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Crystal clear processes - CIM operates and optimises the warehouse at Glaswerk Ernstthal GmbH


CIM GmbH’s Warehouse Management System was implemented at Glaswerk Ernstthal in April 2015. The software steers storage and retrieval transactions, maps the block storage area with around 50,000 pallet slots and manages the loading processes at the glass works.

Glaswerk Ernstthal GmbH manufactures glass bottles in various shapes and colours. The product portfolio includes around 1200 different articles, ranging from 10 ml dropper bottles and bottles in grape or snowman design right through to large-volume liqueur and vodka bottles. The glass is produced in three tanks in which the crystaline raw materials are melted into liquid glass and then poured into a mould to be formed into the appropriate articles. Glaswerk Ernsttal mainly produces disposable bottles made of clear class, and their main customers come from the food industry.

The new software has helped Glaswerk Ernstthal to standardise their internal processes and optimise the transactions in their warehouse so that they now have a throughput of 1,500 storages and retrievals daily. »We wanted to guarantee seamless traceability of the goods in one and the same system«, explains Ingo Pokorny, project manager at Glaswerke, »and we weren’t able to achieve that with our own home-made software solution based on Microsoft SQL server.«

Block storage area with 50,000 pallet slots

The goods at Glaswerk’s warehouse are stored in block storage areas with around 50,000 pallet slots. Specially organised block storage areas for large quantities of the same article or batch can be managed using PROLAG®World. The software makes sure that a double row is reserved for batches that do not fit into a single block storage row given the sheer quantity of articles, for example, so that the articles are stored side by side. An individual glass bottle may be fragile, but there’s safety in numbers: lined up in rows on the pallet and well packed, up to four tiers can be stacked one on top of the other. The software determines how high the articles can be stacked based on their characteristics.

Software collects the pallets from production

As soon as the pallets containing the finished glass bottles leave the palletising area where they are shrink-wrapped, PROLAG®World comes into play: the host system reports each finished pallet to the Warehouse Management software so that they can be booked into the system. The software looks for the most suitable storage location for the pallets. Since the production facility is in Ernstthal, but the logistics centre is located around four kilometres away in Herrnberg, the glass cargo must first be transported by truck before it can be put into storage.

The logistics centre in Herrnberg has a total of six storage halls with various different storage areas. The goods are initially placed in a buffer storage area, in other words, the pallets for the different storage areas are gathered together, sorted and then loaded with regard to the optimal route through the warehouse.

Straight from pallet conveyor to cargo truck

The storage process starts with the arrival of the truck. As soon as the driver scans the truck, PROLAG®World automatically books the pallets from the pallet conveyor (CARGOMATIC®) onto the truck. For the transports between production facility and warehouse, Glaswerk has two special cargo trucks equipped with conveying systems. This means that the finished pallets can be loaded from the conveyor belt in the production hall straight onto the conveyor belt in the truck. All the pallets on the conveyor belt are booked by scanning the ID of the belt.

The driver transports the loaded goods to the logistics centre. When they arrive there, the process takes place in reverse order. Again, the pallets are delivered at the destination location by scanning the ID of the conveyor.

Up to 60 truckloads daily

If goods are to be removed from the logistics centre in Herrnberg, PROLAG®World receives the delivery order from the host system. The order is reserved and released manually. The order and the loading list are allocated to one of the 20 or so forklift drivers. The forklift driver confirms that he or she has collected the pallets by scanning the pallet IDs and then sees the destination loading dock on the display. Once all the pallets have been loaded, the transport vehicle is closed manually by an employee in the shipping office. PROLAG®World then triggers printing of the shipping documents and sends a confirmation to the host system. Between 50 and 60 truckloads of glass bottles leave the logistics centre every day.

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