Industry 4.0 in practice at the Volkswagen Distribution Center in Poland

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Twenty-two docking ramps for standard semi-trailer tractors and eight universal docks for servicing smaller trucks and vans. In addition, three ground level ramps to allow cars to enter the warehouse at the floor level (equipped with high-speed rolling gates and outdoor canopies with a minimum area of 5 x 20 m) – this is only a small part of the Volkswagen Distribution Center in Komorniki, Poland.

Volkswagen Distribution Center is one of the largest facilities of this type in Poland (the third in Wielkopolska and the eighth investment in Poland in terms of the size of warehouse space), the total area is 32 thousand sqm (warehouse space can be expanded up to 43 thousand sqm). Annually, 1.5 million orders are processed in the warehouse, the number of deliveries is more than three times higher. There are over 60 thousand assortment items and the total weight of goods in the warehouse exceeds 3.5 thousand tons, which shows the scale of storage and transport needs (entry/exit).

Volkswagen Group Polska, an importer of Volkswagen, Audi, ŠKODA, SEAT, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, and Porsche, operates in the area of new cars, original parts, and accessories distribution. Without an efficient logistics and warehousing center, the implementation of tasks would be very difficult. They have been equipped with a number of modern technological solutions.

128 shelves with almost 100 thousand storage locations

Among them there are 4 automatic cabinets: 2 paternoster and 2 lean-lift types. Paternoster cabinets allow to reduce the storage area by 80%. At the same time, they allow quick access to goods (almost 10 thousand storage places). Lean-lift cabinets are particularly useful for non-standard size articles, as they adjust the distances between shelves to the size of stored goods, without losing space. Their capacity is 4.7 thousand storage locations.

The average access time for both types of cabinets is just over half a minute. Visual communication of the team is improved thanks to 16 information screens located in all zones of the warehouse.

The processes are improved by an automatic, intra-warehouse transport system, a roller conveyor of almost 580 meters long, serving three floors of the platform rack. There are 8 points of warehouse entry procedure and 8 release points (shipping). The capacity of the conveyor station is 1.2 thousand containers per hour. Among 40 forklift trucks used to handle warehouse processes, there are also those designed for narrow-aisle work, controlled by an induction loop. They are equipped with an LCD display indicating, among others: load, tilting angle of the drive wheel, man-hours, lifting height, etc.

At least 75 percent of the surface of all door openings in the „transport section” are glazed. They also have seals protecting against atmospheric conditions during unloading.

IT system

With the launch of the center, an ET2000 IT system was implemented, dedicated to the VW Group, and Poland is the first country to implement a system with an extended warehouse management module. One of the new features is the introduction of the SDD service (Quick Daily Deliveries) to increase the availability of original parts.

Photo: Volkswagen