Alnatura builds on REA JET coding and marking solutions
Alnatura is a big player within the organic food industry: The company achieved a turnover of 762 million euros in their financial year 2015/2016, employs more than 2.800 people, operates more than 100 own branches and supplies 14.200 branches of trading partners in eleven countries. In order to keep logistics pace with the constant growth, the organic retailer established a new distribution center for organic food in 2010. Located in Lorsch, 20.800 square meters provide space for 17.000 pallet places. In 2014, the site was extended again by the world's largest high-bay warehouse. It offers space for 35.000 pallets on eight levels.
Full-time rush hour: On site, they work in three shifts on six days a week. Up to 2.000 pallets leave the center heading to trading partners every day. Only the marking with shipping information enables the correct, customer-specific assignment of all orders. Due to the large capacity and the high speed, a fully automated coding and marking solution is required.
Alnatura engaged the warehouse expert Swisslog, who guides the distribution center as general contractor. After checking diverse quotations, Alnatura finally opted for pallet labeling systems of REA JET. The systems were especially developed for the integration into logistical processes. REA JET scored with performance and flexibility, as Matthias Lindner (Head of Logistics and Services) reports. Particularly, the flexible labeling of the pallets at different heights and from two sides are distinguishing features of the delivered REA systems.
Precision and efficiency
Since spring 2014, three REA JET pallets are operated at the Alnatura logistics center. There, all pallets are picked and transported by conveyor. The pallets, previously wrapped with stretch film, are marked with a pallet label on the front and on the longitudinal side. The modern and robust REA application mechanism realizes a very precise label application at different heights: thanks to the ProfiBus interface, the corresponding height information of every pallet is transferred by conveying technology to the labeling system. At double-sided labeling, up to 120 pallets with 240 labels per hour can be printed and applied. It is also possible to realize one-sided labeling as well as three-sided labeling on the front, longitudinal and rear sides.
The input and modification of parameters is realized via an integrated terminal with an illuminated, high-contrast LCD display. Content is displayed as human readable text. The user-friendly touch panel is easy to use. An easy handling in daily operation has a high priority for Alnatura. Vario quick release mandrels enables an uncomplicated and fast exchange of labels. The interface programming for the data communication allowed for an easy integration into the existing production environment. Moreover, there is a flexible connection to the ERP system, from which the print data are transferred.
At REA, interfaces via TCP / IP, DP coupling and the digital data exchange but also a large portfolio of print module manufacturers are standard. Thus, even special customer requirements can be realized as well. The use of high-quality standard components and the freely programmable, integrated Siemens S7 control makes the system flexible. The compact, modular design allows an easy integration into the existing production environment as well as the quick system configuration. In addition, the REA JET pallet labeling system is also available in stainless steel. The use within cooling and even freezing zone (-24 ° C) is possible as well.
All from a single source
REA JET develops and produces all labeling systems at the company's headquarters in Mühltal, Germany. A team of specialists located in Halle / Westfalen constructs tailor-made labeling systems in direct dialogue with the customers. In addition to the highly individual special machine construction, REA also provides self-developed and constructed standard labeling systems. The company offers all-in-one solutions from a single source including hardware and software. Thus, customers benefit from perfectly matched system solutions. The portfolio of in-house label and print dispensers is complemented by thermal transfer printing modules of e.g. Novexx, CAB, Zebra and other suppliers. There is also a wide range of consumables, such as labels and ink ribbons.
Thanks to in-house development and production, individual applications can be realized. For example, print and apply systems can be integrated or different coding and marking systems can be combined. At thermal transfer printing, components such as ribbon, printer and label have to be brought into harmony. REA JET experts can sample the ideal material combination and verify code quality with REA VERIFIER devices. The flexible adaptation to most diverse requirements is facilitated by the modular technology design. Thus, every customer receives a suitable and individual coding and marking solution.
For Alnatura, the REA JET labeling systems represent well-integrated, reliable components that ensure efficiency and capable processes in their state-of-the-art warehouse: "A logistics center of this scale requires perfection", highlights Matthias Lindner, Head of Logistics and Services. He also compliments REA JET on the comprehensive service. Currently they are running a concept phase for a REA robotic labeling system. Thanks to the precise label application, such a system will offer decisive advantages for marking partial pallets. One thing is certain: Alnatura continues to rely on REA JET technology in the future as well.