developments under the most stringent of testing in real-time conditions and work with us to optimise them“, explained Matthias Kramm, Managing Director of Vanderlande Industries GmbH Mönchengladbach.
LIDL took the decision to subject the concept to this trial phase in order to ensure its feasibility in general. "The modularity that the Vanderlande ACP system provides allows us to incorporate the individual needs of our sites into warehouse planning measures", concluded Mark Ebeling, Director of Intralogistics. "The ACP is an additional component of the logistics concepts of the future".
The ACP 2.0 concept from Vanderlande is now being used by various food retailers throughout Europe, with the likes of Leclerc in France and Albert Heijn in the Netherlands recently opting for Vanderlande’s automatic picking system.