Case study

Structural and traffic segregation in the world’s largest chocolate warehouse

Major chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut required a range of safety solutions to protect employees, assets and the infrastructure of their new facility. Called “The Barry Callebaut Chocolate Box”, the facility is the largest chocolate warehouse in the world. 

 

Barry Callebaut (1)

A-SAFE and Barry Callebaut

With a goal to protect the people, infrastructure and assets of the Barry Callebaut Group, numerous A-SAFE polymer systems have been implemented across the site. As a further result of this and past installations, a strong business relationship has continued to bloom between the two companies. 

Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, the Barry Callebaut Group is the world's leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, having mastered every step in the value chain, from the sourcing of raw materials to the production of the finest chocolates. 

With more than 175 years of chocolate production heritage, The Barry Callebaut Group has 66 factories worldwide and more than 13,000 employees in 40 countries. The company earns more than $8.5 billion annually in chocolate sales. More than 25% of the chocolate products consumed worldwide are from a Barry Callebaut facility. They’ve mastered every step from the sourcing of the raw materials to the production of the finest quality goods. 

In October 2021, Barry Callebaut opened its new global distribution centre in Lokeren, Belgium. Known as ‘The Chocolate Box' this 60,000m² building is the world’s largest chocolate warehouse. It’s 40m high with 125,000 pallet space.

The Barry Callebaut Chocolate Box is not only the world’s largest chocolate warehouse but also the most sustainable. For example, it is the first facility in the region with a “BREEAM Outstanding” certification - the highest standard in sustainable logistics. The building is fully energy-positive, as it can completely provide for its own energy needs. 

“It was essential that the protection did not impact the efficiency and flow of the warehouse but improve it.” 

The challenge

To protect the structural elements of Barry Callebaut’s industry-leading facilities, the assets within it and to reduce accident risks to employees, it was essential that the protection did not impact the efficiency and flow of the warehouse. Instead, it needed to enhance it. 

Finding a supplier was critical for Barry Callebaut.  Due to the facility’s size, it needed a large quantity of safety protection. It also needed these systems to be delivered in a timely manner. In addition, the chocolate maker determined that the safety systems should meet a high testing standard and offer a smooth installation plan that would not disrupt the ongoing work within the warehouse.

Meeting these needs required a rigorous search process. It soon became clear that A-SAFE, which had provided for the chocolate giant in its other facilities, offered the solution. A-SAFE is widely known for its first-rate safety systems, its high attention to detail and its excellent customer service. 

How A-SAFE rose to the challenge 

After an in-depth survey of the facility and closely liaising with Barry Callebaut representatives, A-SAFE identified a range of safety solutions to protect the infrastructure, assets, and most importantly, the chocolatier’s employees. 

The close relationship between the two teams gave an insight into how the Barry Callebaut facility would be operating. With this information, A-SAFE was able to provide a tailored suite of safety products for both internal and external areas that protected people, assets and infrastructure while also boosting operational efficiency. 

A selection of safety solutions was introduced to protect Barry Callebaut employees. This included adding iFlex Bollards and eFlex Pedestrian 3 Rail Barriers. Designed and manufactured with innovative methods, these barriers are made to withstand impacts without causing structural damage to the concrete flooring - an important factor to maintain the structure of the brand-new facility. 

In addition, a variety of products were provided to protect the infrastructure of the distribution center with iFlex Height Restrictors and FlexiShield Column Guards. 

Furthermore, racking protection was supplied to protect the 125,000 pallet spaces in the form of iFlex Single RackEnd Barriers, which are designed to defend against impact damage to racking. Since work-vehicle impacts can result in the collapse of complete racking structures, these were seen as a critical protection element. 

The Result

The risk of accident or damage has been greatly reduced, enhancing Barry Callebaut’s reputation for safety and employee care.

The close work between the teams resulted in a range of A-SAFE solutions being implemented that protect the world-class distribution facility’s structure, its people and its assets. 

Thanks to a tailored suite of innovative safety products, the employees of Barry Callebaut are now segregated from moving vehicles. This keeps them safe from harm and reduces the risk of work vehicle impacts that might lead to deaths and/or serious injuries. 

The facility’s safety team can also have peace of mind, knowing that if there are impacts on the A-SAFE protection in place, the cost of floor damage is reduced. 

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