Fage USA’s yogurt manufacturing venture in the States has been a great success, so much so the company is already expanding the facility.

Fage USA’s yogurt manufacturing venture in the States has been a great success, so much so the company is already expanding the facility.

Back in early 2008, Fage opened its new manufacturing plant and attached distribution center in Johnstown, N.Y. The original facility includes a Westfalia High Density Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS) and Savanna.NET Warehouse Management Software for handling, buffering and order picking of various yogurt products as they emerge from production area cooling tunnels into the 40° F warehouse.

Fage (pronounced fah-yeh), based in Athens, Greece, has taken the dairy world by storm with its all-natural premium yogurt that has a distinctly rich, creamy and fresh taste.  The Fage Total Yogurt is the top seller in Greece and has won food tasting accolades around the world. After much success in Europe, the company is expanding again in the U.S. market, its 28th country.

Additional growth necessitates expanding into a new building for both the manufacturing capacity of the plant and the storage capacity of the distribution center.  The existing Westfalia Storage/Retrieval Machine (SRM) will handle both the existing and expanded distribution center via extending the SRM aisle. Fage’s expansion includes increasing the SRM aisle length, adding more gravity flow pick lanes and rack, and increasing the storage lanes depth above the first level pick area.

 It is the flexible, deep-lane capability of Westfalia’s Satellite rack entry vehicle to store pallets up to 12 deep in a single lane that allows for Fage’s expansion without the need for an additional SRM. Fage is able to expand the rack lane depths up to 11 deep on levels two and up above the pick area in the expansion area. Thus another 504 storage locations have been added over and above the 1,960 locations from the aisle extension, providing 26% more storage in the same building cubic expansion.

The building cube space in the expansion area above these new additional picking lanes would have gone to waste if it were not for Westfalia’s ability to program the Satellite to extend into deeper rack lanes. Without this capability, Fage would have needed a building 25% larger to accommodate the additional storage Westfalia’s solution provides.  Overall, the total storage increase for the expansion is 2,464 locations, a 151% increase for the existing system.

Westfalia’s expansion solution began at the initial design conception.  Fage’s shipping docks are positioned alongside the AS/RS, not at the end of the system. They pick products for filling orders from five-deep gravity flow lanes fed by the SRM. Yogurt products are picked from these gravity flow lanes onto pallet jack vehicles using RF picking instructions. The full picking process is controlled by Westfalia’s Savanna.NET Warehouse Management Software.

In case of further expansion, Westfalia plans to add more aisle length, more I/O conveyors, plus another SRM which can operate in the same aisle as the existing SRM.  Two SRMs in one aisle is yet another key feature of Westfalia’s Automated Storage and Retrieval System designs.

Westfalia Technologies Inc.