TGW Shuttle System Secures Harvest Season - Noticias & Prensa - TGW Logistics Group
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TGW Shuttle System Secures Harvest Season

28/10/2013

Fast spare parts supplies for tractors, harvesters and other agricultural machinery is extremely important to farmers, especially in the harvest season. The Fricke Group ensures these supplies all over Europe from their central warehouse located in the North German town of Heeslingen. A high-performance materials handling system by TGW provides for optimum processes within this warehouse.

The Fricke Group headquartered in Heeslingen, Northern Germany, ranks among Europe's largest private actors in agricultural machinery trade. The company, which was founded in 1923, developed from a traditional agricultural machinery distributor to an European service provider with nearly 1100 employees and sites in 17 countries.

Spare parts for the whole of Europe – coming from one central warehouse in Northern Germany

Holger Wachholtz, Managing Director of Fricke, remembers: "The warehouse burst at its seams, so we started to think about the right way to solve this problem." In collaboration with consultants from ViaLOG, Fricke decided to extend the Heeslingen site further and to automate parts of it, as otherwise the distances would have been too long and the productivity of the picking personnel too low.

Manual order picking - high-performance automatic buffer

For the automation solution, Fricke opted for TGW Systems Integration as project partner. But the decision was not made in favour of a "goods-to-person" picking system, like one would have guessed. Instead, Fricke decided to concentrate the small parts picking operations in a 4-level shelving rack system. In this system, the orders are picked on all levels, and each employee works on several orders at a time to optimise the picking routes. This optimisation permitted Fricke to increase the picking performance per employee to about 60 items per hour, which is a three times higher rate.

TGW STINGRAY shuttle system consolidates the orders

6,000 to 7,000 customers are supplied with a total of 12,000 packages every day. "Our customers would not accept it, if we sent them five packages for a small order, besides the costs. They want as few packages as possible," explains Holger Wachholtz. Therefore, a powerful buffering system is necessary, which was implemented with a TGW STINGRAY Shuttle System.

The goods picked into plastic totes are placed onto the conveyor system in the respective picking area and conveyed automatically into the shuttle buffer. A total of 76 TGW STINGRAY shuttles service the 9,120 storage locations in four aisles where the picking totes wait until all goods have arrived for the respective order to be completed. Only then will all totes for a customer order be retrieved and forwarded to one of the packing workstations.

Cross-Belt Sorter as powerful connecting conveyor system

But the storage and retrieval performance alone is not quite enough. Also the conveyor connection between order picking, buffer storage and packing calls for high performance rates. TGW abandoned the idea of using conventional conveyor equipment for this function, and instead relied on a Cross-Belt Sorter which goes right through the new building of Fricke's logistics centre.

Investment decision for long-term cooperation


Fricke declare themselves quite satisfied with the progress of the project. "By and large, we have to say TGW did a good job. They were very dedicated and understood what we needed. It really was a harmonic and fair collaboration", says Fricke's Managing Director Holger Wachholtz. And his decision has a long-term relevance, too. "When it came to choosing the right project partner, it was already clear to us, that it was a technology we would be using for the next 20 years. If we had not had the impression that it was a partner with whom we would still be able to work with reasonably 20 years from now, we would certainly not have chosen TGW."


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Press information: TGW Shuttle System Ensures Harvest 96 KB DOCX
A total of 76 TGW STINGRAY shuttles service the 9,120 storage locations in four aisles where the picking totes wait until all goods have arrived for the respective order to be completed. 12.1 MB JPG
In this 4-level shelving rack system, each employee works on several orders at a time to optimise the picking routes. This optimisation permitted Fricke to increase the picking performance per employee to about 60 items per hour, which is a three times higher rate than before. 8.9 MB JPG
The vertical connection between the various levels is done by spiral conveyors. 9.7 MB JPG
As connecting conveyor system, the powerful Cross-Belt Sorter goes right through the new building of Fricke's logistics centre 9.8 MB JPG
The 64 packing stations are directly supplied by the Cross-Belt Sorter. All totes of an order are transported one after the other to a packing station defined by the control system. 10.6 MB JPG
In the shipping area, the finished packages are automatically sorted according to routes and provided on the corresponding target lanes of the conveyor system. 10.9 MB JPG
"By and large, we have to say TGW did a good job. They were very dedicated and understood what we needed. It really was a harmonic and fair collaboration", says Fricke's Managing Director Holger Wachholtz. 812 KB JPG