In college, I was given the opportunity to attend a wine tasting session one evening, which included learning the basics, smelling the bouquet, and proper food pairings. Since then, I was fortunate enough to marry an individual whose hobby is cooking and who over the years has enjoyed seeking out the right (reasonably priced) wine to go with whatever dish she might have prepared. I have also had the pleasure to tour and learn about the wine making process at Sterling Vineyards (Napa Valley, CA) and a little closer to home at Oliver Winery (Bloomington, IN). It is after the wine is made and bottled where my private interests have intersected with my professional endeavors; somehow this bottle has to get from the winery to my table, whether at home or in a restaurant.
Working at Bastian Solutions, I have had the opportunity to work in the realm of 3-D modeling and animation specifically as it relates to warehousing and distribution and in this case, the warehousing and distribution of wine and spirits. There have been several new and innovative concepts in this arena, so I wanted to take a moment to do a quick 3-D animated showcase of some of them as well as a fly through of a typical wine and spirits distribution center. Then to wrap it all up, I will share a few of our favorite wines.
Wine and Spirits Distribution
This first video showcases a robotic bottle picking concept capable of handling an unlimited number of SKUs. The Bastian automated bottle picking robot uses proven technology to pick wines, spirits, bottled water, or any other type of bottled product. For more information on this technology, visit our robotic bottle picking page or watch this short video clip.
Below is animated fly through of a typical wine and spirits distribution warehouse. This facility is approximately 500,000 square feet and is designed for operating efficiency, proper space utilization, and customer service capability. The animation takes you through the various areas of the automated order fulfillment system.
Areas within the system above include: (click on images to view animation)
- Bottle pick area – Voice-directed picking of individual bottles (each picks) takes place in the bottle picking module. Product picked here is used to build mixed cases.
- Case pick – The system also contains two, two-level case pick modules for full case picking of fast-, medium-, and slow-moving SKUs.
- Odd ball pick – These items are of seasonal nature or just do not have sufficient pick activity. These items are pulled from the reserve storage rack and then placed on the conveyor.
- Wave accumulation and sortation – Cases from the bottle pick module, the case pick modules, and odd ball staging area are transported along dedicated lines to a merge area. Accumulation lanes are released into a saw tooth merge, combining all cases for a single wave. At the induction area, the cases are scanned, and a proper lane destination is determined. The sorter tracks each case and diverts it to the proper lane.
- Manual pallet building – Cases diverted to the manual pallet building area are conveyed to a conveyor loop at floor level. Cases are merged onto a conveyor where the cases continually rotate until manually removed from the conveyor and stacked onto a pallet. Pallets of random cases are thus built in this area. After the required number of cases has been stacked on a pallet, the pallet is ready for loading onto the route trucks via forklift.
- Shipping – When a truck is in position and ready to be loaded, the extendable conveyor is moved forward until it extends into the truck. The loading team enables the extendable conveyor and cases flow from the shipping lanes onto the extendable conveyor. Cases are manually removed from the end and stacked in the route truck. As cases are removed from the extendable conveyor, the other cases advance to the unloading position. Colored totes are used to signify the end of a truck load.
Below are a couple more 3-D renderings of a similar distribution center with the same concepts as before, just on a larger scale and more highly automated. This DC utilizes robotic depalletizing, unit load automated storage and retrieval, and automated case buffering to maintain wave integrity.
Now that the wine is delivered to a store or restaurant, I can make a selection to properly compliment my food choice, or more realistically, compliment what it is my wife has chosen for the menu that evening. So from the vine (through the distribution center) to my table…
Some of our favorite wines:
- 14 Hands Cabernet
- Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Dry Riesling
- Oliver Winery Creekbend Valvin Muscat
- Columbia Crest Grand Estates Syrah
- Pascual Toso Malbec