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Partial automation of narrow-aisle warehouse

winkler Logistik builds on warehouse navigation and digitalisation

winkler Logistik adds a narrow-aisle warehouse to its central warehouse. Our logistics interface and warehouse navigation solutions meant that winkler was able to lift order picking to a new, digitalised level – and increase productivity by 20 per Cent.

winkler Logistik, as one of the leading wholesalers in spare parts for commercial vehicles and workshop products, aims for productivity, process security, and flexibility. Incoming orders have increased within the logistics company consistently over the last 30 years, during which the number of employees has increased from seven to 230. In order to remain capable of dispatching on time, winkler Logistik invested in a new narrow-aisle warehouse with an additional feature: a partially automated solution for warehouse navigation and vehicle control.

Herbert Skala
CEO of winkler Logistik GmbH

“We have increased our productivity during order picking by between 18 and 20 percent through the use of warehouse navigation and the logistics interface.”

Never change a winning team

“We chose a narrow-aisle warehouse due to the inherent benefits of such a system and because it’s always worked well for us”, reasoned Herbert Skala, CEO of winkler Logistik GmbH, on the decision to continue collaboration. Back in the past, winkler used a narrow-aisle warehouse with fork lift trucks from us to help optimise order picking. This time, Skala also decided on expansion of the warehouse to optimise the logistical processes via partial automation. The warehouse in Ulm with storage space of around 42,000 square metres has developed and become a central warehouse. The vehicles themselves are equipped with a logistics interface in order to be able to use warehouse navigation with RFID technology. The developed software can, amongst other things, be directly used with the Warehouse Management System (WMS). The orders in WMS are translated into a language that the controls on the vehicle readily understand.

Software-based communication for greater efficiency

Data networks beneath the surface communicate with the fork lift trucks via transponders embedded into the ground. Several advantages of this proven solution are: The WMS sends the target co-ordinates via the logistics interface to the vehicle control, which approaches the storage location and then recognises the current position of the fork lift truck within the aisle - semi-automatically, on the shortest route, with optimal speed and the lowest possible energy consumption. The forklift trucks even brake before the end of the aisles due to the RFID ground control.

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