For more than 125 years, Richter + Frenzel has been the specialist for sanitary and domestic engineering. More than 4,200 employees at 180 locations in Germany provide competent advice and planning with products from over 1,800 manufacturers. At the Reichertshofen location, a new central logistics centre was built from which R+F supplies branches and the trade nationwide. The central element in this new building is a fully automated warehouse solution for the storage and picking of small parts. With its intralogistics concept, which includes an AutoStore® small parts warehouse with connected conveyor technology for order picking and palletizing, Hörmann Logistik was convincing and was awarded the contract to implement the system.
The new AutoStore® warehouse is integrated into a new building. In order to adapt incoming and outgoing goods or picking to the flow of goods, the respective workstations were arranged on opposite sides of the AutoStore® system.
For the customised design of the AutoStore system for Richter + Frenzel, Hörmann Logistik carried out several system simulations with original data in real time during the planning phase. This also resulted in the recommendation for batch formation at goods issue/picking. The customer requirements together with the simulation results led to a system configuration with more than 30 robots, 40,000 containers on 16 levels and corresponding workstation modules.
The AutoStore® system consists of an aluminium grid system covered on all sides. In the grid system, stacks of 16 containers each are placed directly on the hall floor. Above the stacks of containers is the rail system (grid) on which the battery-powered, autonomous robots move. The robots cooperatively pick up containers, re-sort them and are responsible for the supply and disposal of the workstation modules.
The maximum total weight of the 649 mm x 449 mm x 330 mm (L x W x H) containers is 35 kg with a net load of around 30 kg. To safeguard the maximum weight, an overweight check is carried out at the ports. In order to fill the containers in the optimum quantity, Hörmann Logistik has implemented a self-learning system for weight and volume data. Only identical articles with the same characteristics may be stored per subdivision in the container (1/4, 1/2 or 1/1 container).
The Hörmann Logistik warehouse management system HiLIS AS stores the quantity that has been successfully stored in a container / subdivision and thus approaches the maximum container filling quantity.
The robots move in two directions by means of their four pairs of wheels arranged in a corner and thus reach every position in the grid at a speed of 3.1 m/s². They communicate via WLAN with the AutoStore controller, which assigns the transport orders to the individual robots. If the order load is low or the battery capacity is too low, the robots drive automatically to one of the charging stations located at the edge of the grid. The AutoStore controller is located on the connected service platform.
The Hörmann Logistik warehouse management system HiLIS AS, which was developed by Hörmann Logistik especially for the AutoStore® systems, takes over the higher-level management of the system including all interfaces to the ERP system. The customer's picking and palletising robots also communicate with HiLIS AS via interface. Via the HiLIS AS visualisation, all system data and functions can be clearly accessed at any time.
The new AutoStore® intralogistics solution at Richter + Frenzel has been installed in the new building since November 2018 and went into operation in summer 2019.