An automatic warehouse for Safta Spa, in the textile industry, which duplicated storage capacity.
Safta Spa was founded in 1925 producing textile fibers, in particular viscose-rayon, but in 1932 became one of the first Italian companies to introduce cellulose processing to the domestic market. Thanks to special techniques, Safta achieved a new film for the protection of cellophane packaging, becoming a world leader in flexible packaging.
The company is mainly recognized for its detailed customization of various packaging, printed and plotted through special steel cylinders. It was from the storage of these cylinders, extremely delicate and precious to the customizations, that problems in Safta’s warehouse arose.
Since 1994, the company has been equipped with an automatic storage system with a storage capacity of approximately 7040 locations; over time, it was necessary to introduce changes to meet three specific objectives: keeping up with growth in activity, affirming success in new markets and renewing the warehouse that was now marked by the wear of time.
The input and output stages were one of the problems because, being manually handled, they often caused damage to the printing cylinders.
The solution proposed by Automha has allowed Safta to keep the original warehouse structure, but strengthen it, leading to considerable optimization and savings. The storage activity is organized into different areas depending on the merchandise type and the type of interaction with the production lines. The warehouse is thus divided into an area for raw materials and semi-finished products, a shipping warehouse, and the warehouse for printing cylinders storage.
For the latter area, Automha has carefully studied all types of cylinders, and their handling flows and storage requirements, thereby increasing the stocking capacity and automating all operations to preserve the goods’ structure.
The shelving already in place has been refurbished by combining two sheds divided by a symmetrical rack, and a new facade was built, doubling the storage capacity. The plant built by Automha is thus constituted of 7 rows of dual-sided bi-level shelves, plus 2 rows of single-sided, bi-level shelves. The total capacity of the warehouse has grown from 7,400 to 14,700 locations. The warehouse is entirely operated by two-masted stacker cranes with telescopic forks moved by the transferring bridge. The input/output bay has been automated and the warehouse today receives 3 flows: the new cylinders awaiting engraving, worn cylinders awaiting refurbishment, and cylinders in moving towards the production department. Each cylinder is identified by a punching present on the central linchpin and by a barcode label. During each mission, the stacker crane brings two cylinders simultaneously to the output bay where, after having verified their congruence via barcode reading, they are placed on specific trolleys. Today the operator only needs to handle the already-loaded trolley.
Choosing this solution has doubled storage capacity, minimized the number of active AS/RS and limited the amount of necessary support infrastructure in the storage area. Furthermore, the reuse of the existing structure has allowed for the insertion of a flexible and compact machine, best able to move between the high-density shelving.