Beverage giant Asahi has more than doubled productivity at its new Heathwood distribution centre in Brisbane with an Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) from Dematic.

The company previously used manual forklifts for block stacking across multiple locations at its distribution centres, which according to Nathan Lucinsky, manager of the Heathwood DC at Asahi, came with numerous disadvantages.

“We previously had a very labour-intensive system in place, with every truck that came in having to be unloaded by a forklift. We then had to receive the paperwork manually, check the pallets manually, move the pallets into the storage location, and then do all that in reverse to pick them,” he said.

Seeking reduced costs, improved efficiency and productivity, and a better capacity to meet customer needs, Asahi decided to consolidate its sites into one DC and automate its warehouse. The Dematic solution it chose has met all those goals, said Dominic Figliano, project manager.

“After assessing Asahi’s warehouse requirements, we knew that the best solution for them was the six-deep satellite ASRS. The ASRS we built for Asahi uses Dematic’s newest and fastest crane, the 1200 H1. This is also the tallest satellite system we have built in Australia.

“An automated system such as this eliminates a lot of the manual handling of pallets. This not only creates efficiencies and a high productivity boost of 250 per cent for the customer, but also increases safety for workers in not having as many forklifts,” said Figliano.

The new system extends six pallets deep on either side of the six cranes, which are accessed by satellite carts. The high bay racking at the DC is 13 levels high and 34 bays deep, with a total of around 31,500 pallet storage positions.

According to Lucinsky, the Dematic ASRS has helped the company reduce manual touches, which cost money and come with the risk of human error.

“We’ve now automated our warehouse processes and only use manual processes where it makes sense. In fact, most of our pallets won't be touched by a human until they get to our customer DC,” he said, adding that Asahi chose Dematic because of the manufacturer’s experience in delivering similar products to the local market.

Dematic has also supplied Asahi with third-party equipment including skate docks, stretch wrapping machinery, label applicators, and a pallet inverter.

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