The new company headquarters of the South Tyrolean alpine sports expert is a high-class building where values are held high and humans are in the focus of the corporate business. But it is also an interface between technology and human beings. Nowhere can this be better perceived than in the new fully automated logistics centre. The centralised warehouse assumes the entire distribution operations of the highly functional alpine sports equipment. The energy-efficient solutions by TGW contributed to the successful implementation of the trend-setting project in Bolzano.
The company Oberalp S.p.A. is part of the Oberrauch Group. The family-owned retailing company has been working in the apparel business for five generations. Oberalp's mission in Italy is to establish leading brands such as Speedo, Löffler, RipCurl, Armada etc. in their respective sectors. All these brands stand out for highly technological, functional and authentic products, high cultural standards and special corporate values. With brands like SALEWA and DYNAFIT, the company group is one of the leading manufacturers in the alpine sports business. The company's increasing success involved some consequences, as the existing premises in Bolzano became too small and several satellite warehouses in and around Bolzano turned out to be inconvenient. The wish for a centralised building that accommodates all brands became reality with the relocation into the new headquarters in October 2011. The new building complex also offered enough room for the central warehouse and the distribution centre. The implementation of the logistics section was entrusted to TGW.
Modern architecture sets logistics trends
Oberalp organised an architectural competition for the new headquarters in Bolzano. The concept proposed by a renowned North Italian architect won, and the erection of a futuristic building was soon started. The new company headquarters should not only serve as logistics centre and distribution facility, but also attract visitors by a new SALEWA flagship store as well as an impressive climbing gym.
TGW was commissioned as general contractor to supply the interior equipment of the new logistics centre. "TGW's extensive product portfolio once again was the decisive factor for the customer in the Oberalp project. Thanks to our modular systems, we were able to offer our customer a customised solution, tailored exactly to meet his needs", says TGW Project Manager Roland Stieger.
The solution concept was created together with IWL, a German logistics consulting company based in Ulm. TGW's scope of supply included tote as well as unit load conveyor equipment, storage and retrieval systems and controls.
Height limit for dynamic warehouse
Besides the control equipment, TGW also implemented the entire tote and unit load conveyor equipment as well as the automatic storage and retrieval system, installing about 80 metres of unit load conveyors and about 1,000 metres of tote conveyors.
Every 73.5 metre long aisle of the 8-aisle automatic mini-load is equipped with a Mustang storage & retrieval machine with anti-pendulum drive and Combi Telescope load handler. With 18 metres, the storage & retrieval machines reach quite a height. "For Oberalp, this technology constitutes quite a fast development from a lot of manual work to a high level of automation", says Hubert Andres, Logistics Director at Oberalp. "It provides a considerably higher performance, but also presents us with completely new challenges, for instance with regard to personnel development for the operation and maintenance of the electro-mechanical system."
Apart from the mechanical and automation technology, Oberalp also purchased a Life Time Service package. A consignment stock, that is to say a spare parts warehouse managed by TGW, provides for continuous replenishments, in case a part has to be replaced within the system. After two years in TGW's property, the stock will pass into the customer's ownership. Within these two years, TGW employees will be on site at periodical intervals to perform maintenance work and full support service. The service package also includes the 24/7 Hotline of TGW's Life Time Service.
Highlight – energy efficient TGW solution
"Sustainability and energy efficiency have been important factors for the implementation of the logistics centre from the beginning", Hubert Andres points out. The call for proposals for the architectural competition already attached great importance to solar energy - the entire building is covered by solar panels. The logistics system was equipped with energy-saving motors. "Oberalp was one of the first projects that we completely implemented with those technologies. It was a pioneering project so to speak, since this has become standard by now", says Project Manager Stieger. "Oberalp has a highly developed sense for sustainability which is reflected in the implemented solution, too." Energy recovery has been taken into consideration for the storage & retrieval machines. Energy generated during the deceleration phases is fed back into the system via corresponding power feedback modules. Furthermore, a sophisticated energy management system takes care of starting up the storage & retrieval machines. Time and energy consumption for the start-up of the machines are monitored so that a maximum of four machines is able to start at the same time. The remaining machines are set into motion with a time lag, since acceleration requires the most amount of energy. "In this project, it was the customer who actively asked for such a system", Roland Stieger is pleased.
Fit as a fiddle with sportswear by Salewa and Co.
The logistics solution for Oberalp stores and handles sportswear as well as sports goods of all kinds with a focus on alpine sports. Once the goods have been delivered to the logistics centre, they are depalletised in the goods receiving area and repacked into totes. These totes are transported into the automatic mini-load warehouse and stored by Combi Telescope load handling devices. Customer orders of own and external brands are picked on a specially built level. By using Pick-to-Light technology, the customer-specific cartons are packed and transported via a pusher line to a conveyor loop in the goods-out area where they are buffered and routed according to their destination. From there they proceed to a labelling machine via a continuous lift and continue to the despatch chutes where the cartons are classified for the different forwarders.