The Returns Centre for empty containers

Industrial robots clean and sort the containers and automatically distribute the returns to the inbound area of the empties centre. This ensures a sufficient supply of transport containers for all the other areas of the distribution centre. This central unit consists of the following areas: A buffer zone for

empty roller containers, an empty container storage area for bakery products, the outbound buffer and, as the technological core of the system, the sorting unit. All of these zones are connected by more than 15 kilometers of conveyor technology.



The process at a glance


  • Throughput capacity for sorting and palletising: 6,000 containers per hour
  • Throughput for sorting and palletising IFKO containers: 7,000 containers per hour
  • Throughput for cleaning: 5,600 containers per hour
  • Throughput of the empty container buffer: 85,000 containers


The components at a glance



8 depalletising robots

Container sorter

12,000 containers per hour


3 palletising robots for single article pallets
2 sorting robots for IFKO containers


2 automatic washing robots along 4 washing lanes

Conveyor technology

more than 15 kilometres of conveyor technology 

Pallet lifts

22 lifts for pallets and containers (up to 35 metres high)


TGW Software Suite (MFR und WMS)