Founded in 1975, Oxford Cold Storage initially served the surrounding meat producers. The first cold storage was built near the poultry processing plant of the Cambridge Poultry Distribution Company. After years of development, the company specializes in providing services to processed food manufacturers, food importers and exporters and pharmaceutical companies. The company's management department has developed a number of systems and invested a lot of money in the technology field to provide the best possible service to customers.
Investing in Dematic Automated Guided Vehicles
Due to the rising cost pressure, the company decided to try the Dematic automatic guided vehicle. Retailers are lowering consumer goods prices and tighter liquidity in the supply chain, causing third-party logistics companies such as Oxford to lose profits.
Mark Fleisig, CIO of Oxford Cold Storage, said: "We realized that in the long run, automated guided vehicles can help us save a lot of money, so it has become an attractive option." The car can work 24 hours a day, and it can work in a cold storage of minus 25 degrees Celsius at night, without the need for lighting. The use of automated guided vehicles in the warehouse means to ensure occupational health and safety and reduce the cost of human error.
The Oxford Cold Storage can store 175,000 pallets, 1 million cubic meters of storage capacity and 400-500 staff. It plans to implement automated guided vehicles in phases, with the ultimate goal of using automated guided vehicles to handle more than 90% of the cargo.
“We currently have five automated guided vehicles under test, working in a cold storage that stores 7,000 pallets,” Mark said. “However, using an automated guided vehicle does not mean sacrificing the ability to solve problems manually. We want to use automation to maintain the flexibility of the manual warehouse.”
Instead of rebuilding a new automated cold storage, Oxford Cold Storage chose to use automated guided vehicles in existing cold storage. This saved the company millions of dollars, but it also brought some challenges. Each small work area is measured, drawn, and digitized to ensure that the cold storage environment is suitable for automated guided vehicle operation.
The automated guided vehicle used in the Oxford Cold Storage uses a laser navigation system. The laser scanner on the top of the automatic guided vehicle measures the angle and distance of the reflector mounted on the wall and the shelf. Then, the position of the trolley in the warehouse is calculated by the principle of triangulation, and moved to the designated position of the program, and the positioning accuracy is achieved. +/- 5.0 mm.
The automatic guided vehicle can carry standard pallets of 1165 mm x 1165 mm size with a maximum lifting weight (including pallets) of 1300 kg.
In order to check for errors and improve efficiency, Oxford Cold Storage plans to install a conveyor line. The manual forklift removes the pallet from the truck and sends it to the conveyor line for scanning and storage.
Once in the warehouse, the pallets will be labeled and sent to the main warehouse. There, the automated guided handlebars are delivered to the shelves. One of the most important tasks is to set up the program to allow the automated guided vehicle to work as required.
Unlike many other companies that use third-party management software, Oxford Cold Storage uses its own warehouse management software. Therefore, in order for the entire system to function properly, it is crucial to establish a clear communication line between the Oxford cold storage warehouse management system and the automated guided vehicle software.
Mark said: "Our idea is to drive the entire system only through its own warehouse management system, so that it can be consistent, there is no need to retrain the operators to use the new software." "Conveyor system first docked with the automated guided vehicle system, Then our warehouse management system can be connected to both the conveyor system and the automated guided vehicle system."
The robot came to the warehouse
The five cars used are model HR-1300-94 SSRF, which is specifically designed for the needs of the Oxford cold storage. The car is 3,825 mm high and 2,560 mm long, each weighing 5,800 kg, and the lifting height can reach more than 9 meters.
The trolley is designed with three AC motors, the drive unit, the steering unit and the lifting unit. The AC drive converts the battery's DC power to three-phase AC. The AGV controller is responsible for managing the main functions of the car.
The car uses a special LED gel battery pack that allows for high current charging and the battery is sealed for extended life. When the battery is low, the car will automatically charge to the charging area. The charger is a charging board mounted on the ground and can be connected to the car charging slot. Each trolley has a manual control device that is manually stopped when vehicle maintenance or manual operation is required.
The touch screen operation control panel displays information such as battery status, navigation and position status, fault identification, speed settings, and more.
Exciting logistics automation
After normal operation, the five automated guided vehicles move about 500 pallets per day in a single shift in the cold storage, and finally achieve the goal of processing 4000 pallets in 24 hours.
“Without affecting normal operations, we have tested the car system and hope to accurately understand the operating capabilities of the automated guided vehicle, especially in the cold storage environment, thus clarifying the future development of automated logistics solutions. direction."