Turnkey handling solution pre-arranges loads, paperwork, at Coca Cola
ICA's expansion into the widespread materials handling solutions market has gained even more momentum through a turnkey solution for one of the most demanding manufacturers of consumer product, Coca-Cola Amatil.
With transport being a key component of Coca-Cola's distribution system, ICA was commissioned to design and manufacture as well as implement loading and unloading facilities at two sites in Victoria for its beverages operation.
Installations were undertaken at both the existing production facility, located in Moorabbin, and the new distribution warehouse in Mentone.
Coca Cola’s requirements were for a system that is able to pre-arrange product to conform to transportation requirements and load/unload palletised product in an efficient and reliable way, as well as reduce time and handling costs associated with existing/standard practices.
What also had to be taken into consideration was that the client will be serving all types of businesses with huge variations in delivery quantities: ranging from the largest supermarket chains down to the local grocery stores.
Managing director of ICA, Mr Don Erskine, says until recently, Coca-Cola Amatil would most likely have approached a foreign company to design, manufacture and implement such a sophisticated system as leading materials handling suppliers in Australia had lost pace with world’s best practice.
"However, for ICA, a key aspect of the success of this project was that we are an all Australian company, based in Australia, that can deliver a rapid turnkey result," said Mr Erskine.
"By being local, we were able to significantly reduce the turnaround time compared to what an offshore supplier could deliver.
"We were able to deliver on time and on budget a modern and materials handling systems coordinated across two high-volume sites that can work in synchronicity to facilitate a rapid and constant product-to-market demand by Coca-Cola."
Coca Cola Amatil set a requirement for reduced handling associated with trailer loading and unloading to and from production and storage facilities throughout the state of Victoria.
"This was a critical issue,” said Mr Erskine. “The less handling, the better the return per truck trip, and when it is taken into consideration that these two depots have the capacity to load and unload on a 24/7 basis, over the course of each financial year the client will see very significant returns.
"The idea is to automate docks so virtually no handling is involved. The use of expensive forklifts is obsolete as a mechanism performs all the loading and unloading, thereby eliminating all occupational health and safety issues associated with manual handling.
"The software link between both depots is in real-time so that plant management is kept constantly up-to-date with quantities of product movement."
ICA designed, manufactured and implemented two types of docks - Route Docks and General Docks - to meet schedules servicing local small businesses as well as supermarket chains.
Route Docks operate using a specially designed air skate system that engages with a specialised flat-floor trailer configuration with inbuilt air guide rails for the loading of product.
With the General Docks, a chain conveyor system combined with an air operated powered chain floor trailer facilitates both loading and unloading of product.
The docks receive product from an automated conveyor-driven delivery system that rapidly forms the pallets into complete pre-arranged trailer loads, allowing trailers to be loaded in a turnaround time of 2-3 minutes.
"This is exceptionally productive as the pre-arranged forming of a complete load actually takes place before the transport vehicle has arrived to collect the load,” said Mr Erskine.
"This system is infinitely faster than the archaic method of reversing an empty truck into the dock, using expensive and potentially dangerous forklifts to load the truck pallet by pallet, then checking off the paperwork before delivery starts.