Automated systems bring pharmaceutical warehouses into the 21st century


To watch it today you would never guess that SpimacoThe brilliant pharmaceutical production and storage facility in Qassim, Saudi Arabia, was once its biggest obstacle to growth. But it was. Just a few years ago, the facility was a cramped manual operation that struggled to keep pace with the company’s daily throughput needs, let alone room to grow.

For business leaders, these constraints quickly became a concern. This concern ultimately led to the decision to give the facility, which was built in 1988, a much needed makeover and bring it into the 21st century. Spimaco called on a company based in Germany Lödige Industries, a manufacturer of material handling solutions, for the work of modernizing the operation. After consultation, the partners chose the path of automation and extension: that is to say, they decided to expand the existing installation with the addition of a distribution center and automated high-bay storage.


The first step for the Lödige team was to conduct a detailed analysis of Spimaco’s existing infrastructure and processes to determine which equipment and systems would best meet its future needs. Acting as the general contractor for the installation, Lödige then designed and implemented new handling and fulfillment systems, integrating solutions from different vendors into a bespoke system where necessary.

The result of his efforts is a new state-of-the-art warehouse that enables automated palletization, picking, storage and retrieval and shipment of pharmaceuticals in full compliance with pharmaceutical regulations. Among other improvements, the facility includes more than 5,000 storage spaces, several hundred meters of conveyors for boxes and pallets, two palletizing robots and more than 30 automated shuttles.

To ensure that the new facility runs smoothly on all production lines during the initial period of operation, Lödige maintained the operational management of the facility and also provided “resident maintenance” services.


The results of the project have been impressive. With the new automated systems in place, Spimaco has almost doubled its processing rates for finished products. In addition, the upgrade gave the company complete inventory control and high quality tracking and traceability programs, while improving its ability to handle extremely delicate products governed by strict rules and regulations of the United States. ‘industry.

In the context of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, having a high performing infrastructure has helped the company to grow and prosper. “Our old distribution center was starting to limit our capacity. But now, with the new facility, we have modernized the existing systems and our growth potential has become unlimited, ”said Khalid Al-Khattaf, CEO of Spimaco, in a statement. “Pharmaceuticals are very sensitive, so it was important to have a highly reliable solution suited to our needs. “


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