Toshiba, Australia

Leading electronic and consumer goods distributor, Toshiba, has implemented the first Dematic Modular Goods-to-Person (mGTP) system in their new National Distribution Centre (NDC) in Pemulwuy in Sydney’s western suburbs.

A key driver for the project was the optimisation of space within Toshiba’s new DC, in order to reduce the overall footprint and costs of the new facility.

Toshiba moved to its new NDC in August 2016 having occupied its previous premises in Sydney’s Homebush for 11 years. 

In addition to cost efficiencies, care for the environment was also a high priority for the new facility. 

“Toshiba has a global commitment to sustainability and assisting in whichever way we can toward protecting the environment. Putting this new state-of-the-art 5 Star Green Star building together was one of the boxes we ticked when moving to the premises, the low energy consumption of the Dematic Multishuttle system, coupled with solar panels on the roof, helped ensure that we now have an energy neutral distribution centre,” said Tim Proust, Toshiba’s National Logistics Manager. 

The new 12,500 m² facility includes 800 m² of office space with 10,200 m² of integrated warehouse, and 1500 m² of technical space. Situated on a 2.4-hectare site, it also has a 2000 m² super canopy for all-weather protection and safety while receiving and dispatching goods. 

The new DC is in a strategic location for Toshiba Australia’s operations, with easy access to the M4 Motorway and the M7 Interchange, both leading to key business and employment hubs such as Parramatta, Port Botany, Sydney Airport, and the Sydney CBD. 

Multishuttle GTP order fulfilment system 

Cutting edge automation of materials handling processes is an integral part of the new facility. A key feature of the new DC is its Dematic Multishuttle mGTP order fulfilment system, which is used for storage, replenishment and picking. 

 “It’s a great piece of technology that simplifies the job of our guys dramatically, reduces labour costs, and ensures we get our product out to the end user a lot faster,” Tim said. “The system eliminates the inefficiencies of having our employees search for items and then check them before dispatch. It also complements carton and pallet live storage (PLS).” 

The mGTP system was pre-engineered and pre-configured to Toshiba’s specific design requirements, that reduced overall project costs and lead times, enabling rapid installation and start-up. 

Occupying just 380 m², with the GTP workstations and conveyor also taking up around 700 m² of floorspace, the space-efficient double and single-deep, single-aisle inventory storage buffer houses a total of 10,600 totes over 18 levels and 31 bays, with each level serviced by its own Multishuttle.  

Operating at up to twice the speed of the first generation Multishuttle, the new Multishuttle Gen II technology significantly increases productivity and throughput, while the power saving and recovery features lead to an energy efficient system.

The Dematic Multishuttle system in action

The system is made up of the mGTP and a zone routing system. The mGTP system stores items in a secure environment and retrieves them as required for an order. Stock for orders is retrieved from the Multishuttle inventory buffer at a high rate of up to 500 totes per hour, and is then delivered to the picking station.

“The Multishuttle GTP workstation configuration, where a single stock tote is presented to the operator at a low level together with two order cartons at a higher level on either side of the workstation, eliminates all of the time wasted travelling, locating and identifying stock,” said Dematic’s Solutions Manager, Darren Rawlinson.

Once the GTP portion of the order is complete, the order is pushed onto a conveyor to a zone routing system. If the order requires product from a specific zone, it will be diverted there and scanned by an operator with an RF Terminal. Here the operator receives instructions on which product and what quantity is to be picked.

The order is then fed onto another conveyor which transports it to a final packing workstation for despatch.

The automated retrieval and delivery of stock to workstations for order assembly ensures very high productivity and throughput rates.

Toshiba’s Multishuttle GTP system benefits

  • Optimisation of DC footprint
  • Reduced labour costs
  • Very high productivity and throughput rates of up to 500 totes/hour
  • Lighter-weight, low-voltage Multishuttle uses less energy and provides quieter operation
  • Improved inventory management, with ongoing checkweighing and cycle counting
  • Error-free put-away process ensure inventory accuracy and reduce stock-outs
  • Space reserved for extra aisle provides future flexibility and reduced initial investment
  • Dual-purpose GTP workstations suitable for both picking and replenishment
  • Intuitive, easy-to-learn system, with just one hour picking/packing operator training
  • Total visibility of picking, and real-time system performance and order status data

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