The Steris automated warehouse is allocated to the sterilization of products

The Steris automated warehouse is allocated to the sterilization of products

Products from the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector are sterilized in the Steris warehouse


Sterilization is a process that eliminates the microbial load of a product, leaving it free from all types of microorganisms. Steris, a company specializing in medical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic sterilization, has automated one of its new distribution centers in the town of Chusclan (France), with the aim of improving its service quality.

Present in over one hundred countries

Founded as Innovative Medical Technologies in Ohio in 1985, the company was renamed Steris in 1987 and now has offices in China, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

In France, Steris had only one distribution center, located in Marseille. However, in the words of Kévin Chautemps, the company’s maintenance manager, “we had insufficient storage capacity and could not increase our annual production.”

That is why a second warehouse has recently been opened in Chusclan. It processes orders from pharmaceutical, cosmetics and healthcare companies.

Automation: no downside

Steris understood that to offer better customer service, it had to update all its production processes, including logistics. To this end, it opted to simplify and automate the operations at its centers.

Automation has provided Steris with many benefits, such as increased productivity, reduced operating costs and perfect control of the goods.

Mecalux equipped the 44,562 ft2 distribution center in Chusclan with an AS/RS to hold over 1,000 pallets. “With this installation, we have doubled the original storage capacity so we can meet our growth prospects and fulfill customer demand,” explains Kévin Chautemps.

The warehouse has two floors (the upper one for entries and the lower one for exits) and is composed of two 177' aisles with single-deep rack; it is 51' high on both sides. Space has been reserved for an additional aisle in the future.

Warehouse operations do not require manual processes. “We knew very well that we needed an automated solution to respond as quickly as possible to our customers,” stated Steris' Maintenance Manager.

Every day, 180 pallets are received from customers all over the world (mainly from France, Italy, Spain and Germany). Immediately afterwards, the conveyors move them to the corresponding aisle and a stacker crane deposits them in their location.

Automating storage tasks and implementing Easy WMS, Mecalux’s warehouse management system, have made exhaustive and real-time control of goods simpler and easier. The WMS distributes the pallets to the locations according to their characteristics and rotation. It also organizes reception and delivery of the pallets to the sterilization area and their subsequent dispatch.

Kévin Chautemps - Steris Maintenance Manager
“Steris has a very good relationship with Mecalux. From the outset, Mecalux understood the importance we attach to safety during the sterilization process. Plus, the installed AS/RS let us double our initial storage capacity.”

Ionizing radiation

Steris’ center is much more than just a warehouse where goods are inserted, stored, managed and shipped; they are also sterilized there. On the lower floor of the warehouse, a conveyor circuit transfers the pallets to an area where this process is carried out.

To ensure that microorganisms are completely eliminated from the products, this area is restricted and is not accessible to operators. According to Kévin Chautemps, “the fully automated installation supplied by Mecalux has enabled us to guarantee greater effectiveness in sterilizing products”.

Advantages for Steris

  • Goods control: the automated warehouse and the WMS of Mecalux have promoted real-time product supervision, which is essential when dealing with sterile products for use in hospitals or pharmacies.
  • Maximum possible safety: automation means operators do not handle the goods, so the sterilization process can be carried out with full guarantees and without errors.
  • Swift operations: the stacker cranes and conveyors carry the goods to their corresponding location very quickly and operate 24-hours a day.
Automated warehouse of Steris
Storage capacity: 1,000 pallets
Pallet size: 45" x 54" x 83"
Max. pallet weight: 1.32 t
Racking height: 51'
Racking length: 177'
No. of stacker cranes: 2

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