CHEP Austria implements pallet pooling 4.0 in Vienna

Automated service center in Hof am Leithagebirge answers increased demand for pallets based on a circular economy

CHEP Austria implements pallet pooling 4.0 in Vienna Bild: Chep

CHEP Austria is expanding its service centre in Vienna with state-of-the-art technology. The market leader in pallet pooling has invested single-digit millions in the automation of pallet inspection and repair in order to increase the efficiency of its service centre in Hof am Leithaberge. At the beginning of 2019, the starting signal was given for fully automated operation.

By using robotics, CHEP aims to consistently ensure the highest standards of performance and compliance. On the other hand, process optimisation was necessary in order to meet the continuously growing demand for sustainable blue load carriers.

Since 2010 CHEP from Hof am Leithaberge has been supplying pallets to the Austrian market in a regulated manner, above all to the Vienna, Graz and Salzburg regions. With Paletten Logistik Winter GmbH as a reliable and experienced partner, constant pallet availability is guaranteed.

Millions of pallets are checked and, if necessary, repaired every year after each delivery cycle according to the “Share and Reuse” principle before they are delivered again to the retail trade and the consumer goods industry. Depending on requirements, CHEP Austria provides its customers with a platform mix of Euro, industrial, half and quarter pallets as well as plastic pallets and the rollable display load carrier Dolly.

In fully automated operation, CHEP pallets are routinely inspected for defects, damage or contamination. In this way, the constantly growing demand for blue load carriers in the double-digit range can be met. For Service Center employees, the new working environment offers greater comfort in terms of ergonomics, with robot units performing steps such as repairing defective pallets.

In detail, the newly installed automated plant in Hof am Leithaberge comprises the following technology:

– Multifunctional fully automatic inspection and repair system for automatic destacking, transporting, turning and stacking of pallets

– A new laser system (Automatic Digital Inspection, ADI) that checks individual pallets for damage and sends them for repair if necessary

– Automatic painting and stencil processes using brush painting booths and inkjet systems

– New roll nailer technology that ensures that no nails protrude over the top board of the pallets

– A moisture meter that monitors the moisture content of pallets and probes the upper deck and floor of pallets. If the moisture content exceeds a certain value, the pallet is removed from production.

“For several years, we have noticed increasing interest in our broad pallet mix. More and more customers benefit from the economic savings potential through pooling. This enables them to concentrate entirely on their core tasks instead of pallet management. At the same time, hidden costs are eliminated,” explains Wim Hermans, Country Manager Austria at CHEP.

In line with Industry 4.0, CHEP is automating its service centers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The first of these was the Service Center Neu Wulmstorf near Hamburg, which went into operation fully automatically in September 2018.

The foundation of the Wintergroup goes back to 1999, when hammers and nails were used to repair pallets. The Wintergroup now has around 150 employees and is one of the largest employers in the region. Wintergroup handles several million pallets per year and supplies customers throughout Austria.

The foundation of Paletten Logistik Winter GmbH, which is CHEP’s largest Austrian depot, dates back to 2010. As part of this cooperation, Paletten Logistik Winter carries out the collection, repair and delivery of CHEP pallets.