Automation helps Laithwaites hit 98% productivity

17th May 2021

Logistics BusinessAutomation helps Laithwaites hit 98% productivity

CKF has recently designed, installed and commissioned an extensive new case feed and palletising system for Laithwaites wine, an established, thriving ecommerce and retail business based in Gloucester, UK. The new system enabled Laithwaites to handle a 50% increase in demand during 2020 and improve productivity from 65% to a phenomenal 98%.

For over 50 years, Tony Laithwaite and the team at Laithwaites wines have been providing their valued customers access to the very best quality wine from around the world, having uniquely developed personal relationships with over 450 passionate growers and wine makers.

An increase in customer demand for online purchasing meant the ageing plant at its Gloucester facility, which had served it well, was no longer fully supporting its needs. Towards the end of 2019, CKF was approached by the Laithwaites team to develop and deliver a new automated palletising solution to meet its current and projected future requirements.

CKF is a leader in automated palletising and case handling, with more than 30 years’ experience supporting different industries including Food & Beverage, Logistics, Pharmaceutical and Automotive. The engineering team at CKF gained a comprehensive understanding of Laithwaites’ operations through detailed analysis of the available product data and key review meetings with the Laithwaites ops team. CKF proposed a new fully-automated layer palletising system with a multi-lane accumulation feed system mounted on a new mezzanine floor.

Laithwaites wine distribution from the Gloucester facility is defined by online and retail sales, delivery routes, carriers, regions and time to consumer. This requires the filled cases of wine to be automatically sorted and placed onto the correct pallet to be shipped through the correct carrier.

Laithwaites’ Gloucester facility is a high-bay warehouse with a large demand on floor area. The new CKF installed system maximises the use of the ground floor by moving the accumulation and handling of cases to a new high-level mezzanine. The new fully-automated solution uses multiple lanes of low friction conveyors which accumulate full pallet loads of cases (weighing up to 25kg per case) prior to releasing them to two layer palletisers.

The new CKF fully automated system was installed and commissioned in two phases through 2020 working closely with the Laithwaites team to eliminate any operational disruption. Providing a significant increase in productivity to 98%, the benefits of the new system configuration have also enabled Laithwaites Wine to handle a substantial increase in throughput, reduce excessive manual handling and relocate the remaining manual processes into the area below the mezzanine floor and away from busy trucking routes, providing increased safety for its employees.