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Pulp Paper & Logistics

Automated pulp distribution centre for Metsä Group

Cost efficiency, reliability, safety and environmental benefits are the attractions of a pulp distribution centre built by Pesmel that will start operating next year in Finland. PPL reports

Pesmel at Metsä Group’s new bio- product mill in Äänekoski, Finland. The distribution centre will


incorporate Pesmel’s TransBale concept, which has been under development in cooperation with the Metsä Group since 2013. Construction started in the summer 2016 for commissioning in spring 2017, after which all of Metsä Group’s 1.3 million tonnes of pulp production will be distributed through the Pesmel facility. The core of this automated distribution centre is high-bay storage with two fully automated stacker cranes, which buffers and sorts pulp bale units by product type and customer order, and controls all dispatch operations.

An innovative, all-inclusive delivery Compared with typical high-bay storage that uses a pallet racking system and several stacker crane aisles in each of which only two pallets can be stored, TransBale comprises deep-lane storage in which six pulp bale units can be stored in each storage channel, making it possible to store larger amounts of material in a smaller space. The pulp bale units are stored on steel C profiles, and the shuttle car moves the bales from the bottom, which is more gentle on the product than by moving

November/December 2016

he world’s first fully- automated pulp distribution centre is to be constructed by

them by the steel wire that holds the bale units together. The Pesmel project includes: an

in-feed conveyor; an RFID code system for identifying incoming products; construction of the shelving according to EN 1090 standard; two stacker cranes; an out-feed conveyor; roofs and walls; a sprinkler system; and a proprietary WMS warehouse management system.

Pesmel WMS plays a significant role Pesmel’s warehouse management system (WMS) runs the inventory in real-time and is fully automatic. The WMS plays a big role in the operations of the distribution centre as it is connected to both the production automation system and the mill’s SAP system. Based on the product and dispatch information obtained from these systems, the WMS controls

automated train and truck dispatch and loading operations. With automatic loading, trucks

are loaded in five minutes, and a train with 22 cars carrying 1,400 tonnes can be loaded in three hours. In addition to loading efficiency, automation minimises work safety risks and damage to the equipment and products.

Benefits of the TransBale concept Cost efficiency: The automation of the distribution centre significantly lowers operating costs, because there is less need for forklift drivers and supervisors. Functionality can be supervised by the operator at the mill. High-bay construction enables increased production capacity without the need for additional investments in the distribution centre. It also requires a smaller building, which is easy to expand upwards as future needs dictate,

without substantially disturbing the operation of the facility. The Pesmel WMS enables adjustable sorting capacity, which means that there is no longer any need for preliminary sorting, as the stacker crane and WMS keeps track of the storage location of each pulp bale unit. This enables the optimum use of space, regardless of how many different grades of pulp are produced. Reliability: The construction is

a rack-supported building, which means that instead of being located inside another building, the roof and wall elements are attached to the frame of the shelving. It has been designed to function in winter conditions: there is no need for heating because there is no staff, with the exception those required for maintenance. Simple construction ensures

reliable operation with the integral shelving, two cranes and chain


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