When Lagerhäuser Aarau AG was founded in 1873, it was purely a transportation and storage firm. Since then, the company has become a specialist in complete logistical solutions for customers in the food and beverages industry as well as other non-food sectors.
Everything from one source! This claim has been true for many years at Lagerhäuser Aarau AG. It relates not only to the transportation and storage of goods, but also the smooth running of additional logistics services. These services include stock management and quality control as well as order picking, pricing and co-packing. The company also offers one hundred percent traceability of goods and a 24-hour service provided by the company's own fleet of vehicles.
To keep up with ever-growing market requirements, Lagerhäuser Aarau AG decided to set up an additional high-bay warehouse in Hunzenschwil (Switzerland) between the motorway and the railway line. This was no ordinary high-bay warehouse: Automatic operation with six order-picking aisles, right inside the high-bay warehouse in addition to the five aisles, redundant handling system providing mutual assistance as needed, and stacker cranes capable of adapting their performance to the specific order requirement.
The facility is designed to handle stacking and retrieval of 160 pallets an hour. To manage all of this, all products are recorded by barcode and the data is immediately loaded into the warehouse management system to enable control of the internal process: from the loading area to the stacker crane pick-up point in the high-bay warehouse.
The five stacker cranes in the high-bay warehouse are railed and move between two double-deep rows of racks along the 100 metre long aisles. They can pick up two pallets each with their telescopic forks. The stacker cranes are tasked with the fully automated stacking and retrieval of pallets, which can weigh as much as a tonne. The retrieval of goods is still reliably controlled though; the PLC ensures that this process can run with precision timing.
The automatic high-bay warehouse run by Lagerhäuser Aarau AG does not confine retrieval to mono-material pallets. When a picking order comes in, the stacker crane brings a pallet containing the requested goods directly to one of the picking locations that are dynamically managed by the ERP system and equipped with a special security system. At this point, the items are picked manually and prepared for dispatch. A batch number then ensures a flawless tracking procedure.
"In our warehouse, the PLC ensures that processes can run with precision timing. This enables constant monitoring and efficient control of the entire material flow by the warehouse master computer", explains Ulrich Gloor, head of logistics at Lagerhäuser Aarau AG, Schafisheim. Then there's the high redundancy of the handling system, ensuring availability even during routine maintenance. Here's what Thomas Bürgisser, head of logistics systems at Jungheinrich AG Schweiz, has to say: "Designed for performance, each shuttle car can take on the tasks of the other one with no loss of capacity." And if the warehouse enters a quiet period, "the stacker cranes run at half power". This reduces both wear and repair costs; "this Jungheinrich solution also helps save energy."