ES Elektro and Mach FTD have automated their logistics for the largest regional E-Commerce player
The Romanian E-Commerce industry has been growing at a very fast rate in recent years. According to a report made by the GPEC organisation, an organisation that specialises in E-Commerce events and Online Marketing, the value of online shopping in Romania increased by around 30% in 2018 compared to the previous year, reaching the threshold of €3.5 billion. At a European level, Romania has seen the highest growth in Europe for the second consecutive year.
Also, the number of these stores doubled in 2018, reaching over 15,000 merchants.
“This industry is just starting out in our country and it still has huge potential for growth, but this requires the expansion of the digital infrastructure and digital competences among the population, as a large part of the population does not have access to the internet, especially in rural areas”,
said the CEO of the largest online store in Romania and one of the largest in Central and Eastern Europe, with revenues of about €1 billion in 2017. Two years ago, he invested about €63 million in a giant logistics warehouse, located near Bucharest. Finished in 11 months, the construction is a well-thought-out facility where people and robots work side-by-side and that can store over two million products. The development of this warehouse was essential for the Black Friday promotion of the online store as now 120 lorries can be loaded simultaneously on the 126,000 sqm platform. The warehouse has 270 skylights for natural light and benefits from underfloor heating, the installation has a total length of 250 km. The electrical installations are the same length.
The warehouse has 400 employees and 100 pieces of electrical machinery, including robots. Employees have a dining hall with 180 seats, and a sports court of 1,500 sqm, where they can play football, tennis or basketball. Robots do not yet need such facilities.
Technical solutions that change the Romanian logistics
ES Elektro, in partnership with MACH FTD, has successfully implemented the logistics automation project in this mega-warehouse. Reaching a total of €2 million, the work involved, from a technical standpoint, the installation of a system made up of several types of conveyors, which would increase the efficiency of the logistics process; the replenishment, picking and packing operations of the goods from the three-level warehouse. The goods are received by the operators in the reception area and are then processed, placed in plastic containers and put onto the replenishment line. The plastic containers then pass through the flow weighing system and also through two diverting areas. Afterwards, they are carried to the three lifts in order to take them to the three floors and ground floor. In the picking areas, operators carry out picking activities using plastic containers placed on trolleys and, once the operation is finished, the containers are manually fed to the main lines on the higher floors and ground floor, as soon as space is available on the conveyor. Product containers are then transported from the picking areas to the single-order packing area, multi-order packing area and the showrooms. Then, the final packages are manually placed onto belt conveyors by the operators in order to transport them to the sorting system. Operators ensure that they do not feed two parallel or overlapped products onto a belt. Belt conveyors feed the products into the sorter injectors, the flow being subsequently managed by the sorter.
MACH FTD: “The customer played an important part”
The MACH FTD company handled the belt and roller conveyors, choosing a German solution, Gebhardt Fordertechnik, a well-known brand on the market, founded in 1952.
“This project is the result of extensive design activity, comparative analysis of alternative solutions, process simulations, and efficiency calculations that have been conducted over a period of one and a half years. The client played an important part in defining the final solution, proving a great knowledge not only of their own business, but also of the modern technologies encountered in the logistics industry. The technical solution, covering the reception, picking and packing activities, followed by a cross belt sorter, has allowed a considerable increase of the order processing capacity in this E-Commerce sector, along with the decrease of human resources involved in the process”
explains Cristian Chiorescu, General Manager of MACH FTD.
“The project was successfully deployed, and the customer was satisfied both with the quality of the equipment used, the quality of the installation and commissioning works, and the subsequent support provided during the start-up period and the actual production”
claims Cristian Chiorescu.
MACH FTD is a Romanian business, founded in 1994, specialising in industrial technical solutions, as is among one of the first companies to develop a complex portfolio of industrial equipment and services for their integration into complex production lines.
The ES ELEKTRO solution
ES Elektro provided a good part of the system automation, using Siemens equipment as part of a Profinet communication architecture between PLC type 1200 and PLC type 1500 control units. The AS-i communication solution for DC roller conveyors was also included in the architecture, and the control for the belt conveyors was ensured by inverters from the SINAMICS V20 range, on a USI communication protocol.
“For ES ELEKTRO it was an important project, in a very dynamic field, for a major customer in this part of Europe. Our automation solutions have blended perfectly with those chosen by our partner, MACH, on the conveyor side, and the customer was delighted with the results”
states Eduard Zaharia, technical consultant for ES Elektro Romania.
“It was a difficult task, on a tight schedule of just three months, because the beneficiary wanted to have the warehouse ready for Black Friday, a time with the highest sales and the most deliveries”
says Eduard Zaharia.