Swisslog and KUKA are automating the distribution logistics at Almarai
With the automation of the flow of goods, the Saudi dairy company Almarai intends to increase the efficiency of its logistics. The goal: having processes run more quickly, transit quantities increased and costs reduced. The solution for the proposed improvements is delivered by Swisslog, supported by KUKA Industries.
The initial situation
The Saudi Arabian group Almarai is one of the largest vertically integrated dairy companies in the world. It also produces fruit juices, baked goods, poultry and infant formula – fresh foods and refrigerated foods as well as long-life foods. The largest Almarai factory is situated in Al Kharj. In order to efficiently manage the complex flows of goods at that location, Almarai decided to perform a complete strategic reorientation of its logistics.
Almarai intends to continue its decades of success and expand on its competitive position. This is why the complete distribution logistics will be automated and related processes will be optimized – from intralogistics solutions and commissioning systems to delivery chain management and maintenance. While doing so, the highest regulatory requirements regarding processing and handling of foodstuffs must be satisfied. In addition, the complex climatic conditions have to be taken into account. While the components may be installed at extremely high temperatures, subsequently when the logistics center is in operation the systems have to work in a refrigerated environment at three to five degrees Centigrade.
A great advantage is the experience in the region that both Swisslog and KUKA Industries have. A further advantage is the expertise of the two companies which are united within the KUKA Group. Swisslog is providing Almarai with several warehouses for palletized finished goods and a fully automated picking and goods distribution center. Swisslog is also managing five sub-projects which implement the internal logistics systems within the various factories; step by step so that the company can continue to operate at the same time. The multi-million euro project includes supply and installation of the following components:
storage and retrieval machines
refrigerated trucks (Automatic Reefer Loading System, ARLS)
systems for automatic loading of HGVs
automatic picking modules supplied by KUKA
electric monorail suspension systems
SAP’s warehouse management system to control the material flows and data intelligently and efficiently
Thanks to the combined experience of Swisslog and KUKA, Almarai benefits from a solution which enables future growth and embodies the age of ‘industry 4.0’ with state-of-the-art, robot-based automation supported by data management.