Clairefontaine: High productivity in automated warehouses

A robotised warehouse means high productivity at Clairefontaine in France

Video transcription

Alsace, France, is home to Clairefontaine, one of France's longest-established manufacturers of paper and paper products.

For more than 160 years, the business has implemented environmentally sustainable production systems to manufacture its products.

When expanding its warehouse, the company decided to incorporate the latest technologies in all its processes. Mecalux took part in the project from day one.

Mecalux is an internationally renowned company, and that gave us the guarantees we were looking for. Our investment was centred on automating all our warehousing areas dedicated to palletised products. Mecalux supplied all the solutions. It’s designed 3 storage zones adapted to our needs and to the characteristics of our goods. Additionally, it’s walked us through the process, giving us advice. And this has made it possible to implement an effective solution and strengthen our position as a leader in the sector.

Florian ChalleLogistics Manager

The Mecalux technical team worked together with the Clairefontaine team to come up with a solution that would meet its needs down to the last detail.

The result is a logistics centre consisting of 3 warehousing solutions with fully automated operations.

  • An automated Pallet Shuttle storage system,
  • An automated storage system for picking,
  • And a pallet rack storage system with automatic trilateral turret trucks.

The automated Pallet Shuttle system stands 13 metres tall by 153 metres long. It has 3 aisles with blocks of racking on each side that can hold 5 to 7 pallets deep.

The total capacity of this solution is 20,611 pallets.

The Pallet Shuttle zone is fully automated and provides the maximum storage capacity by storing the loads in the channels in a compact way. In this part of the warehouse, a stacker crane operates in each aisle. These machines house motorised shuttles in their cradles, moving them along the different levels to pick or deposit goods as requested by the system. The shuttles are recharged in the cradle of the stacker cranes.

This system is ideal for mass-consumption products with a large number of pallets per SKU.

The automated system for picking is made up of a single aisle with pallet racking on both sides. These racks hold the SKUs required for the picking tasks.

A stacker crane circulates in this aisle, inserting and removing pallets from their locations automatically and assisted by a conveyor line.

The stacker crane operates at a speed of 180 metres per minute.

The racking has 4 levels offering storage capacity for 744 pallets.

A transfer car distributes the pallets from the storage areas to each of the pick stations.

These are equipped with computer terminals and tables that raise the pallets to an ergonomic position. The operator picks the boxes directly off the pallet from the storage zones and places them on the outgoing pallets.

Just next to the pick stations is the consolidation area, where finished orders are checked, stretch wrapped and labelled for dispatch.

The pallet rack storage system houses low-turnover products. It comprises 7 aisles with pallet racking on both sides. Two automatic trilateral turret trucks access the various aisles and all the pallets.

This area has a total capacity of 5,985 pallets.

AGVs, or automatic guided vehicles, are charged with bringing the goods closer to or removing them from the ends of the aisles.

Most of the products arriving at the logistics centre have to be put on slave pallets to ensure their stability inside the warehouse. For this operation, Mecalux has installed a conveyor line with a pallet doppler that deposits the goods on the slave pallets. The products leaving the warehouse are once again placed on this conveyor line to recover the slave pallet and use it at another time.

Outgoing pallets are moved to the preload area where they are grouped by order or route, ready for dispatch.

Mecalux has implemented Easy WMS, a powerful warehouse management system that controls and coordinates all logistics processes, getting the most out of all operations in the different storage areas.

Meanwhile, the Galileo control system guarantees the correct operation of the electromechanical elements in the logistics centre as well as compliance with safety measures.

This software enables us to control our warehouse operations and properly manage all goods inflows and outflows. It also makes it possible to assign locations based on product characteristics and turnover. In addition, we can optimise order prep at the pick stations by defining the exit order of the goods.

Florian ChalleLogistics Manager

The solution provided by Mecalux will help Clairefontaine to bolster its leadership in the industry and enhance its prospects for future growth. In a single logistics centre, it has installed three storage systems with completely automated operations. The Easy WMS warehouse management system is a tool capable of optimising all processes, helping Clairefontaine to provide more efficient service.