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Automatically loaded supply trains allow for increased efficiency in assembly supply

Dornbracht, Hersteller hochwertiger Design-Armaturen und -Accessoires für Bad und Küche, hat psb intralogistics als Partner ausgewählt, um eine effizientere Versorgung seiner Montage zu realisieren.

Besides the conclusive concept, the long-term good cooperation of both companies was an important criteria to decide in favour of psb as partner in the project. Another major point is the end-to-end connection to the small parts storage, which was supplied by psb as well.

On the basis of the requirements specified by Dornbracht, a concept was developed in close cooperation between both companies. One part of the solution is the automated order picking station with integrated loading and unloading station. The other part consists of transport carts with racks for bins; these carts are connected to form tugger trains.

With this station, Dornbracht could increase the flexibility of the assembly supply and speed up the supply procedure. In addition, the order control process became more transparent. Operations at the manual picking workplaces were reduced, so that a third shift could be saved, which at other times had been inevitable.

The material to be picked includes all items, which from their size fit into the transport and storage bins of the small parts warehouse. The material is taken out of the warehouse (installed 2010 by psb intralogistics) and is either transported to the manual order picking workplaces, or to the station respectively.

The station presorts the bins automatically to six sorting lanes. Each buffer lane has a capacity for nine bins; by block discharge they move at short intervals to the loading station. If the material for one production order is complete, the station pushes the bins (three rows above each other) onto one of the transport carts. In supply trains, the loaded carts are brought to the respective destinations.

If in the assembly area all required items have been removed, the empty bins are pulled from the carts and stacked at the station. Bins with a residual stock remain on the cart, which by the pulling vehicle is guided back to the station. At this point, the logistics worker transfers the bins to the conveyor system. The carts move to an automated unloading device, which identifies the bins and pushes them to the return track leading to the small parts storage. By a weighing process, the station synchronises the quantities.

Pouch Sorter


psb Pouch Sorter operated in multi channel distribution

Considering psb’s long and comprehensive experience in overhead conveyor technology, the company consistently works on furthering its technology developments. The latest innovation in the psb product portfolio is the pouch sorter system.

With a pouch sorter, nearly all product groups can be buffered, transported and sorted utilising a highly effective overhead handling system. The pouches are conveyed by the psb micro trolley system mtr for the transport of single items, with a very high degree of performance and economic efficiency. For the handling and distribution of traditional flat-packed items, a pouch is attached to a micro trolley; this pouch can then be loaded with the article to be sorted.

A global logistics provider has placed an order with psb for the implementation of such a pouch sorter system. This psb intralogistics system installation will be used in handling the multi-channel distribution in Germany on behalf of an internationally successful premium fashion label.

In addition to a static storage for hanging garments, a large shelving storage for flat-packed items and accessories will be set up. The merchandise for both, store supply and e-commerce, will be picked from these warehousing facilities and routed to the pouch sorter. The merchandise is sorted according to the respective stores and, by means of a matrix sortation, to the relevant e-commerce orders.

The main benefit of this solution is that hanging garments, flat-packed items and accessories can be conveyed, sorted and routed to the relevant packing stations utilising one single system installation. After the sorting process, the orders are packed and sent on pallets to the stores, or mailed in parcels directly to the end customers respectively.

The decisive factor for the award of this order was psb’s extensive product range: the overhead conveyor technology, the floor conveyors for cartons and the associated IT systems are provided by psb – another end-to-end intralogistics project from a single supplier.

The modular system structure allows to adapt or extend the facility, at any time in the future, thus being able to react to changing market demands. Such measures could be carried out also during ongoing operations. Through the excellent and close co-operation with the customer, already in an early phase of the project, a concept for the most suitable intralogistics solution has been established.

Automated Guided Vehicle system


Flexible linking of processes by Automated Guided Vehicle system AGV

Flexibility – scalability – adaptivity, these are significant criteria in order to ensure the successful operation of an intralogistics system installation in the long run. At psb, this is true for the AGV fleet and all other system modules.

Already since 2009, Vet-Concept, a mail-order supplier of high-quality pet food, has been relying on intralogistics by psb. Meanwhile, through the positive corporate development, a number of extensions have been implemented successfully.

The latest extension steps became necessary due to an increase in capacity, plus the addition of a new dispatch building. The order by Vet-Concept comprises the delivery and implementation of forklift AGVs for the flexible linking of two filling stations for feed bags, and downstream areas.

After filling, the feed bags are stacked up to 2 m high and, with a total weight of 500 kg, on euro pallets. The AGVs take the pallets at the end of the filling track and transport them to the company’s warehouse or the dispatch area. There, the pallets are automatically arranged in batches, in dispatch lines.

The forklift vehicles, chosen by psb out of its portfolio for AGV systems, were specifically adapted to the requirements of this project. Lift height, transport capacity and battery power were combined in a way that the battery capacity is sufficient for an entire working day. Thus, no »replacement« vehicles during charging and maintenance are needed; all vehicles can be permanently in operation. For the charging process, the battery remains in the vehicle, thus reducing the handling process, and keeping the costs for batteries (and battery chargers) at a minimum.

