1. March 2022
(Marchtrenk, 1 March 2022) The year 2022 will mark the 15th time that the EHI Retail Institute has honoured extraordinarily innovative technology solutions in retail with the reta award. Engelbert Strauss is thrilled to win the prestigious award in the category for AI and robotics application: the renowned jury of experts awarded the prize to the CI Factory, the most innovative, fully digitalised omni channel fulfillment center for workwear worldwide. At the same time, intralogistics specialist and technology partner TGW was honoured as Top Supplier Retail.
A family-owned company founded in 1948, Engelbert Strauss is one of the leading workwear manufacturers in the world. The collections with the highly recognisable logo are designed for business use and primarily delivered to customers in skilled trades, industry and service.
Matthias Fischer, COO of Engelbert Strauss, notes: "We are delighted that the 2022 reta award recognises Strauss and TGW's joint achievement. Innovations in the form of artificial intelligence and robotics played an important role in the CI Factory, and we considered TGW to be one of the guarantees of the project's success."
The CI-Factory in the German town of Schlüchtern customises the shoes, jackets and trousers produced according to companies' wishes. A special highlight: the shoe factory made of glass produces up to 400,000 pairs of shoes every year that are customised according to corporate design specifications from the customers – and all at series production costs. The process has been patented.
On peak days, up to 50,000 packages leave the highly-automated logistics centre on their way to customers across Europe. Engelbert Straus invested over 200 million euros in this lighthouse project.
In what is dubbed the "logistics tower", a high-performance TGW FlashPick® system is used for both production logistics and order picking for deliveries to online customers and stores. For the first time ever, a digital twin was implemented for a project of this type and scope. And it was used in every stage of the project: planning, design engineering and live operation. This makes it possible to monitor, control and optimise all processes. Significant advantages of the holistic planning approach include minimisation of the project's complexity and risks through validation of all processes, significant reduction of realisation and commissioning time, and substantial reduction of project costs.
The concept of the CI Factory is also designed for fully-automated order picking by the intelligent TGW picking robot Rovolution, based on findings in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
"We will continue to work closely with Engelbert Strauss in the future as well: in the coming months we will be collaborating on another highly-automated picking solution in Biebergemünd with an investment of over 50 million euros in the intralogistics system," reports Martin Waldenberger, Sales Project Manager at TGW. "Digitalisation, artificial intelligence and robotics are of central importance here as well: our prizewinning Rovolution picking robots will be supplied by a 17-aisle shuttle system, while around 30 autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) will handle returned goods."