ABB - Intrion

Action Dropper, an ingenious concept


At the Colruyt distribution centre in Halle we interviewed Jean-Pol Lecocq, Head of Department, about intrion’s “Action Dropper” i-concept installation.

What does this overall concept consist of?

It is about de-palletising production trays, automatic input into a mini-load stockpile and sequenced output to the order picking work stations. Finally, automatic buffering (OCB) is incorporated to fit in perfectly with the transport planning of the shop in question.


Why the name “Action Dropper”?

This relates to the distribution of articles on the back of promotions linked to festive periods such as Christmas and New Year, Easter… or other occasions such as “back to school”, Halloween, etc.

There are about 85 of these events a year. These articles arrive early, giving us the chance to make preparations and properly distribute them among all our shops.


The “Goods to Man” principle is also employed here. What does this mean?

This principle means the warehouseman doesn’t have to drive back and forth all the time in the warehouse looking for the goods he needs, because the system takes the goods from stock and brings them to him.


Is it reliable?

Yes, the system indicates exactly how many products of each type are intended for which shop. There is an extra weight check as we know the weight of each product and can therefore check whether the required number of items in each tray is correct.


Could you describe the route a product follows?

A product follows three steps.  First, it is de-stacked and put into the stock area. When it is required it is removed (what we call “work in progress”) and distributed into the shop trays. These trays then return to intermediate storage.

The trays are then removed and replaced to add extra items until they are full, when they are sent to the palletising unit, so everything is ready on one pallet for one specific shop.


What makes this task so complex?

The key to the whole process is the database and operating the computer, plus the fact that several cranes operate simultaneously.


Which advantages have you noticed?

As this provides huge efficiency and saves us a lot of time, it has reduced our costs so we can continue to guarantee the lowest prices.


Why did you choose intrion as a partner?

intrion always considers how the efficiency of processes can be improved, and then fits the pieces of the puzzle together. The real added value of intrion can be found directly in the heart of the installation: layout, operation of the conveyor belts, electrical engineering, robotic operation, database and location management, and so on.  One thing is for sure: we will always turn to intrion for future installations.