Automation of material flow at BAYER

Since the beginning of 2017 a MSK conveying system controls the entire material flow ranging from incoming raw materials up to loading the palletized goods onto the trucks automatically at the BAYER AG in Dormagen. With consideration of the diverse hazard and storage classifications the system enables a completely automated logistics process without the use of a forklift for inbound goods, the high-bay warehouse, the production facility, the packaging facility and outbound goods. 

Complete system for pallet logistics

In search of a modern logistics concept to convert the manual warehouse tasks to an automated HUB (main transshipment base) for inbound raw materials, intermittent storage, packaging the finished goods and shipping, BAYER consulted MSK, a manufacturer of packaging materials and logistics system for pallets. The goal of this new concept is to automate the entire flow of goods and pallet handling in an effort to reduce the use of forklifts in the future. Uwe Jonkmanns, Director Sales & Marketing for MSK remembers, “The technical implementation of this concept has been developed by a mutual project group.“ The special challenge herein was pre-sorting the completed pallets for the automated truck-loading system. In addition to transferring the pallets at a performance rate of 120 pallets per hour according to the SAP order, the center of load should also be in accordance with the truck’s load distribution diagram.“


The MSK system startup operation in the beginning of 2017 represented a benchmark at BAYER. Another MSK Tensiontech stretch hooding machine for the Chemical Park in Dormagen as well as a project consisting of shuttle cars, pallet conveyor technology and packaging system for a BAYER facility in Brazil has already been commissioned. “The high level of commitment and flexible response by MSK during the installation, completion and startup processes deserves an honorable mention“, stated Wolfgang Ullrich, who is responsible for Warehousing & Distribution at the BAYER AG in Dormagen. Additional projects for the BAYER Group are currently pending at MSK.

Quality from a single source

During the project planning phase for the HUB at the plant in Dormagen the responsible parties at BAYER had an opportunity to assess the performance ability of an MSK system consisting of pallet conveyor technology, pallet handling and pallet packaging, as well as automated truck loading with a Walking Floor System during a reference visit at the Chemical Group SABIC in Geleen (Netherlands). MSK systems are solely produced at MSK; from parts manufacturing up to the final installation. “This type of vertical manufacturing in our own plants guarantees our quality. In addition, specific customer requests can be implemented in a highly customized manner with our machine software MSK EMSY which has been developed in-house“, stated Uwe Jonkmanns. MSK’s production capacity, as well as its service availability in close proximity to the BAYER location in Dormagen were also important criteria for the decision to contract MSK.


Main Transshipment Base (HUB) in four halls and on two levels

The pallets containing the raw materials delivered to inbound goods facility via truck are fed into the logistics system by an automated Walking Floor System. The goods are scanned at an identification point (i-point), registered in SAP and designated for a target destination. This destination, for example, may be the direct shipment to a production facility, or for storage in a narrow-isle warehouse until the pallets are requested by the production facility.
Upon processing at the production site, the finished products are transported to the packaging area in containers (IBCs), Big Bags or as bagged goods. Another inspection of the palletized goods designated for the packaging facility is conducted at an i-point. A scanner-system is used to determine if the load is positioned on the pallet appropriately and if the barcode is legible, for example. Thereafter, the pallets identified as such are assigned a new transport destination before they are approved for transport packaging with the MSK Tensiontech stretch hood machine. If deficiencies are detected at the i-point, the pallets are ejected from the line and returned to the production facility. After the pallets have been packaged they are transported either to the high-bay warehouse or to the automated truck loading station.

The conveyor system control software MSK EMSY receives the commands for the pallet destination from SAP and reports the pallet position and data back to it. The MSK EMSY system transfers all pallet data throughout the entire logistics process without gaps. The system also automatically generates for example the delivery tickets for outbound goods through SAP through this network.
The HUB at the Dormagen plant is operated on two levels. The lower level contains the truck loading and offloading facility, the packaging area as well as the distribution for the production facilities and the pallet sorting, the upper level features a circular pallet distribution system for transferring the pallets to the high-bay system as well as recalling the pallets from the high-bay system. The overall system capacity is configured for a performance of 120 pallets per hour.

MSK EMSY - intelligent control and networking

“The MSK EMSY solution, which has been programmed especially for this BAYER location, is a special feature on the system in Dormagen“, stated Uwe Jonkmanns. The MSK EMSY 5.4 control and visualization software enables the tailor-made implementation of the required processes by MSK programmers, as well as the easily understandable visualization for the operator. The clearly structured user interface with intuitive touch-screens and 3-D graphics renders the search for functions and operation manageable and convenient. Important status information is available at a glance. BAYER’s database-based EMSY 5.4 system features communication interfaces to the internal SAP system. The system manages all information provided by peripheral devices, such as scanners etc. and transfers this information to SAP.

MSK Tensiontech stretch hood system

BAYER uses the new flexible MSK Tensiontech stretch hood system to package the various pallets at the Dormagen plant, such as containers (IBCs), Big Bags and bagged goods. The stretch hood solution enables the packaging of flammable goods without the use of gas-operated or thermal devices. MSK uses a specific technology which creates reliable welds of the film hoods. Thus, they optimally protect the products from environmental impacts. The use of stainless steel and plastic coatings on certain equipment components meets the high standards of a chemical production plant.

The system in Dormagen is able to wrap up to 120 pallets per hour with two different film formats. The film hoods are stretched individually for all pallet sizes to any longitudinal and transversal coordinates. This enables the use of thinner film and the tailor-made packaging of the most diverse pallet sizes. The patented MSK Vertical Stretch (EP 1 717 148) thereby increases the load stability. The MSK system also simplifies the maintenance processes: The machine head of the MSK Tensiontech can be lowered to working level, which significantly simplifies and accelerates the maintenance process.

MSK – Partner for industry for over 40 years

For more than 40 years, the MSK Covertech Group has been industry's partner for film packaging systems in the form of shrink wrap and stretch hood systems, unwrapping machines and pallet handling and conveyor systems.  The company offers single source development, manufacture and service. Based on decades of experience, specialists produce made-to-measure solutions to customer-specific needs from a wide range of industries. With over 500 employees and locations in Germany, France, Hungary, USA and China, MSK is numbered among the international leaders in providers of pallet packaging systems.

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