The AGVs are guided by a laser navigation system. A rotating laser head determines the location and the course. This technique requires no floor installations, thus being less expensive, and allowing for easy changes or extensions of future AGV routing.

AGVs have long been a useful addition of the conventional materials handling technology for the flexible linking of production and distribution processes. In the context of »Logistics 4.0«, which stands for flexible, intelligent and decentralized controlled systems, AGVs have gained in importance. So it is very advantageous that psb has a very long experience with such systems and their integration into complex intralogistics solutions.

Product development


Product development – Conveyor Technology 3000

psb intralogistics often takes specific requirements in a customer’s project as an opportunity for new developments and the extension of its own product and systems portfolio. This was also the case in the systems solution for api Computerhandels GmbH.

Due to the requested very high throughput rates and non-standard dimensions of the transportation units, psb has significantly improved all components of its materials handling technology.

In the two-aisle shuttle warehouse, implemented for api in a first extension step, there are three entry points for the conveyors. With more than 100 shuttles and 12 lifts, 2,500 transportation units are handled per aisle and hour, i.e. a total warehouse performance of 5,000 units per hour.

In total 6 rotapick high performance order picking systems are fed by two conveyor loops. In this project, totes with the special dimensions of 680 x 530 x 220 mm have to be transported. These special totes can be conveyed with an hourly performance of 2,900 transportation units in both loops. In addition to this, a modified version of the conveyor system for the mixed handling of the above described special totes and transportation units of 800 x 600 mm is operated.

This innovation, like every development at psb, underwent rigorous quality and performance tests before it has handed over to the customer for operation. All new components had been »put to the acid test« for several months in a large test installation, which was set up in the psb Technology Center.

In the next step, the newly developed conveyor technology will be adapted to the handling of standard totes with a dimension of 600 x 400 mm. With these totes, a throughput rate of more than 3,000 transportation units will be achieved.

DB Schenker

psb extends the assembly line of the motor production for DB Schenker

At site Salzgitter, DB Schenker Logistics supplies the assembly line for the engine plant of a big German automobile manufacturer with a bespoke solution from psb Intralogistics, Pirmasens. Already, after two successful years, a comprehensive extension of this system is now in the starting blocks.

The increased demands of the automobile manufacturer required the extension of the functional areas »highbay storage« and »automated small parts store«. With the increase of capacity and output, DB Schenker is able to arrange, optimally, the processes of the plant future supply.

The functional area, highbay storage, built in a silo construction, supplies the assembly lines with large load carriers. It also serves as replenishment storage, for the automated small parts store and buffers the empty large load carriers, which return from the production line. The 9-aisles highbay storage, with a two-storied pre-zone, comprises of more than 25.000 compartments.

With the now realized extension, a new hall will be connected to the existing highbay storage, where the tour preparation, for the large load carriers and for the empty bin handling, will be handled in future. Furthermore, the highbay storage will be extended with four loading and unloading stations at the ground floor, six preparation lanes at the upper floor and additionally a conveyor connection from the upper floor into the ground floor, for empty large load carriers.

The functional area »automated small parts store« guarantees the just-in-time-supply of the assembly lines, with small load carriers. Considering the given bin mix, the existing 5-aisles automated small parts store will be extended in a new hall with further five aisles. Thus, the small parts store reaches a low six-digit compartment number as a total capacity. Here, the large load carriers may be stored double-stacked with different basic measurements of 300 x 200 mm, 400 x 300 mm and 600 x 400 mm.

The extension of the conveyor technology has been designed in such a way, that every area of the small parts store is reachable from every goods-in station. Additionally, each of the four existing and four new stations can be supplied from both small parts store areas. Thus, a very flexible with resilient designed system utilization is realized.

In order to react flexibly to added increasing performance requirements, a further extension of four further small parts store aisles with additional stations, for the tour preparation, is already an inherent part of the system design.

MAW maximum performance


Maximum performance with Multi Access Warehouse

Already for 20 years api Computerhandels GmbH has supported more than 10,000 specialist retailers and wholesalers as well as industrial enterprises in the IT sector. The product portfolio comprises of approximately 45,000 products by notable manufacturers. api’s strong growth, and the company’s performance promise to always offer the right products and solutions at the most reasonable prices, required the complete realignment of the intralogistics organization.

The extraordinary performance of the selected approach, the flexibility during the planning procedure and the adaptation of the solution to the customer’s wishes (and demands) were the main factors for placing the order for an automated small parts warehouse in conjunction with integrated high-performance order picking with psb intralogistics.

The small parts warehouse will be realized as two-aisle Multi Access Warehouse with level-bound shuttles. Being more than 140m long and about 20 m high, with 51 levels and double-deep storages, the facility has a capacity of 60,000 storage locations. Special containers of 680 x 530 x 120/220/320/420 mm and large containers of 800 x 600 x 220 mm are stored. The warehouse is divided into six different compartment heights.

