Expansion and new building for better performance – Stahlgruber, company for car spare parts, garage equipment, tools and accessories for the automobile industry, trusts in TGW's technologies and expanded its logistics centre at the site in Sulzbach-Rosenberg, including a new construction of the goods-in area and the automatic mini-load warehouse.
It is the seventh time Stahlgruber, headquartered in Poing, expands its logistics centre. The company always provides fast spare parts service to its customers and the new logistics centre contributes to the improving customer service. Within twelve months the existing site was expanded by a building of more than 23,000 square metres linked to the existing system by a 60-metre bridge, including TGW conveyor connection.
Growth results in expansion
Stahlgruber's continuous growth coming along with subsidiaries abroad was the main reason for the extension of the site. In 2013, the company acquired a majority stake in PV Automotive GmbH, headquartered in Duisburg. Since then, the logistics of Stahlgruber has been responsible for the replenishment of PV which made the extension necessary. 155,000 items in the warehouse require special planning. In the old system, approximately 70,000 order lines left the warehouse every single day. "The new automatic mini-load warehouse should help us to handle capacities of 100,000 items in a two-shift-operation. That way, customer orders are provided more precisely and faster for shipping," explains Andreas Schoene, Logistics Manager of Stahlgruber. "Until now, we have worked in a three-shift operation because the express deliveries until 7 o'clock AM ordered by 6 PM had to be prepared the day before."
Starting in the goods-in area
TGW built a new goods-in terminal for the spare parts company in order for the goods to optimally travel through the logistics centre. 44 workstations connected to the tote conveyor system are not only used for depalletising but also for the distribution of the goods to the material handling system. On two levels the items are taken from the pallets and stored in the empty totes provided automatically. From there, a major part moves either to the stock shelf, the dispatch area or to the automatic mini-load warehouse.
New automatic mini-load warehouse
The automatic mini-load warehouse with 18 aisles and TGW Mustang storage and retrieval machines is the core of the new system. The Twister load handling devices transport the goods from and to 165,800 storage locations with a performance of up to 118 storage and retrieval movements per hour. The special feature: The automatic mini-load warehouse consists of two storage levels with nine aisles each and two separated storage and retrieval levels. In total, the warehouse is 26 metres high resulting in a very good throughput performance. A sequencing buffer is directly connected to the automatic mini-load warehouse. This buffer sorts the reservations according to the orders and forwards them to the workstations. Thanks to the new warehouse, the workload of the shelving rack system will be reduced because many small parts will be stored in the high-performance automatic mini-load warehouse.
Also Stahlgruber's pallet system was modified. The suppliers now deliver all pallets with a number of the shipping unit which will be scanned and automatically sent to the software system (WMS and MFC) developed by Stahlgruber. The goods are received in the goods-in area at the SSCC depalletising stations and are sent to the existing pallet high-bay warehouse via a bridge. By means of the TGW conveyor system the pallets are then stored.
Old and new - hand in hand
A conveyor line transports the empty roll containers to the picking stations whereas the loaded roll containers are transported to the goods-out area. Furthermore, the conveyor line connects the already existing system with the new one. The TGW tote conveying system is four kilometres long and stretches over several levels, connecting various warehouse areas: the use of TGW KingDrive® and storage and retrieval machine technology increases the efficiency of the small parts picking process as well as the delivery performance. The control and integration of the new warehouse as well as the consolidation at ergonomic workstations by conveyors result in efficient and time-optimised working processes.
The goods are picked at the eight ergonomic goods-to-person picking stations of the automatic mini-load warehouse. The employees handle up to 210 totes per hour. Next to those picking stations, the SSCC pallets are transported from the goods-in area to eight workstations by means of TGW pallet lifts and a double transfer car.
TGW Project Manager Josef Eibel: "The system was developed in close collaboration with Stahlgruber. Therefore, it is perfectly tailored to the customer's needs. At the workstations the pallets are lifted to waist level of the employees to provide optimum ergonomics." After the items have been scanned, a display informs the employees about the required number of items. They employees then put the required quantity into the provided empty tote which is transported to the warehouse afterwards. "When we designed the workstations we also considered a possible expansion in the future due to the growth of Stahlgruber," says Eibel.
Goods-out area - where the journey continues
Also the goods-out area was adapted to the new system. "In this area we added a new goods-out line and expanded the dispatch area. It was especially exciting to renew and update the existing conveyor system of the goods-out area which is more than 20 years old," Josef Eibel is proud of the implementation. "It is unnecessary to say that the performance has been increased significantly and the noise emission has been reduced compared to the old system." The site was restructured during live operation, Eibel calls it an "open heart surgery". The reconstruction works had to be done on weekends in order to not affect the performance of Stahlgruber during the reconstruction phase. "The coordination between all involved companies was very challenging but the team worked perfectly together!", Eibel is happy. "We could duplicate the performance thanks to the new conveying system leading to the goods-out area!"
TGW technology for a strong future
"The new system for Stahlgruber is a good concept, thought through from the goods-in to the goods-out area. We were responsible for the conveyor and storage & retrieval equipment of the goods-in area as well as the new automatic mini-load warehouse and the entire conveyor system for totes, roll containers and pallets as well as the storage and retrieval machines. Furthermore, we also contributed to the design of the ergonomic workstations for the goods-in, repacking, picking and goods-out areas in order to provide optimal conditions for the employees," says Josef Eibel. In addition to the mechanical equipment, TGW also delivered the controls equipment up to the PLC level via our partner SITLog. Material flow control, warehouse management system and visualisation were implemented by Stahlgruber.
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