GSK VACCINES: from the detail project to the commissioning

The Customer

GSK Vaccines is the only biotechnological company dealing with the vaccine sector in Italy, the only one that researches, develops and produces vaccines in our country.

Their products include, among others, meningococcal vaccines, pediatric vaccines and flu and pandemic vaccines. Today GSK Vaccines, with two sites, one in Siena and one in Rosia (where over 1,500 people work), annually produces millions of vaccine doses for over 70 markets around the world and is a solid reference point for the Italian and international healthcare scenario as regards the fight against infectious diseases.

Further confirming the growing role that GSK Vaccines intends to give to the Italian headquarters within the Vaccines division, the company has heavily invested on Rosia site (Siena province), one of the world-class production centers, where modern plants of bacterial vaccines productions and their related infrastructures have been realised. In addition to that, the new building dedicated to final processing, with further spaces also intended for aseptic production, together with new labs for quality control.



Together with the upgrading of production capacities and with a view to overall efficiency, GSK Vaccines, , has started a project to re-organize the internal logistics of Rosia site, aimed at rationalizing and automating the warehouses that is serving the plant.

The main aim was the definition of the best overall solution both of the stocking system at room temperature (15 ÷ 25 ° C), intended to locate the raw materials and the packaging materials, and of the handling system appointed to its integration to user departments (production, packaging). This solution had to be be implemented consistently with the indications of the GMP rules, taking into account any possible, further future expansions and in a scenario that did not expect any interruption of the operational activities during construction phase.


The intervention was processed according to the following steps:

  • detailed design of the overall solution (automatic warehouse, conveyance features, IT frame for their management)
  • definition of the logical processes, the organization principles and the optimal operation processes
  • drafting of technical purchasing specifications and assistance in choosing the supplier
  • coordination of the construction project
  • construction assistance
  • start-up assistance
  • final testing of the system.


After the evaluation of several technological alternatives, a solution was chosen that includes a self-supporting automatic warehouse for pallets served by double-deep stacker cranes with their own head conveyance. The load units handled are 800x1200xh1200 / 1700 mm with a maximum weight of 750 kg.

The warehouse, with a surface of about 1700 m², has a height of about 22 meters, 11 levels and 3 storage aisles. The double-deep stacker cranes guarantee a potential of 25/30 combined cycles per hour and machine.

La testata, realizzata con rulliere motorizzate e convogliatori a catene, prevede due punti di ingresso e due stazioni di uscita dei pallets. La gestione dell’impianto è affidata ad un sistema di controllo e di coordinamento che si interfaccia, a monte, con SAP ed a valle con il campo attraverso PLC.

The conveying system, made with motorized rollers and chain conveyors, has two entry points and two exit stations for the pallets. The management of the plant is entrusted to a control and coordination system interfacing upstream with SAP and downstream through PLC.

The logistic building site has developed in just over a year, according to a sequence realization steps that saw at first the floor installation, then the assembly of the self-supporting structure (complete with infill panels and roofing) and finally the introduction of the stacker cranes and the laying of the conveying header.

Together with the logistics activities also the plant related activities were carried out, linked in particular, to the installation of the fire extinguishing system (multilevel shelf sprinklers) and the HVAC systems, designed to maintain controlled temperature and humidity in the warehouse.This solution, operational since September 2010, will allow the centralisation of the materials in a single warehouse, rationalising the flows within the plant and ensuring also a good future possibility of expansion.



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