The patented psb Multi Access Warehouse with internal lifts is the optimal solution to transport the exceptionally high number of totes, provided by over 100 shuttles, to the order picking area. Each lift is equipped with two load handling devices; each of them can handle two bins. 2,500 movements of bins can be handled per hour in each aisle. This rate can be increased to 3,750 devices per hour. Six high-performance picking stations (type rotapick) are directly connected next to the warehouse with two conveyor loops, supplying a throughput of 3,000 bins per hour per loop.

This intralogistics project has various specific features: Due to the length of the aisles, several shuttles are employed on the same level in an aisle. At the end of each aisle, additional shuttle lifts provide for the load-dependent distribution of the shuttles in the aisle, in order to be able to react to any order situation. High-performance conveyors move the differently size bins and shipping cartons as well as large appliances to the individual workstations.

Still during the implementation phase, psb received an additional order for providing the entire conveyor technology and more than 60 inbound, packaging, replenishment and outbound workstations.

The customer orders are processed in interaction with the supervisory ERP system Fuman (»Future Management« by Continue Software GmbH). This system also coordinates the interplay with the connected pallet warehouse. Here, the psb selektron software package organizes the warehouse management, the material flow and the order picking functions. selektron also includes the SCADA visualization system.



Mayoral continues to expand with intralogistics by psb

Two years after the start of operation of the new Mayoral distribution center, psb intralogistics implements for the Spanish company, in a second construction phase, the extension of the storage capacity and an enhanced performance of the ultramodern shuttle warehouse.

The very positive business development of Mayoral, one of the leading companies for kids fashion in Europe, and the steady expansion of the e-commerce business have been the decisive factors for the early extention of the highly dynamic distribution center. With the high-performance logistics system provided by psb, now 9,200 sales points in 75 countries are supplied from one single distribution center in Spain.

The major components of the extended integrated intralogistcs system are a shuttle warehouse (18 aisles) with 96 vario.sprinter shuttles and 16 rotapick high performance order picking modules. In the warehouse, covering an area of 5,000 square meters and with a height of 20 meters, 190,000 cartons and totes, of sizes between 600 x 400 mm and 800 x 600 mm, are stored on 32 levels.

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In the warehouse, both, complete and opened article cartons are stored, and complete and already started order cartons are buffered. Three pre-zones, which are arranged above each other, allow for an uninterrupted and therefore extraordinarily efficient material flow between the warehouse and the order picking area.

At the dynamic rotapick systems, the operators pick far more than 1,000 items per hour. An outstanding feature of this system is that the items can be put directly from the source carton into the target carton, which means that each item is handled only once. Another clear benefit offered by the rotapick is that the items are picked in a predefined sequence, so that a time-consuming subsequent re-sorting at the points of sale is not necessary. At the order picking workstations, 60 source cartons and the same number of target cartons are buffered and made available for the operator in the requested order and sequence.

The psb selektron software, which is interfaced to Mayoral’s ERP system, organizes the control of the installation and the warehouse management, plus the control of the entire flow of materials.

Thanks to the powerful intralogistics installation, each day up to 1,600 orders can be processed and shipped. In both business seasons, summer and winter, 15,000 different articles have to be entirely exchanged due to seasonal reasons and requirements. Each year, Mayoral stores and ships in total 25 million items to 9,200 points of sale in 75 countries across the world. With the highly flexible psb intralogistics system, both, initial allocations with large quantities, and much smaller subsequent deliveries can be handled, with a high degree of economic efficiency.

Finally, the impressive integration into the new Mayoral corporate video expresses the degree of customer satisfaction with the new intralogistics system. And this fills us with pride.



psb retrofit in WASGAU cold store for bread and pastries

The WASGAU Produktions & Handels AG [production and trading enterprise] is one of only a few independent food retailers in Germany. 90 WASGAU stores are located, with a regional focus, in southwestern Germany.

psb received the order for an extensive retrofit of the automatic cold store for bread and pastries, which has been in operation since the year 2000. After intensive consultations, it was jointly decided to realize a new psb maxloader AS/RS stacker crane for pallets. A retrofit of the mechanical and controls of the existing stacker crane (supplied by another supplier) would have been very time consuming and cost prohibitive, not least due to the required working temperature of -28°C.

The load handling device, to be intalled on the psb maxloader, will be an enhanced pallet shuttle for up to »five-deep« storage (five pallets behind each other). The energy for the shuttles will be provided by super charging  capacitors. In this way, neither conducting bus bars in each channel, nor the previously used cable systems are required anymore. Through this, besides the more economic system layout, an easy scalability and a much better degree of flexibility can be achieved.

With this retrofit measure, psb underlines its corporate philosophy of operating in different industries: the broad range of system solutions and technologies can be applied in many industrial sectors, in order to realize highly efficient processes and to increase the productivity of the clients‘ businesses – also in frozen food environment.

Fischer Wolle

Intralogistics by psb supports growth in e-commerce

Fischer Wolle is a medium-sized mail order company for wool and threads plus a large range of accessories.

