News story

Dairy processor uses AGVs

Wednesday, 8 April 2020 ( #969 ) - Sydney, NSW, Australia
Lactalis Australia's AGV solution
Lactalis Australia's AGV solution
Lactalis Australia is seeing productivity improvements at its Lidcombe Milk Site after rolling out a new automated guided vehicle (AGV) solution. Lactalis Australia (formerly Parmalat) is owned and operated by the Lactalis Group, a third-generation, French family-owned business. Its Australian operations date back to the original Pauls milk business which has been running since 1932. "One of Lactalis' key goals is to invest in and grow the Australian dairy industry, as well as to promote Australia as a high-quality producer for the Asia Pacific region," says Kristian Brennan, national logistics optimisation manager at Lactalis. "To support this growth, Lactalis is always looking for new ways to improve our operations by boosting efficiencies and productivity. "The new AGV solution has successfully helped us to significantly increase productivity at our Lidcombe site, as it allows us to run a faster operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week." The AGV solution chosen by Lactalis, Dematic's Counterbalance Series AGV, manages the transportation of pallets of milk at the Lidcombe site and is capable of lifting loads of up to 1.2 T to a height of six metres. The AGVs are well suited to working at the site, which is a chilled environment that has a temperature of 2 to 4 degrees Celsius. Four AGVs work to retrieve pallets from an inbound conveyer system from production, and then feed the pallets into an order buffer, releasing the pallets at a declined angle onto pallet live storage racking. They operate in a small space and manage tight traffic at high speeds of up to 1.7 m/s. The AGV solution's accuracy and safety around workers and any obstacles is ensured through sensors and laser scanners that help them navigate with precision. The AGVs are powered by lithium-ion batteries and can drive themselves onto charging floor plates at times of inactivity and be fully charged in two hours. "The need to optimise productivity and reduce costs in food and beverage supply chains has never been greater," says Tony Raggio, general manager, AGVs at Dematic. "We're excited to see Lactalis Australia has increased its productivity, while also being able to receive a good ROI from its investment in Dematic AGVs."