VAHLE opens state-of-the-art automated miniload warehouse

PAUL VAHLE GmbH & Co. KG has opened one of the most modern material flow systems of its kind in Kamen. This marks the official end of the transformation of the warehouse, which cost €2.5 million. 

Source: VAHLE Group

Mirko Becker, Projektleiter Jungheinrich, Achim Dries, CEO Vahle Group, Joachim Krieger, Beiratsvorsitzender Vahle Group, Elke Kappen, Bürgermeisterin Kamen, Uwe Dieckmann, Stv. Betriebsratsvorsitzender Vahle Group, Katrin Bacht, Gesellschafterin Vahle Group, Rüdiger Kuhn, Leiter Logistik Vahle Group. (Foto: Vahle GmbH & Co. KG). 

The system provider for mobile industrial applications supplies the connected production facility with individual components from this site. Effective immediately, order picking takes place automatically with the latest warehousing equipment made by Jungheinrich. Politicians, business people and administrators attended the official opening of the plant.

“With this investment, Vahle has catapulted into the future and created the foundation for the sustainable optimisation of all upstream and downstream production processes,” says Achim Dries, CEO & Managing Director of Paul Vahle GmbH & Co. KG. The heart of the new system is an automated miniload warehouse with 7,314 storage locations. 

Boxes measuring 600 x 400 and 300 x 400 millimetres are stored double-deep or quadruple-deep and crosswise. These are serviced by what Jungheinrich views as the most powerful stacker crane of its class, which moves at a speed of six metres per second. A wide-aisle warehouse, cantilever racks for the storage of long goods and drive-through racking were also built. The logistics area has nearly doubled through the modernisation, to around 3,500 square metres.

“With the go live of the miniload warehouse, VAHLE is the first company in the world to utilise the Miniload STC, which was introduced by Jungheinrich in 2018,” explains Jürgen Wagenknecht, the responsible project manager at Jungheinrich. It has energy storage devices called SuperCaps, which are specially adapted to the stacker crane’s driving characteristics. These store the energy released during braking processes and feed it back into the drive system during acceleration. Dries adds: “This reduces our energy needs, in particular the power required for the stacker crane compared to conventional systems, by up to 25 per cent.” 

The VAHLE conductor bar system vConductor VKS 6 provides power transmission. “We have installed the best components that are currently available on the market,” says Dries. “In this way, we not only ensure the performance of our miniload warehouse but also make it possible for our customers to see the conductor bar system live in action.” The system is also designed for maximum efficiency with regard to space utilisation. 

By means of an innovative rail design and the drive system, which saves space through its integration in the mast base, the stacker crane realises the smallest approach dimensions in its class. The result is less space required, with a simultaneous increase in warehouse capacity and higher throughput. In order to further increase the order picking performance in shipment logistics, a modern pick-to-light system was installed parallel to the automated miniload warehouse. It is connected to a drive-through rack for up to 600 fast-moving components.

Steve Richmond, Director - Logistics Systems, Jungheinrich UK comments: “Automation has become a growing consideration for organisations as warehouses transition towards joined up intralogistics processes that unlock next level efficiency gains. For many organisations, putting part of their product portfolio into a miniload system has become a very efficient way of working, and we’ve experienced an exponential increase in demand for Jungheinrich miniload solutions. These are now far more commonplace, and picking systems are being built much higher than ever before. The STC is a true high-performance device and in terms of throughput, energy efficiency, cube utilisation and flexibility - it’s in a class of its own.”

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