1. March 2022
(Marchtrenk, 1 March 2022) The year 2022 will mark the 15th time that the EHI Retail Institute has honored 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 digitalized omni channel fulfillment center for workwear worldwide. At the same time, warehouse automation specialist and technology partner TGW was honored as Top Supplier Retail.
A family-owned company founded in 1948, Engelbert Strauss is one of the leading workwear manufacturers in the world. Their collections 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 recognizes 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 customizes the shoes, jackets, and trousers produced according to customers' wishes. A special highlight: the shoe factory inside produces up to 400,000 pairs of shoes every year that are customized according to corporate design specifications from customers—and all at series production costs. This process has been patented.
On peak days, up to 50,000 packages leave the highly-automated fulfillment center on their way to customers across Europe. Engelbert Straus invested over 223 million dollars 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 optimize all processes. Significant advantages of the holistic planning approach include minimization of the project's complexity and risks through validation of all processes, significant reduction of realization and commissioning time, and substantial reduction of project costs.
The CI Factory is also designed with 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 55 million dollars in the TGW system," reports Martin Waldenberger, Sales Project Manager at TGW. "Digitalization, artificial intelligence, and robotics are of central importance here as well: our prize-winning Rovolution picking robots will be supplied by a 17-aisle shuttle system, while around 30 autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) will handle returned goods."