Presently, order picking and replenishment are carried out in manual operations. With the company’s positive business development, however, this distribution structure has now reached its performance limit. In the future, the automation of the in-house operations will allow for more efficient business processes and further expansion.

By the new automated small parts warehouse, the storage and order picking performance will be enhanced significantly. At the same time, the flow of materials will be optimized by means of conveyor technology which is adapted to the specific requirements. In order to be able to react flexibly to future business developments, the new concept already comprises, besides the implemented basic equipment, an extension installation. Through the automation, the supply capability, specifically during the Christmas holiday shopping season, is increased and the staff can be deployed more flexibly.

Core of the presently installed construction stage is the small parts warehousing system (2 aisles, 10,000 locations). 370 live storage channels are integrated in the facility, which are complemented by two order picking workstations. A flexible utilization of the installation and the optimization of costs is achieved by the psb system through the multi-functional design of an order picking workstation, which can also be utilized as goods-in station.

The existing manually operated pallets replenishment warehouse and the manual pick area, which is used to cover order peaks, are integrated in the psb selektron WMS/MFC software package as well.

All intralogistics functions are controlled by the psb selektron software suite, which is interfaced with the ERP system D&G VS/4. A batch tracking feature has been integrated in this project as well.



Deutsche Bahn workshops are modernized with psb warehousing systems

Deutsche Bahn [DB], long-time customer of psb intralogistics, has placed two orders at the same time. In the two DB heavy maintenance workshops in Fulda and Munich, automated warehousing technology by psb will be applied.

In Fulda, all mechanical, pneumatical and electropneumatical brake parts and other control units are remanufactured and tested. A modern intralogistics system became inevitable, in order to be prepared for the increasing future demands, and to improve the reliability and availability in the supply of spare parts.

In the automatic small parts warehouse (2 aisles) by psb intralogistics, the load handling devices are stored double-deep by two psb sprinter AS/RS shuttles. Six different types of totes of three different heights are generally handled with trays. With a fully-automated warehouse, plus a process-oriented material flow solution for the supply and retrieval of the storage totes, and finally modern order picking workstations, the economic efficiency of the in-house logistics processes are significally enhanced.

The psb selektron software manages the entire software functions for the control of the intralogistics processes under the SAP ERP system.

In the DB Munich central electronics workshop the repair volume of electrical components is continuously growing. In the course of extended business activities, psb intralogistics has implemented an automatic small parts warehouse with a tote racking system, plus conveyor technology with distribution, buffer and order picking areas on two levels.

In the new warehouse, mainly old parts, repaired components and spare parts are stored. In the design of the new installation, psb had to consider various factors: future extensions of the facility, optimization of the process organization, specific requirements with respect to storage, and the transport of electrical subassemblies.



Doubling of production – and the intralogistics system grows along

Messko are globally operating experts in high-tech transformer accessories. For the planned doubling of the production at the location in Oberursel, Germany, a new building plus the extension of the warehousing and material flow systems became inevitable.

Already for quite sometime, an automated small parts warehouse/storage has been supplying the production area, which is arranged on two levels. The performance of this system installation and the intralogistics concept, which has been optimally adapted to Messko’s requirements, were crucial for the decision in favor of another system by psb intralogistics.

The existing small parts warehouse, which will be still in operation, has been extended by a second miniload-system-based warehouse with 6,500 storage locations; this new warehouse has been installed in the new production area. The existing mobile racking system for pallets has been replaced by an automated pallet warehouse with 850 locations. This new addition will significantly enhance the economic efficiency in this area too.

Special feature, in both warehouses, is the integration into the two-level factory building: there are storage and retrieval workstations on both levels. This allows for a vertical material flow without additional conveyor elements, and consequently a flexible production structure, which is organized both horizontally and vertically.

The optimized space and floor area utilization is complemented by a connection of the new facility to the existing building. With the existing warehouse being accessible on both levels, as well as its integration into a comprehensive warehousing and material flow strategy (after the new construction), the psb overall solution guarantees a highly flexible material and production flow.



Increased customer service and competitiveness with efficient intralogistics

Being in more than 20 years partnership with wolfcraft (an international manufacturer of high-quality tools and tool accessories for the DIY market), for psb the adjustment to changing business models has repeatedly been the reason for sophisticated projects.

The company, meanwhile the leading DIY brand in Germany, is growing steadily, with constantly changing demands on the distribution of goods. Besides the extension of the storage capacity, as a result of a substantial expansion of the product range, the demands on fast delivery, delivery time and quality, have risen significantly in the last few years.

After a retrofit of the automated small parts warehouse and the conveyor technology, psb intralogistics installed a rotapick high performance order picking system, as a first step for a major performance increase. The special challenge has been to implement the total intralogistics solution, including all extensions, within the existing buildings.

The latest project of the DIY specialist is a new extension of the warehousing and distribution processes, which will be realized by psb intralogistics at the wolfcraft headquarter in Kempenich. The enhanced efficiency, resulting from this modernization, will be the basis for the continued positive business development in the next few years. An additional storage aisle, in the small parts warehouse, will be implemented as a highly dynamic shuttle storage with vario.sprinter shuttles operated on 7 levels. This solution offers space for further expansion.

