Gaugler & Lutz opted for induction guided, multidirectional sideloaders for the new racking system. The aisles in the warehouse are narrow and space is fully utilised.
Gaugler & Lutz supplies structural components for wind turbines, road and rail transport and shipbuilding. At the Aalen-Ebnat industrial joinery plant, it processes wood and foam materials. They are used e.g. for the construction of rotor blades for wind turbines.
The processed materials were previously stored in three warehouses in Ebnat-Süd. Due to the growing demand, the decision was made to invest in a new facility. The new logistics centre in Aalen-Ebnat is equipped with an intelligent storage system.
Sideloaders with an inductive guidance system
The base is a 12-metre-high cantilever racking system (2,200 sqm), creating enough storage space for roughly 2,500 pallets. Pallets are transported in the warehouse by means of the MQ 30 electric multidirectional sideloaders. The trucks transport the goods through the mobile rack using an inductive guidance system. They precisely place pallets in designated areas and the semi-automatic positioning system helps them to do this.
“We store and remove up to 120 pallets of raw materials on a daily basis,” explains Rüdiger Wittenbeck, project manager for process optimisation at Gaugler & Lutz.
Before the new logistics centre was built, goods were stored in standard shelving units or simply stacked on top of each other. Frontloaders transported the pallets to their destinations. The various material formats and varying pallet sizes made it difficult to precisely store materials while making optimum use of the available space.
“After implementing our semi-automated warehouse logistics system at the new site, transportation and storage are now much more effective,” explains Vanessa Iliadis, who is responsible for logistics processing at Gaugler & Lutz.
A dedicated user interface concept was developed, combining internal transport technology with warehouse specifics.
Mobile racking does not waste any space
Each rack has three to five continuous storage levels installed one above the other, along with two fixed rows of racking connected to the sides of the building. Since the pallets and the materials stored on them do not come in standard formats, the length, width and height of the goods are measured every time. The materials are then weighed. The dimensions and overall weight determines where the goods are stored. After being measured, a roller conveyor system transports the pallets into the warehouse, where they are picked up on the Hubtex MQ 30 and the affixed barcode is scanned.
“The storage location is clearly determined by the dimensions and weight of the load and is communicated to a forklift driver. The designated aisle in the mobile racking system opens up automatically. The driver lines up the vehicle in front of the aisle on the inductive wire and then sets the electric multidirectional sideloader in motion. The vehicle then positions itself at the right location in front of the racking. The goods must be positioned very precisely to enable clearance of just a few millimetres and prevent contact with racks or goods,” explains Vanessa Iliadis.
The lifting mast automatically stops once it has reached the required rack height.
The multidirectional sideloaders feature personal protective systems. Laser scanners on the vehicle continuously monitor the aisles between the racks, detecting people or objects that are in dangerous proximity to vehicles. The intelligent controller automatically reduces the vehicle’s speed before bringing it to a halt.
The electric multidirectional sideloaders are guided along their paths, ensuring precise positioning of the vehicles. The inductive guidance system in the mobile racking facility guarantees maximum safety, more or less ensuring that racks and goods are never damaged. Optimised routes within the warehouses help save time when storing and retrieving goods.
Thanks to our mobile racking system and the MQ 30 multidirectional sideloaders, we have halved the amount of storage space required. We were able to get the warehouse management system, vehicle, sensors and rack system in perfect sync with one another,” stresses Rüdiger Wittenbeck.