Böllhoff Group, headquartered in Bielefeld, Germany, is a world leader in the manufacturing and distribution of metal and plastic fasteners and joining solutions. To be able to optimally handle the necessary processes, Böllhoff analysed its logistics operations with external consultants and invested in a new automated system. This system was implemented by TGW during live operation, with no shutdown, similar to changing the engine on an airplane while it was inflight.
According to Hayrettin Sariz, director of Böllhoff's Logistics Centre North, the new automated system increased Böllhoff's overall throughput at the facility. "We were able to increase the productivity in all areas of the logistics centre and remarkably reduce our employees' weight load," says Sariz. A decisive factor for these improvements has been the new, fully automatic buffering system from systems integrator TGW that constitutes the ideal combination of human labour and automation for Böllhoff. TGW implemented a compact Commissioner storage solution at Böllhoff’s Bielefeld headquarters in February 2012. This solution was integrated into Böllhoff's existing material handling system, allowing the company to handle thousands of tote movements a day and optimize multiple areas of the logistics centre. "Today, the goods receiving, order picking and shipping areas work independently from each other," explains Sebastian Rose, Technical Director at Böllhoff. "The Commissioner storage buffer ensures that overloading in one area does not negatively influence the operations in other areas."
Joining Together – Böllhoff's high-quality fasteners
The Böllhoff Group is a family-owned company with over 2000 employees, operating in 21 countries around the world. The company manufactures products at the headquarters in Bielefeld, as well as at eight other production locations worldwide. In addition to its own products, the company distributes a great number of fasteners of other manufacturers, offering a comprehensive range of more than 100,000 items distributed through several logistics centres. The Logistics Centre North, located at the company headquarters, replenishes the other logistics centres and also distributes direct customer supplies for Germany and the international market.
Buffering system for several picking areas
Order picking is done in several areas - primarily in a mini-load warehouse and in the pallet high-bay warehouse operated by manned industrial trucks. Depending on the order volume, Böllhoff picks the orders onto pallets or in its own KLT totes. "In the past we used a conveyor loop as buffer between order picking and shipping," says Sebastian Rose, Technical Director of Böllhoff's Logistics Centre North. "Today, we have a considerably higher buffer capacity. What's more, we are now able to retrieve the totes from the Commissioner machines sequenced according to different criteria."
A comprehensive package – reliability, performance, energy efficiency
TGW's Commissioner was selected over several competitors. The decisive factor of the customer for awarding the contract to TGW was the comprehensive solution package - the integration of the new system into Böllhoff's existing warehouse management system, the controls concept, the modular design, the technology's high performance and reliability.
No interruption of operations during extension
"The integration of this solution into the existing building structure was one of the biggest challenges, since we had to make sure not to interrupt the daily operations by any means," says Uwe Neumann. “Therefore, much of the work was done outside Böllhoff's operating hours, such as the erection of the conveyor system platform and the insertion of the Commissioner lifting beams. According to Hayrettin Sariz, everyone worked hard to make it happen. Our Maintenance department and TGW made a top job here, even if one or another weekend had to be used." Having the requirements well-determined beforehand made the job easier as all people involved were able to prepare.
The IT challenges were also mastered in close cooperation. TGW mapped the complex strategies for the flexible retrieval of orders from the buffer in its own warehouse control software CI_LOG. TGW implemented an interface between the warehouse control and Böllhoff’s WMS used by Böllhoff. In the meanwhile TGW implemented an interface that ensures optimum interactions between the two systems.
|Press information Böllhoff - Word Document||112 KB||DOCX|
|The TGW Controls Commander overlooks all processes within the logistics centre.||2.8 MB||JPG|
|In the P&D area the established TGW conveyor equipment has been implemented guiding the goods into the right directions.||4.0 MB||JPG|
|In the visualisation the installation is displayed graphically – this way Boellhoff is able to stay on top of things.||2.5 MB||JPG|
|The Commissioner storage buffer ensures that overloading in one area does not negatively influence the operations in other areas.||3.2 MB||JPG|
|With the new buffer system, the workload of the Böllhoff associates could be reduced significantly.||3.9 MB||JPG|
|The new conveyor equipment was integrated into the existing installation and now works together with the old conveyor equipment.||3.0 MB||JPG|
|Sebastian Rose, Technical Director at Böllhoff and Hayrettin Sariz, Director of Böllhoff's Logistics Centre North.||3.9 MB||JPG|