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Distribution Center Modeling


The Challenge

Verify the functionality of the automated storage and retrieval system and integrated conveyor system.

The Arena Solution

The identified and unexpected bottlenecks were later confirmed by the designers of the system, and feasible modifications to the design were tested and incorporated into the final system.


The simulation project provided them a greater understanding of the system characteristics through the need to collect more detailed information, and analyzing the performance thus reduced the risk of unexpected problems in the design. After installation, a comparison of simulation results with real output was found to be 100 percent accurate.

  • The narrow-aisle cranes were underutilized ƒ
  • The input and output pallets could be processed in the required time span; however, during breakdowns, pallets coming from the production, train, and truck areas should be handled alternately for maximum throughput ƒ
  • The buffer sections, with a few exceptions, have sufficient capacity ƒ
  • The rail-guided vehicle QVW2 will be a bottleneck unless a higher velocity can be obtained ƒ
  • The elevator SF3/4 will be a bottleneck during breakdowns of other units, and breakdown strategies need to be developed, see Figure 13. ƒ
  • One I-point (scanner) is sufficient, but strategies for building pallet pairs are necessary ƒ
  • Elevator SF1 will be a bottleneck if only one pallet can be handled at a time.


The brewery distribution center has a volume of 71,600 cubic meters and contains about 8,000 pallets. Every day 1,800 pallets are handled in or out of the system, and the object of this study was to verify the functionality of the automated storage and retrieval system and integrated conveyor system— including elevators connecting five levels of the distribution center. The complex system is modeled with the powerful simulation software Arena®.