The new scalable warehousing solution has reserve capacities, so that by adding another rotapick high performance order picking system, plus the necessary conveyor technology, a further significant performance increase of the overall system installation can be easily realized.

The aim is, besides an increase of the automation degree of the overall intralogistics system, a clear enhancement of efficiency in the order picking processes and the effective use of personnel. The further extension of the intralogistics system is an important part of the company’s strategy for an enhanced competitiveness in the home market, Germany, plus sales targets in 36 countries.



Successful system extension
at Kräuterhaus Sanct Bernhard

Kräuterhaus Sanct Bernhard, supplier of natural medicines, as well as cosmetics (an already long-term customer of psb) has considerably extended its system which was already built in 2002. Due to the increased number of orders  and the continuously growing article profile, the existing two-aisle intralogistics system with permanently assigned flow channels, has been extended by an one-aisle Multi Access Warehouse with vario.sprinter shuttles and three rotapick high performance order picking systems. The demand, for the system planning of psb, was to realize the extension at the existing building and to integrate the already live system.

The 12 years old system has been equipped functionally with a new fitted selektron system, including the visualization software modules, plus a SCADA system. A new order start, which includes two automatic carton erectors, has been implemented as well.

At the patented psb Multi Access Warehouse with 20 vario.sprinter shuttles (shuttle on each level) of the latest generation, cartons will be stored and retrieved up to 3-times-deep. Three high performance lifts, integrated into the storage, supply the laterally connected rotapick high performance order picking system, with the necessary source cartons, within the shortest time.

The rotapick order picking systems serve as a buffer for source cartons (accommodate up to 60 bins each), and are presented to the operator during the picking operation. Due to this configuration, up to 40% of the orders, at the three rotapicks,  can be picked directly and can be transported immediately (via a short-cut) into the packing area.

The remaining orders will be completed, adding further articles from the existing system, and afterwards routed into the packing area. Also, this process has been adapted, with the addition of further workstations, in order to satisfy the new system performance requirements.

It was decided, by the customer, to extend the system modularly. The system configuration has been designed in such a way that, a further aisle for the storage of cartons, as well as two further rotapicks  (high performance order picking systems),  will be connected during operation.

green efficiency


»green efficiency« at psb

For many years, »green efficiency«, the intelligent and sustainable use of resources, has been an important factor for psb. In the design of intralogistics systems, and their implementation, psb is thinking »green«. This sustainability approach, for which the company has already been awarded with several prizes, is reflected in our own premises too.

A commendable example for this is that, one year ago, we put into operation a new paint system and a combined heat and power plant (CHP). In one hand, the innovative paint system allows for a heat recovery ratio of up to 70% (by corresponding heat insulation). On the other, the economic and eco-friendly effect is achieved by the combination of both components: The wasted heat of the CHP, generating electrical energy for the entire production facility, is also used for the heat supply of the paint system. Thus the CHP can reach a degree of efficiency of up to 80%.

The heat will be additionally used for the heating of the offices in production and administration. Since its completion, the new hall for the future technology center is also supplied with CHP heat. Further savings will be reached by replacement of the former decentralized heat supply, additional building insulation measures, as well as, further means for a more efficient use of the electrical energy and heat.

The electricity, produced in the CHP, reduces the supply of external electricity delivery by further 30%. This measure will be complemented by our photovoltaic system, which covers, since 2012, a surface of 4.500 m² on the roof of our production facility. Up to 50% of the daily electricity needs of psb will be covered by this system.

Technology Center


Technology Center: Core of psb quality assurance

The Technology Center at psb is a key interface between engineering and implementation. In this area, new developments are made ready for the market, and customer installations are intensively tested before delivery.

The benefit of practical testing becomes evident, if one takes into account the different and individual tasks and challenges each customer has to meet. This is why every system solution, developed by psb, is »made-to-measure«.

According to our company philosophy »designed and built by a single supplier«, we offer to our customers the whole range of services, from design to implementation and lifecycle services – for all system components: mechanical equipment, control technology and IT organization.

On the basis of this integrated approach, after the constructive design, the »core component« of each system installation is erected in our own Technology Center, where it is thoroughly tested. Only after positive test results, the complete system installation is manufactured and finally erected, by our own fitters, at the customer’s premises. In this way, very high quality standards are ensured, and a good economic efficiency of the installations can be achieved. Further benefits are a high degree of project reliability and shorter erection and commissioning times.

There are always such »core components« of customer solutions installed in our Technology Center. So, if you visit us in Pirmasens, you can witness it all personally.

Presently, we are testing parts of a large system installation for a leading Spanish fashion retailer.

Warehousing technology

Automated warehousing technology: Key to success for mid-size businesses also

psb is installing an automated tray warehouse for car i.t.a., a mid-size technology business. A new distribution center had to be built in order to be able to respond to the increasing business demands and develop new markets.

