The WKS Group, with 335 employees one of the leading web offset printing companies in Europe, realizes together with the Klinkhammer Group a new automated dispatch warehouse for magazines, catalogues and brochures in the high-volume sector at its Wassenberg site, Germany. The conceptual development and implementation is managed by Klinkhammer, the intralogistics specialist. By implementing the new dispatch warehouse, the storage space will be increased considerably and the growth of the WKS Group guaranteed by a capacity buffer.
Largest printing machine worldwide installed
Full concentration on what we do best - this is the motto of the WKS Group. At WKS, everything is about high-quality web offset printing in large print runs. The objectives are clearly defined: Speedier than others, high-performance, guaranteed production-safe and flexible. To that end, a technically sophisticated concept with remarkable machinery and well thought out production processes are a prerequisite. The world's largest and first 160 pages printing machine was already put into operation in 2013; on May 2, 2017, another 160 pages and the world's first 120 pages machine were put into operation by Dr. Hendricks, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, during a festive ceremony.
First web printer with environmental label "Blue Angel"
In 2015, the WKS Group was awarded as first web printing company with the "Blue Angel" environmental label. Consequently, high demands are also made on intralogistics to satisfy these superlatives. To ensure that growth is guaranteed in the future, innovative warehouse solutions are of significant importance.
Objectives and requirements to the automated warehouse
"In 2016/2017, we are investing around 40 million € in production systems and logistics. Thanks to the new warehouse we will increase the storage capacity considerably and substitute manual processes in the block storage by automated processes to expand our logistics quality and efficiency" outlines Dr. Ralph Dittmann, managing director of the WKS Group. Sebastian Schmitz, project manager of the WKS Group adds: "When processing almost about 275,000 tons of paper a year, clearly structured processes, a sequenced stock removal for the comprehensive planning of the truck trips and a networked warehouse management system are indispensable. Beyond that, also the process reliability and performance in the dispatch warehouse is considerably enhanced by the automation solution". With the new automated warehouse solution, designed by the Klinkhammer Group and set up and realized until autumn 2017, the WKS Group consistently pursues the objective to align to the needs and requirements of the customers and to combine latest technology in such a way that economic and ecological requirements are optimally combined.
Automated high-bay warehouse in silo-type design
Due to the high growth rates, an automated pallet high-bay warehouse with four aisles is planned to ensure the required storage capacity and warehouse performance. A bridge connects the materials handling components to the already existing building complex. With a pallet loading height of 1 to 2 meters, a total number of 10,272 storage locations are available in the double-deep high-bay warehouse with a retrieval capacity of up to 160 pallets per hour. With this space-saving, cost-optimized silo-type design, the heat-insulating facade is directly mounted to the shelving.
Sequenced loading and sequenced stock removal speed up shipping
The WKS Group is in charge of the entire distribution of the print objects and ships them, depending on the customer requirements, directly to the recipient. Thanks to a sequenced stock removal from the high-bay warehouse, the pallets belonging to one and the same truck trip are already made available in the correct order sorted by the unloading points. In case planning the trips and routes is comprehensive with many unloading points, the sequenced stock removal allows minimizing elaborate and time-consuming manual sorting and provision activities. Digitalization and automation here offer a considerable savings potential. To be able to satisfy short-term customer requests, WKS is also able to interact manually such as e.g. merging several tours into one.
Conveyor technology bridge across the industrial road links production and warehouse
An industrial road situated directly between the new warehouse and the production building is overbuilt by a conveyor bridge. The stretch-wrapped pallets from the production are handed over to the conveyors at a double-deep loading position which is close to the floor. This allows loading two pallets at a time with one hand lift truck or fork lift truck run. Subsequently, the pallets are transported to the high-bay warehouse via the bridge by means of accumulated roller conveyors. In parallel, a conveyor section has been also planned for the return transport of pallets. A checkpoint for verifying the contours and a possible excess weight ensures that the pallets are stored smoothly without problems. The goods out procedure is done in an automated manner by means of 18 gravity roller conveyors with 11 pallet locations each. A high-performance crossways transfer car transports the pallets quickly via the preparation lanes to the shipping department.
Warehouse Management System KlinkWARE® - the interface in the automated warehouse
"The warehouse management system is the core of the automated warehouse to fulfil the complex and time-critical jobs that occur in a large-scale printing company such as WKS. It links the complete warehouse and shipping operation with the production", explains Frank Klinkhammer, managing director of the Klinkhammer Group. An interface links the Warehouse Management System KlinkWARE® to the higher-level ERP system and provides the warehouse management system with in-house product, tour and transport jobs. KlinkWARE® optimizes and coordinates the jobs to be accomplished and transfers the transport orders to the material flow control system. When selecting the aisles and storage locations in case of a double-deep storage strategy, it is considered exactly to which tour the pallet belongs. At the same time, the height class of a pallet is taken into account and storage takes place such to be optimized. This way, the software ensures a perfect interaction of all warehouse and shipping movements.
Remote maintenance, hotline and on-call service
To support the customer in the field of automatic warehouse technology and warehouse management software, including material flow computer, Klinkhammer provides specialist staff for training, system support as well as control engineering and software support. A 24/7 hotline service is available as well. Thanks to a remote access for monitoring and supporting the system, it is possible to identify and eliminate quickly and reliably irregularities by means of the teleservice. The Klinkhammer visualization tool, which is linked to the plant control system, increases system reliability and minimizes the system downtimes. Sensors provide data on the state of the machines and systems and can be analyzed in combination with error messages and statistics. The storage and retrieval cranes are equipped with a 180° camera system for monitoring the high-bay warehouse.
Data and Facts:
- Automated high-bay warehouse in silo-type design for europallets, around 30 m high
- 10,272 storage locations, aisle length of 51 m
- 4 storage and retrieval cranes for pallets with a load carrying capacity of 1,000 kg
- Conveyors between production, high-bay warehouse and shipping department
- Sequenced stock removal from the high-bay warehouse in the order required
- KlinkWARE® warehouse management system for the entire dispatch warehouse 6 truck loading bays