SMURFIT KAPPA PARENCO: Smoothly operating automated warehouse for paper production

Papermaking first began in the town of Renkum in the Netherlands in the 16th century. Today, it is home to Smurfit Kappa Parenco BV, a major Dutch paper producer that can boast one of the most advanced automated warehouse truck solutions of the 21st century.

Rocla AGV at Smurfit Kappa Parenco

Smurfit Kappa Parenco operates two paper machines producing graphical papers and packaging papers, Fluting and Testliner. It produces some 600,000 tons of paper a year, around 1,900 tons every day, primarily for export. Smurfit Kappa Parenco needed to fully automate its warehouse to increase logistical efficiency. A solution was required for the transport of rolls from the mill’s two paper machines into the warehouse and from the warehouse to the truck loading area.

“The smooth process is very important because we have paper machines that are running 24/7,”” Smurfit Kappa Parenco’s Logistics Manager Karlo Kuun says.

“If this process is not very efficient or smooth, I have big problems in production.”

The explosion of e-commerce has boosted demand for packaging paper, creating new business opportunities. When the company brought its Paper Machine 2 (PM2) back online in 2016 to help meet increased demand, production volume grew and more transport capacity was needed.

With the increase in production, when there was a big day in shipping with large volumes of paper to load, there was no transport capacity left over to prepare the loads for the next day. This led to lorries waiting on the premises every morning, but with no paper ready for loading.

Manually operated forklift trucks simply could not keep up with output and the daily demand to move up to 4,500 tons of paper.

The solution was Rocla’s AGV system with a fleet of 16 of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and automated battery exchange system (BES).

Coupled with Rocla’s warehouse management system (WMS), the driverless fleet of AGVs picks up the paper rolls coming out of production and stacks them in assigned spaces in the warehouse. Then, as orders come up, the rolls are automatically picked and transported to the shipping bay for delivery to customers.

“With this system, we can do the order picking at night, so every morning we already have 40 loads prepared for loading that day. So, that’s a big advantage,” Logistics Manager Kuun points out.

This critical solution is backed up by Rocla’s full service package providing full support for software as well as hardware. This includes regular local maintenance, spare parts and repairs and a 24/7 help desk.

Parenco now has an advanced automation system providing a smooth, safe and reliable operational flow. Handling rolls with the utmost care, the AGVs have also eliminated previous losses of around 100 tons of paper annually damaged by manual operations.

“Efficiency is a big thing, as are cost savings. When you look at this project, we were lucky that we could implement it together with the restart of our PM2,” Karlo Kuun adds. “Rocla is very experienced in the paper business. We were impressed by the technique and the solutions. And, of course, they offer a decent solution for a decent price.”

Rocla’s AGV solution increased logistics efficiency for Smurfit Kappa Parenco