One of the business lines of the specialist for the development and production of composite technology of surface materials is the supply of the automotive and aircraft industry. Presently, 60 people are employed in the company. The customers of car i.t.a. pose very high demands to quality, flexibility, fast delivery and the adherence to deadlines.

The psb systems concept consists of a single-aisle automated tray warehouse, which is combined with an order picking isle with two workstations, according to the goods-to-man principle.

An automated compilation of orders and the extension of the storage performance and capacity allow for transparent stocks, plus an enhanced delivery reliability and speed. The improved quality of goods is another factor in favor of a distinct increase in efficiency and the fulfillment of the high customer requirements.

By automating its warehousing processes, car i.t.a. now belongs to the rising number of mid-size businesses who have realized that modern intralogistics bears tangible benefits not only for large concerns.

3-lift concept

Successful installation of innovative 3-lift concept

Bürkert, one of the world’s leading companies for fluid control systems, sells its products in 38 countries and runs several international manufacturing facilities. This geographical spread poses a great challenge to the sales and logistics processes. As part of its long-term growth strategy, the company wanted to implement a new, future-proof and growth-oriented logistics concept.

Essential element of the concept is the new distribution center, which was opened in spring of 2014. At this location, the company gathers all global sales activities of the production sites in Germany and France.

Core of the distribution center is the automated psb shuttle warehouse with 10,000 storage positions, for up to 4-deep storage of transport bins of different size. The shuttle warehouse (one aisle) is operated with 7 vario.sprinter shuttles (cross-level concept). Further features of the warehouse are: parallel storage and retrieval, dynamic order picking, and automated bin return storage.

The special feature of this intralogistics installation is the shuttle concept enhanced by a 3-lift concept, with a shuttle lift and two centrally arranged tote lifts. The new system layout provides for psb to achieve a higher performance with the same number of shuttles, at reduced investment costs.

With the new distribution center, Bürkert could optimize the entire order picking and outbound processes, and, in addition, achieved a significant increase in its sales efficiency. Finally, the logistics service to the customers has been enormously improved.

Children’s hearts Mayoral


Intralogistics system by psb makes children’s hearts beat faster

The core components of the integrated intralogistics system, which started its operation in the year 2013, are a shuttle warehouse (12 aisles) with 72 vario.sprinter shuttles, and 16 rotapick high performance order picking systems.

In the warehouse (20 m high, extending over 75,000 m²), 130,000 cartons and bins are stored, with sizes between 600 x 400 mm and 800 x 600 mm. Each of the 12 aisles (32 levels per aisle) is serviced by six vario.sprinter shuttles, plus two shuttle lifts.

The warehouse fulfils two functions:
(1) complete and opened article cartons are stored, and
(2) complete and started order cartons are buffered.

Three pre-zones, which are arranged above each other, allow for an uninterrupted and therefore extraordinarily efficient material flow between the warehouse and the order picking area.

At the dynamic rotapick systems, the operators pick far more than 1,000 items per hour. An outstanding feature of this system is that the items can be put directly from the source carton into the target carton, which means that each item is handled only once.

Another clear benefit of the rotapick is that the items are picked in a specified sequence, so that a laborious subsequent sortation at the points of sale is not necessary. At the order picking workstations, 60 source cartons and the same number of target cartons are buffered and made available for the operator in the requested order and sequence.

The psb selektron software application, which is interfaced to Mayoral’s ERP system, organizes the control of the installation and the warehouse management, plus the control of the entire flow of materials.

Thanks to the powerful intralogistics installation, each day up to 1,600 orders can be handled and shipped. In both business seasons, summer and winter, there is a variety of 15,000 different articles, which have to be entirely exchanged upon the change of the season.

Each year, Mayoral stores and ships in total 21 million items to 8,000 points of sale in 63 countries across the world. With the psb highly flexible integrated intralogistics system, both, initial allocations with large quantities, and significantly smaller subsequent deliveries can be handled with a high degree of economic efficiency.

Finally, the impressive integration of the new Mayoral corporate video expresses the degree of customer satisfaction with the new intralogistics system. And this fills us with pride:

Innovations HF


psb innovations in the
overhead conveyor technology

The most recent example for psb’s expertise in the handling of hanging items is the development of a coupled trolley mtl, based on the advanced psb micro trolley systems technology mtr.

With a loading length of 100 mm, the new mtl system can carry a total load of up to 5 kg. Thus, this system is especially suitable for the handling of hanging items, which are transported in sets: the transport of several garments/textiles, or of a complete car-set of seat covers conveyed on a single load carrier mtl.

Despite the length of the individual trolleys, the overall conveying and sorting capacity is very high: the system achieves a performance of over 5,000 mtl per hour in Power & Free operation, no matter whether the goods have to be transported, buffered, sorted or sequenced.

Like the sister product mtr, the mtl trolleys can be buffered in gravity lanes up to 35 m long. This buffering capacity allows for a highly efficient system configuration, because in these lanes, there is no need for drives nor related components.

