winkler plans its intralogistics 10 years in advance and, with the Klinkhammer Group, found the right partner for the new building measures already in 2004. As in previous years, Leuze electronic is contributing sensors to this project as well, including optical data transceivers and bar code readers.
At winkler in Ulm, the increase in orders is not the only challenge; the continuous growth in the number of products poses one as well. From Ulm, deliveries are shipped to customers and on-site warehouses of the winkler facilities throughout southern Germany, in Austria and in Switzerland and global exports and customs are handled. More than 100,000 commercial vehicle spare parts can be delivered within a very short time.
Herbert Skala, director of logistics at winkler, explains the background for the renovations undertaken in recent years. He says: “While we remove between 1200 and 1500 parts from our product range every year, we add another 4500 in their place. On the one hand, we therefore needed more space. On the other, we needed perfect integration and optimum logistics from the receipt of an order to the delivery of the goods.”
The order for the new conveyor system, including material flow computer, went to the Klinkhammer Group from Nuremberg. In addition to the new buildings, winkler and Klinkhammer placed special focus on the integration with and optimisation of the existing system. As an independent intralogistics specialist, the Klinkhammer Group has realised systems for all branches of industry and business of all sizes, and has been among the leading providers in Germany for more than 40 years. The service range spans from warehouse optimisation to expansions to the completely new construction of central warehouses.
In Ulm, in addition to three new halls with various storage areas for high-volume and small accessory parts, the receiving area, the packing department, an order consolidation buffer and the conveyor system were built completely new. The placement and removal of empty container stacks was separated and the receiving area was expanded: above the receiving paths, buffers with stacking and de-stacking machines were installed to optimally supply the receiving workplaces with empty containers.
Now, both 600 × 800mm size containers, which are used in the new part of the warehouse, as well as the 600 × 400mm size containers used in the old system can be transported. This also poses a challenge for the bar code readers that are used. For the identification of the containers, BCL 34 stationary bar code readers from Leuze electronic are installed in the old system.
In the new warehouse, on the other hand, one must also deal with larger containers in mixed operation. As a result, the labels may be located at different positions on the containers – depending on which size is currently passing by the scanner. During planning of the new construction project, the Klinkhammer Group opted for the new BCL 304i scanner generation from Leuze electronic in order to meet this challenge. By positioning at an incline, the read field is expanded so that all labels can be read reliably. This is possible thanks to the high-quality optics that facilitate a large depth of field and a very wide opening angle.
Due to their modular design, the scanners can, in principle, be equipped with a choice of front, oscillating or deflecting mirror. In the application at winkler, deflecting mirrors are used. In spite of the necessary inclination, the devices can still be mounted very close to the roller conveyor, i.e., they can be used even in very tight spaces – yet retain a very large read field.
Code reconstruction technology (CRT) from Leuze electronic ensures additional reading reliability. Whereas in simple reading systems the bar codes must be detected entirely using a continuous scan line, code reconstruction technology enables offset and repeated reading of individual fragments of codes. The device then reconstructs these fragments to form an overall result. CRT enables the reliable decoding of labels which are not printed precisely or are difficult to read.
In addition to the bar code readers, Klinkhammer installed further sensors from Leuze electronic due to past good experiences, including scanners, e.g., in the labelling devices, as well as optical data transceivers in the buffer area before order consolidation. The use of the optical components from Owen convinced system integrator Klinkhammer and winkler right from the start.
In a central warehouse for commercial vehicle accessories, there are also, of course, especially large and bulky parts. These include tanks as well as windscreens, air compressors and snow ploughs. These need to be stored and, in the event of an order, be quickly and easily transported to the shipping area – even over various levels.
This task was solved with reversible vertical conveyors based on modular belt technology. During storage, bulky parts are unloaded from the delivery truck by a high-lift truck and placed directly on the belts and then glide with the aid of the modular belts to the conveyor. There, they are transported vertically and – via modular belts – on to the next transfer point. The process functions bidirectionally. For smooth operation, the employees are assisted by additional, optical indicators (signal lights).
Because the paths and storage locations vary widely – there is the container warehouse for small parts and the pallet warehouse for large parts – the concept of order consolidation was realised in a shuttle warehouse in the shipping area. Here, the employees can complete the orders for shipping at 12 specially designed packing stations.
Smooth and efficient processes
Another example of how workplaces were realised for smooth and efficient processes at winkler are the transfer stations for high-lift trucks in the high-bay warehouse. The order pickers move their containers from the high rack directly to the packing station and then pass them on to the lowest conveyor line. Without any further vehicle movement, they can use the fork to move to the top level and pick up another container made available by the system from the empty container buffer located above it – without interruption. Even the label printers and work stations are mounted at an optimum height for the high-lift truck operators. The high-lift truck operators no longer need to get off their vehicles, for example, to scan the container code. All work steps are performed ergonomically at the operating level of the high-lift truck.
Through the expansion of the central warehouse in Ulm, winkler increased storage space by 60 per cent. Thanks to the size of the central warehouse alone, which measures 45,000 square meters, special requirements on speed and consolidation can be met.
It now takes a maximum of 8–10 minutes to transport a part from the central warehouse to the shipping area. In addition to the design of the individual components and the concept, the new container conveyor line from hall 8 to hall 11 plays a decisive role here. Transport speeds of up to 1.2m/s allow connections to be made and distances covered very quickly. At winkler, it is referred to as the “ICE” (synonymous with Germany’s high-speed railway system).
The new conveyor system was designed for a throughput of 2000 containers per hour. Instead of 8000 items, nearly 11,000 items can now be moved per day at winkler. Herbert Skala explains: “Depending on load, we operate at an hourly throughput of 1000 to 1200 containers today. We have, thus, intentionally left room to grow to ensure that we have adequate capacity for the next eight to ten years.”
To learn more about Leuze sensors, please visit www.leuze.co.uk.