Briefing: Grifols installs a high-density AS/RS to support the storage of frozen blood plasma

Grifols is a global healthcare company producing life-saving protein therapies and products in three healthcare divisions: bioscience therapy made from human plasma, hospital products and pharmacy IV solutions, and diagnostic tools for laboratory professionals.  From their plasma donation centers, Grifols collects plasma from healthy and qualified donors to send to one of three state-of-the-art biopharmaceutical manufacturing facilities located in Barcelona, Spain, Los Angeles, California and Clayton, North Carolina.

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Case Study: Grifols installs a high-density AS/RS to support the storage of frozen blood plasma

Challenge: Need to expand storage capacity for frozen blood plasma

Grifols takes pride in innovation. Understanding innovation comes in many forms, Grifols is committed to continuous improvement of its sophisticated, modern facilities. At Grifols, innovation means finding new ways of solving old problems, which is where automated warehousing is now playing a role in improving global blood plasma logistics.

Faced with the need to expand the storage capacity for frozen blood plasma to match the recently increased capacities of the manufacturing facilities, Grifols embarked on a journey to build a highly automated plasma logistics center in Clayton, North Carolina, in close proximity of its large scale east coast manufacturing operation.

Solution: Westfalia high-density AS/RS and Savanna.NET® WES

Grifols’ new plasma logistics center in Clayton, N.C. will handle the cold storage (-35C) of plasma blood products, the suitability inspection of plasma units according to tight quality standards and the shipment of frozen plasma via truck and/or ocean container to the Grifols’ manufacturing plants. In order to protect the valuable product, this new rack-supported building is equipped with a multi-level redundancy refrigeration system including nitrogen back up. 

Westfalia’s automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS), combined with Savanna.NET® Warehouse Execution System (WES), supports Grifols’ continued innovation in its modern, state-of-the-art facilities. The AS/RS occupies 17,273 square feet with 5,148 pallet positions. Standing nine storage levels high, the three-aisle AS/RS is equipped with three storage/retrieval machines (S/RMs), one tandem-pallet and two single S/RMs. 

The design of the system is based on Westfalia’s Satellite® technology, which provides the ability to store pallets in multiple-deep storage lanes. The Westfalia high-density Satellite® S/RM is representative of the new, high speed, fourth generation of S/RM design. Due to its sophisticated structural design, it is one of the heaviest-duty-cycle S/RMs available today.

Managing the flow of materials is Westfalia’s Savanna.NET® WES. Savanna.NET® provides complete control over material flow, order management, reporting, and logging, and is compatible with Grifols’ Host Interface.

“Westfalia's Satellite® chain conveyor top can quickly move pallets from the S/RM to the conveyor, saving time and improving throughput. ”

System Features:

  • Size:

    • AS/RS occupies 17,273 sq. ft. 
    • 9 storage levels high, rack supported building configuration
    • 1 Tandem Storage/Retrieval Machine (S/RM) and 2 single S/RMs
  • Capacity:

    • 5,148 total pallet positions in a -35 degree Celsius freezer
    • 39 bays
    • 60 pallets per hour per S/RM at 100% utilization
    • Shipping and receiving areas maintain +5 degrees Celsius
  • Technology:

    • Westfalia's Savanna.NET®
    • Input/output pallet conveying system
    • All pallets are supported on a 3-rail system, eliminating pallet deflection/ breakage
    • Conveyor controls system based Allen-Bradley Rockwell Logix series PLC

System Benefits:

  • Grifols automated warehousing solution is capable of storing various product sizes in a compact, efficient design
  • Flexibility to expand the AS/RS with additional aisles in the future
  • Minimizes construction and operation costs
  • Triple-supported pallets minimizing operational problems and providing additional safety
  • More throughput using less machinery

Our Mission: To deliver unparalleled warehousing solutions by earning the trust of our customers, understanding their business needs and honoring the commitments we make.