The transfer from the gravity buffer to the automated track is initiated by opening the gravity lanes. The collision-tolerant carriers of the main track directly take over the mtl and transport them further on the system. An expensive carrier control during the transfer process into the main track is not necessary.

The system family comprises of fully-automated loading and unloading stations. Utilizing multi-step sorting algorithms, any possible required order of items can be established.

Matrix barcodes are used as standard coding of the mtl. Coding with RFID is also possible.

The system installation is controlled by the approved psb selektron WMS Warehouse Management System: in interaction with the psb selektron MFC Material Flow System, the system installation is optimally organized. A psb selektron SCADA module is utilized for visualizing the entire system.

The mtl has outstanding features, with respect to throughput, mobility, expandability and scalability. Moreover, through the non-driven buffer tracks and the non-monitored transfer into the main tracks, highly efficient integrated systems can be realized.

Large order


psb wins large order in production logistics

psb in this project underlines its competence in the implementation of integrated intralogistics systems with the intelligent connection of warehousing technology and production logistics.

After an intensive planning and coordination phase, at the beginning of March the contract was signed for the installation of an automated pallets and bins warehouse. With the investment of 24 million € for the building and intralogistics technology, being a record in the company’s history, MR will be able to supply all production facilities in Regensburg out of one central warehouse.

The new materials handling center, which will be built on MR estate just outside Regensburg, will be directly connected with the existing production buildings. »Supply trains« will deliver the commodities to the production areas. Short distances allow for a quick and flexible production supply.

The ground-breaking ceremony for the new materials logistics center will take place at the end of March 2014. Operations in the new, highly automated warehouse shall start at the end of 2015.


psb AGVs with laser contour navigation – efficient and flexible

So far, low-profile psb carobot AGVs have been guided by an induction wire »buried« in the floor. However, due to the related extensive and elaborate floor works, a flexible adaptation or expansion of the AGV tracks has been inconvenient. High-profile vehicles, on the other hand, are navigated by laser technology, with reflectors attached in the environment specifically for navigation purposes. This technology allows for a much more flexible adaptation of the travel course, which, after a brief training, can be carried out by the customers’ staff as well.

After the very positive experience with an automatic vehicle system with 19 carobot vehicles, which was installed in the year 1998, a large hospital ordered four new vehicles to be delivered in 2014. The enhanced type CAR-817 can be directly integrated into the existing system with inductive guidance. However, it is also designed for a modern forward-looking variant of laser navigation.

The »laser contour navigation«, introduced in 2013, works with the environment scanning technology of the two safety scanners of a carobot. In an »orientation tour« during the commissioning phase, a »map« of the environment is drawn on the basis of tens of thousands of scans. In real operation later on, the vehicle control will determine on the basis of this map and the current laser scans the actual position of the vehicle (according to methods of pattern recognition). In contrast to »traditional« laser navigation, the environment – i.e. walls, machines, pillars, etc. – is directly used for determining the position, so that additional reflectors do not need to be installed. Changes in the environment after reconstruction works are simply »acquired«.

The laser scans of the personnel safety scanners are taken in about ankle height, so that for the pattern recognition it is important that the operation environment is »tidied up«. In this respect, the supply tunnels, underneath the hospital building, offer close to perfect conditions. At spots, where at ground level often other obstacles may be present, the pattern recognition can take into account the position of additional reflectors too.
The connection of a new ward, planned for the year 2015, can be implemented without laying expensive induction wires. At that time, the 19 existing vehicles type CAR-801, operated in the hospital, will be also equipped with psb laser contour navigation.

DB Schenker Fast Lane

psb with Logistics Solution for DB Schenker in the »Fast Lane«

As provider of logistics services, DB Schenker Logistics supplies the motor factory of a large car manufacturer »Just-In-Time« (JIT) with intralogistics from Pirmasens.
Already over 50 million engines have been built since the establishment of the factory.

The increasing complexity of structures in the automotive industry places the highest requirements on logistics. Objective of the project: DB Schenker Logistics wanted to operate an external logistics center directly on the factory premises of the car manufacturer. Furthermore, the plant supply processes should be optimized by new automated intralogistics systems.

The integrated system installation by psb, which was handed over to the customer in the year 2013, comprises two functional areas: The lines are supplied with GLT (large load containers) out of the functional area »high bay warehouse« (silo structure). This warehouse also serves as replenishment storage for the small parts warehouse. Furthermore, the empty GLTs coming back from the assembly lines are buffered there. In the high bay warehouse (nine aisles), in total 25,300 locations are available. The processes in the functional area »high bay warehouse« take place on the ground and first floors, which means that the pre-zone of the high bay extends over both floors.

The functional area »small parts warehouse« provides for the Just-In-Time (JIT) supply of the lines with small load containers (KLT). The processes of this functional area take place on the ground and first floors, too. In an automated small parts warehouse (five aisles; expandability to seven aisles provided), approx. 49,500 locations can be achieved, on the basis of the requested mix of containers. The most different kinds of small load containers (600×400 / 400×300 / 300×200 mm) can be stored, and this even double-stacked, if required. This allows for flexible and optimal storage utilization also in the future, on the basis of the actual mix of containers.

