Craiss launches first automated small-parts warehouse

• Reconceptualisation of storage and assembly facility completed

• AutoStore® system installed with 23,000 containers

• Pick performance and error rate optimised

Craiss Generation Logistik GmbH & Co. KG has installed an AutoStore® system comprising 23,000 containers at the Tübingen warehouse and production site of a renowned technology group for on-demand picking of small gear motor components.

Craiss Generation Logistik GmbH & Co. KG has successfully completed the modernisation of a warehouse and production site for a well-known technology group. The logistics service provider has now given the plant in Tübingen the finishing touch with an automated small-parts warehouse (ASPW). From now on, small components required for the production of gear motors will be stored in the 23,000-container AutoStore®system of 13 robots and picked as required. The state-of-the-art solution offers higher capacity and storage density, reduces the error rate during order picking, and thus saves time and costs.

"With the commissioning of the new automated small-parts warehouse, we are finalising a highly complex project in Tübingen that included the streamlining, digitalisation and acceleration of processes, as well as an extensive modernisation of the 8,600-square-metre logistics area," says Jörg Schneider, Managing Director of Contract Logistics at Craiss Generation Logistik GmbH & Co. KG.

One of the biggest advantages of the AutoStore®, in addition to the compressed storage, is the ability to adapt to structural constraints of existing buildings as well as the possibility of subsequently expanding the performance of the system. Craiss, for example, built the compact small-parts picking system across just 650 square metres. Currently, the scalable solution has 13 robots. These automatically store the small parts required in the factory, such as screws, shafts and plastic parts, in one of a total of 23,000 bins measuring 600 x 400 x 200 millimetres each, rearrange them in the depths of the grid depending on the stock turnover rate, and, upon retrieval, transport them to one of five carousel ports for further picking.

Site manager Andreas Hofmeister can already see a significant increase in performance in order processing after just a few months. This has significantly streamlined and accelerated the logistics processes. The error rate is also close to zero. "What's more, our employees no longer have to drive forklifts or picking trolleys across the hall and no longer run the risk of confusing similar components on a mixed pallet," says Hofmeister. Furthermore, the ASPW increases the inventory transparency and reduces labour costs. The overall optimised working conditions – including improved ergonomics in the picking processes – also contributed to the satisfaction of the employees, who number 82 in total.

Craiss already started implementing the new intralogistics concept in 2019 and has been responsible since then for incoming goods, warehousing and logistics, production supply and dispatch, as well as packaging and shipping. The AutoStore® replaces an old automated storage system. After a two-month filling and inventory phase, the ASPW went into operation. Craiss switched systems during ongoing production so there was no forced downtime. "It was open-heart surgery, but turned out very well for us. There were no nasty surprises. Rather, our expectations were exceeded," says Hofmeister. For the logistics service provider, this was the first, "but definitely not the last" installation of an ASPW.