Briefing: Westfalia Technologies Automated Storage & Retrieval System for Handling Rolls of Newsprint and Pallets of Newspaper Inserts

The Free Lance–Star, one of the most progressive smaller daily newspapers in the United States, installed a Westfalia AS/RS at their new facility in Fredericksburg, VA.  This facility is dedicated to the printing of newspapers and other commercial printing work, as well as providing post-press inserting operations. 

The Free Lance–Star is a family owned and operated newspaper which dates back to 1885.  The current owners are 3rd and 4th generation descendants of one of the founders. Publisher Josiah Rowe III has been with the paper for over 50 years and has expanded the company to include the daily newspaper, a weekly TMC, the website Fredericksburg.com, four radio stations, and a phone directory of area businesses. 

Case Study: Westfalia Technologies Automated Storage & Retrieval System for Handling Rolls of Newsprint and Pallets of Newspaper Inserts

Solution: High Density AS/RS for Paper Rolls & FSI's

Westfalia’s automated warehousing solution is capable of storing both rolls of newsprint and pallets of Free Standing Inserts (FSI’s).  Free standing inserts are advertising supplements, often in full color, which typically are printed outside of the printing facility and inserted into the newspaper before delivery.  In addition to the AS/RS, a newly designed Roll Handling Shuttle Car is designed to smoothly transfer rolls automatically to the line of presses. All this equipment is directed by Savanna.NET® Warehouse Management Software (WMS), and it interfaces with the AS/RS warehouse to temporarily store prepared newsprint rolls in advance of on-demand automatic delivery and loading onto one of four Goss International Corp. FPS press reel-stands.

Westfalia installed a high density AS/RS in one aisle complete with a Storage/Retrieval Machine, air-chain accumulation conveyors, and Savanna.NET® Warehouse Management System (WMS).  The patented Satellite® entry vehicle stores pallet loads and newsprint rolls in 4-deep and 5-deep storage lanes in racks six levels high.  All pallets are supported on our 3-rail system which provides a safer, more reliable system as pallet deflection/breakage is eliminated.  Westfalia’s air-chain conveying system supplies a smoother process flow of non-contacting pallets accumulating to the post press area.  This affords the necessary buffer for smoothing peak operations, as well as ample load staging to get ahead of FSI and newsprint demand profiles. 

The innovative Roll Handling Shuttle Car smoothly transfers rolls automatically to the line of presses using a telescopic fork to lift a roll on and off the shuttle car, while avoiding friction and damage to unwrapped paper rolls.  It has a maximum load capacity of 4,122 pounds and maximum speed of 262 feet per minute.  Rolls come from storage (AS/RS), have their wrapping removed at a prep station, are oriented to lay down on their side at the lay down station, and are lifted by the telescopic fork onto the shuttle car.  The shuttle car moves to the presses and lifts the roll directly onto the press.

The Roll Handling Shuttle Car handles rolls of various widths placed on highly polished stainless steel plates via the telescopic fork.  The steel plate rotates slightly to handle rolls of various widths.  With the use of an adapter fitting over the steel plates, even small size rolls can be handled, further reducing waste.

Westfalia’s modular Warehouse Management System (WMS) Savanna.NET® controls the movement and storage of all rolls and pallets within the facility. When signaled, Savanna.NET® directs the Storage/Retrieval Machines to retrieve the pallets from storage and place them on the out-feed conveyor. The system then directs fork truck operators to pick up the pallets and deliver them to the proper collator via fork truck-mounted computers. All FSI pallets remain in full control of Savanna.NET® from storage to collator consumption.

The economical and environmental benefits of the Westfalia’s Go Green with High Density AS/RS attracted The Free Lance–Star.  The multiple-deep design has major financial benefits as more storage in less space equates to reduced building construction costs, lower sustainable operating costs (lower energy, labor, product waste costs) and increased accuracy.  Plus the automated warehouse design uses a smaller building footprint, thereby having less impact on the environment. 

According to Al Kafka, Newspaper Sales Specialist for Westfalia Technologies, more newspapers and printers are selecting Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems to handle the time- and labor-intensive task of storing and conveying newspapers, inserts and paper rolls throughout their warehouses and plants. “Like most businesses, newspaper and printing companies are looking for increased efficiencies in their operations,” says Kafka. “Our AS/RS equipment and WMS reduce warehouse space requirements, increase efficiency and accuracy, and ultimately, save money.”

System Features:

  • Functionality:

    • 1 Storage/Retrieval Machine
    • 4-deep and 5-deep storage lanes
    • 3-rail support of all pallets throughout the system
    • Roll handling shuttle car
    • Savanna.NET® Warehouse Management System 

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