The small load containers are stored in the small parts warehouse, which ensures the provision according to demand of small load containers for the plant supply. For this purpose, the psb selektron software package includes a route management tool: The routes are created automatically; for this purpose, the points of use are combined in »milkruns«. Completed routes are manually launched by an operator at the control station.

The goods-in procedures, incl. goods-in check, are entirely mapped in the materials management system of the car manufacturer.

From the goods-in area, only large load containers and small load containers (full or empty), which are suitable for storage in the high bay warehouse, are transferred to the psb system.

Normal system performance:

  • high bay warehouse:     189 retrieval operations/h, 188 storage operations/h
  • small parts warehouse:  292 retrieval operations/h, 292 storage operations/h

 Peak performance:

  • high bay warehouse:      237 retrieval operations/h, 188 storage operations/h
  • small parts warehouse:  400 retrieval operations/h, 80 storage operations/h

The extension of the small parts warehouse by another two aisles, with additional stations for providing the routes, was an integral part of the system concept. This allows DB Schenker Logistics to adapt the storage capacity in the small parts warehouse and the picking performance in this logistics area at any time.

wolfcraft rotapick


wolfcraft: Enhanced order picking processes with psb rotapick

By choosing psb as partner, wolfcraft, the leading manufacturer of innovative tools and expert supplier of electrical tool accessories, »killed two birds with one stone«: The existing system installation, which has been operated for almost twenty years, will be subject to an extensive retrofit. Furthermore, a much more effective order picking procedure will be introduced, based on the psb rotapick technology, as a result of an analysis in the planning phase of the current business processes and material flows carried out.

At the beginning of the 1990s, psb implemented, at the wolfcraft warehouse, an order picking system for small parts. Already at that time, psb installed a double-deep replenishment storage system for bins (600 x 400 x 320 mm). The items were picked from automatically replenished flow racks – an ultramodern intralogistics solution by then.

Now, after two decades, individual system components will have to »undergo« a retrofit, and the system performance will be increased: 3 AS/RS stacker cranes, in the replenishment storage, and parts of the bin conveyor tracks will be replaced completely.

The analysis of the latest data, on the basis of the related business processes, showed a change in customer orders’ profile too. After a thorough examination, the project team decided on connecting a psb rotapick to the existing order picking system.

Key aspect for utilising the rotapick is the high degree of economic efficiency involved: through an effective handling at the order picking system, the costs »per order line« are reduced considerably.

The rotapick implemented at wolfcraft has five discs, each with 12 tote boxes. One disc is used as source disc with 12 article totes; the other four discs (4 x 12 = 48) offer space for 48 customer order totes. Each of these tote boxes can be provided at the workstation (ergonomically for the customer) within a few seconds only, so that unnecessary repeated transports, from the warehouse to the order picking station and back, are avoided and order processing times are reduced significantly.

Utilising the selektron software module, the orders are managed in a way that there are as many customer order totes as possible for an article to be picked in the rotapick. The speed for changing the customer totes is achieved by the modules (discs), which can be selected independently of each other.

We are proud to be the partner of wolfcraft in this retrofit and support the company in implementing the wolfcraft philosophy: »Recognise the strengths and develop them, and use them in the market as long-term competitive advantages.«

Fit for the future


Fit for the future through ultra-modern shuttle-based concept

In order to be able to keep up with the continuous growth of the company’s international businesses, and to be in a position to respond flexibly to future requirements, Wentronic successfully implemented one of the most extensive individual projects, since its foundation 20 years ago. In the new logistics center, located in the port area of Brunswick, Germany, now the processes of the distributor for electronics and accessories are faster and more reliable; psb vario.sprinter shuttles are operated in the new distribution facility, for the 4-deep storage of original cartons.

With the new automated carton warehouse, Wentronic is able to offer its customers an extended range of products, with a higher degree of availability and shorter delivery times. The highly efficient warehouse includes five aisles with 15 psb shuttles type vario.sprinter, which, with utilisation of lifts, can be transferred to the individual levels in the racking system. Special feature: The cartons, varying in length, width and height, are stored variably and mixed, up to 4-deep, by vario.sprinter shuttles. This allows for the highest possible flexibility, with view to the carton mix to be expected in the future. The vario.sprinter as such can hold up to two cartons at the same time.

Furthermore, the project includes the connecting conveyor technology of the individual areas, incl. camera system at goods receiving for identifying the article code, a semi-automatic carton erecter, and the automatic labelling of the outbound cartons.

In the order picking area, »paperless« picking plus several sorting racks were installed, for completing the manually picked items. This way, up to 600 client-specific cartons can be packed and shipped per hour. The processes are controlled by the psb selektron warehouse management system.

With an additional area of 4000 m², Wentronic has doubled the storage space in Brunswick, with a capacity of now up to 90000 cartons. The new building (23 m high, 80 m long) protrudes of all buildings in the vicinity, and is widely visible in the port area.