Automating and optimizing the Stora Enso container stuffing operations

Customer: Stora Enso, Ybbs Sawmill
Country: Austria, Europe

Stora Enso is a global rethinker of the paper, biomaterials, wood products and packaging industry. The Group employs 28 000 people worldwide, in more than 35 countries. Stora Enso sales in 2013 amounted to EUR 10.5 billion. Stora Enso Building and living business line annual production capacity in sawn wood products is 5.6 million cubic metres, including 2.9 million cubic metres of value-added products.

The payback time for the LoadPlate investment



Business challenge: Improving container stuffing process to increase efficiency

The managers at the Stora Enso Ybbs site in Central Europe were facing a situation where they needed to re-evaluate their container stuffing operations. The Stora Enso container storage and container transport were outsourced to a second party due to the small working space at the site. For container stuffing, the containers had to be lifted on the ground to allow two forklifts to move the products into the containers.

Now the management wanted to return the stuffing operations back to their own control and handling, and only outsource the container traffic. Naturally, an improved process was sought to increase efficiency and to lower the costs of the company’s lumber loading operations. Automating the container stuffing operations was considered as a potential solution to this challenge.

Actiw introduced their pioneer container loading equipment LoadPlate to the Stora Enso managers. With the use of the LoadPlate solution, Stora Enso could lower their present loading process costs due to a partially automated process. The LoadPlate could be installed at the site and standard containers could be brought to the LoadPlate by a subcontractor.

The change of needing to use only one forklift to move the lumber bundles onto the loading stage would allow enough space on site. After experiencing the efficiency of the LoadPlate with their own eyes the Stora Enso managers were convinced that the LoadPlate would bring a solution to their operative challenges.

Solution: Efficient load forming enables fast loading and reduced truck turnaround times

Stora Enso managers were pleased with the Actiw team’s expert knowledge and experience and therefore, decided that Actiw Oy would do the best job for the price. They were also drawn to the practicality and simplicity of the LoadPlate loading solution.

Now the LoadPlate is staged at the Stora Enso site where the stuffing is taking place. With the new loading solution the bundles of lumber products are collected by one Stora Enso forklift driver to the LoadPlate. The subcontractor brings a standard container to the LoadPlate and the container is then secured to the LoadPlate frame. As the load forming can be prepared before the container arrives, the actual loading of the products to the container takes normally less than five minutes. Due to this the truck turnaround times were remarkably reduced. The full container is then taken back to the container yard from where the containers are shipped forward with train or by barge via river Donay.

During installation of the equipment Actiw showed flexibility by making adjustments to meet the Stora Enso product specifics. As an example, additional rolls were installed to the LoadPlate in order to load very wide packages into the containers.

"Actiw LoadPlate is the right solution to those companies that have to deal with a large number of containers."

Results: More efficient container stuffing, reduced operational costs and improved work safety

As a conclusion to the project Stora Enso is now performing their container stuffing operations internally. With the use of LoadPlate a larger number of containers can be stuffed in a day. The company was able to reduce its operational costs with decreased number of manpower and forklift working hours. The LoadPlate as a modern and up to date tool improved the overall working surroundings in the Stora Enso warehouse by being easy and safe to use.

The former complexity of the forklift operations and the time pressure for employees was diminished as the load preparations could be done and planned anytime during the working day, without the need to wait for the container. The short truck turnaround times that resulted from fast container stuffing also lowered the costs of the operations. The safety risks were dramatically reduced as fewer people are involved in the process and have practically nothing to do with the containers.

With the use of Actiw LoadPlate a considerably smaller risk for damage to the products and the containers was achieved, decreasing the number of complaints. Finally, lower maintenance costs and a generally greener performance showed that the Stora Enso managers had done a smart investment decision. The break-even was calculated to equal 2500 containers and the payback time for the investment roughly 2-3 years. These benefits together changed the Stora Enso managers’ former vision of the long payback time of the automated loading solution. Today Stora Enso is using Actiw LoadPlate also in Finland and Sweden.