A logistical pleasure - Gebhardt supplies the cheese ripening container for Goldsteig
The cheese producer Goldsteig has been operating a new automatic high bay warehouse to cover future need requirements at the company’s headquarters in the Bavarian town of Cham since the end of 2006. The cheese aging containers that are used for storage, aging, and transport of the packed blocks of cheese come from Gebhardt Transport- und Lagersysteme GmbH.
“Our careful considerations indicated that we can no longer handle the volume planned for the future with the existing capacities; we require a new cheese factory and a pre-aging warehouse for hard and sliced cheeses,” said Andreas Kraus, managing director of Goldsteig Käsereien Bayerwald GmbH. Goldsteig has invested a figure in the tens of millions in the building that is about one hundred meters long and fifty meters wide — several hundred thousand kilograms of milk can be processed here daily without any problems.
Several thousand cheese aging containers, each with ten intermediate tiers
One major element for meeting the requirements of freshness within the overall logistics concept planned by the engineering firm Prof. Dr. Willibald Günthner is several thousand cheese aging containers, each of them with ten intermediate tiers, from the company Gebhardt. Not only do they make the temperature-controlled transport of the cheese through the high bay warehouse possible — they support as well the turning movements required for the blocks of cheese to reach the right degree of aging. The technical highlights of the Gebhardt cheese aging containers include above all (besides a two-chamber system with a vertical partition) the precision of the dimensions and the perpendicularity of the load carriers for the most demanding requirements on production because of the robot-aided loading at Goldsteig and the assurance of the suitability of the containers for transport by conveyors.
Two stacks of cheese per stacking frame
The cheese aging container consists of a flat pallet made of wood and a stacking frame made of coated wood composite material (Betoplan) with metal frames. The stacking frame has space for two stacks of cheese, separated by a partition. The stacking frame can be positioned precisely on the flat pallet with the aid of the two plywood boards. The two components are connected with the locking levers placed in the middle of the long sides. The blocks of cheese must be wrapped separately in foil for storage. Turning the cheese aging container involves placing a flat pallet on top of the stacking frame and securing it with the locking levers. The container can then be turned, and the flat pallet that is now on top is unlocked and removed. The flat pallet is fitted with runners so that it can be moved with forklifts.
Aging process in various temperature ranges
The process has several stages. The cheese aging container is placed on the conveyor and arrives at the robot loading station at the same time as the cheese from production. Both chambers of the container, including the intermediate tiers, are loaded fully automatically. The container is then transported to the aging warehouse where it moves through various temperature levels. The cheese has to be turned several times during the aging process. For this purpose, the Gebhardt cheese aging containers leave the aging warehouse a number of times; the pallet is placed on top and locked, the container is turned, and the upper pallet is removed. Then the container is returned to the aging warehouse. When the aging is complete, the stacking frame or pallet must again be unlocked, the frame is removed, and the block of cheese can be processed further.