The office supply cooperation Soennecken eG has increased its range of items by 50 percent over the last couple of years. The company realized the necessary expansion of the logistics capacity at the Overath location jointly with Unitechnik. An AutoStore warehouse creates room for 6,000 additional items in an area of nearly 300 m2.
Wanted: Scalable solutions for small parts
For the interim storage of small-volume products, Soennecken needed a warehouse and a picking system that allows fast access to all items. “We did not want a new construction or expansion of the building, but we wanted to improve the utilization of our logistics center that was completed in 2009. So we needed a system that effectively utilizes the existing space for our growing product range, yet was still scalable and could be integrated into the previous material flow as easily as possible”, says Klaus Schneider, head of company-wide process management at Soennecken.
Found: AutoStore with ten swift robots
They chose an AutoStore warehouse, which fulfills the requirements perfectly: It consists of a modular aluminum construction in which plastic containers (bins) are stacked on top of each other. Each bin can be divided into up to four compartments. The system needs only about half as much space as a conventional warehouse with shelves. This creates space-saving storage for many items. It can also be easily integrated into the existing system and is scalable with very little effort. The complete warehouse area of the Soennecken AutoStore has a size of nearly 300 m² and provides space for 9,500 bins. Currently, ten robots with a performance of up to 250 bins per hour are used to service the warehouse. The robots are controlled from a stationary control. The AutoStore system is linked to the warehouse management system UniWare through a “bin interface”. Through this interface programmed by Unitechnik, the warehouse management system communicates with the AutoStore warehouse and, for example, informs it if an item must be provided for picking at the transfer point.
Impressive results for Soennecken
With the AutoStore system, Soennecken can store up to 21,000 different items in the complete logistics center and pick them highly efficiently. The pickers are optimally guided through the automatic delivery of the bins from the AutoStore system and an IT-supported picking dialog. This helps nearly eliminate process errors. The expansion ultimately created highly ergonomic and thus healthy workplaces.
For more information: http://www.unitechnik.com