Existing and potential UK customers from a variety of industries visited Knapp's headquarters in Graz, Austria, recently to experience at first hand the group's latest technologies for warehouse automation.
On the first morning of the two-day 'Let's Move' event, visitors enjoyed a presentation on KNAPP's shuttle technology in the group's impressive headquarters building, followed by a tour of Knapp's manufacturing facility on the same site in Hart bei Graz. After lunch and a further presentation on multichannel warehousing, guests visited the distribution centre of Knapp customer, JCL Logistics, in nearby Werndorf. After some traditional Austrian hospitality in the evening, day two provided the opportunity for some of the party to visit the warehouse of the grocery retailer, SPAR sterreichische Warenhandels-AG, in St Plten to see Knapp's KiSoft Automove laser-guided AGVs in action, while other guests toured the company's brand-new demonstration facility to see its latest products.
Said Craig Rollason, Head of Sales and Marketing for Knapp UK, "With the time pressures that executives at this level face, we were delighted that so many of our current and prospective clients were able to join us for this visit and the feedback we have received clearly shows that they valued the opportunity to see our solutions in operation."
Hanging and flat-packed garments handled with ease at JCL Logistics
Visitors toured the site of JCL Logistics, a third-party logistics supplier with more than 60 sites across 25 countries. JCL provides distribution services for a number of clients including a major Swiss fashion retailer and recently invested over 18 million Euros in its Werndorf facility. The 45,000m2 distribution centre, which opened this summer, accommodates some 2 million hanging garments, 15,000 containers and 10,000 pallets. Designed to use automation to meet both B2B (retailer) and B2C (online consumer) demands in a flexible way, the site features Knapp's OSR Shuttle solution, as well as the overhead conveyor systems of Knapp subsidiary, Drkopp Frdertechnik.
The site also has the first installation of Knapp's new 'Fastbox' towers. Situated adjacent to the picking stations, Fastbox modules can act as a buffer for fast-moving products (such as goods featured in current promotional campaigns), as a buffer for order containers or as a means of sequencing containers ready for robotic palletization or route-optimised vehicle loading. The Fastbox systems feature ultra-rapid handling for containers, trays or cartons. The OSR Shuttle and Fastbox systems serve a series of order picking stations. As JCL wanted these workstations to be as ergonomic as possible, user-friendly materials such as warm-to-touch wood and cushioned fascias were incorporated into their design.
Latest technology at demo facility
In Knapp's brand-new demonstration building, visitors were able to see the company's latest solutions in operation. There was considerable interest in the ergonomically designed Pick-it-Easy goods-to-person picking stations, which are both TV- and CE-certified. Pick-it-Easy Shop is designed to meet the needs of the e-commerce sector and is suitable for goods that are placed into order containers of different heights, as these are then supplied at the optimal ergonomic height for picking staff. Pick-to-light and put-to-light technology is used to manage the order picking, with light curtains verifying the picking process and operators also being guided by photos of the products to be picked on a centrally located touch-screen. Constructed from an acrylic stone that is manufactured from recycled materials, the workstations are pleasing to touch and easy to clean. Guests also enjoyed a demonstration of Knapp's Pick-it-Easy Tray system, which is designed for picking both single items and outers into roll cages in the grocery sector. The workstations minimise strenuous tasks through automatic height adjustment of source and target containers and through replacing lifting tasks with sliding operations. A touch-screen shows operators which goods to pick and in which position in the adjacent roll cage to place them. There was also a demonstration of Pick-it-Easy Pack, a workstation that unites Knapp's ergonomic packing station design with technologies for hanging garments and flat-pack goods in the fashion sector.