Automated Logistics Centre gets new WMS: boosting growth and efficiency at Lechler GmbH

The Metzingen based Lechler GmbH is investing in its German location: a new logistics centre is being constructed over an area of 5,300 square metres, with a fully automated small parts warehouse, while the existing production hall is being extended.

Lechler has a workforce of some 780 staff worldwide, with 360 of them in Metzingen, and is one of the world’s leading manufacturers in the field of spray and dosing nozzle technology. With over 140 years of experience in development and a range of over 45,000 nozzle versions, the company serves a broad spectrum of industries, processes and applications. The Lechler Group has a reputation as a dependable supplier with a worldwide presence, which is founded on high production flexibility and outstanding quality.

Operating internationally, the Lechler Group functions as a central logistics hub with direct shipping to customers, and with continuing growth an innovative solution has been required to meet the demands of the future. The project for construction of the new logistics centre at the headquarters in Metzingen kicked-off at the beginning of 2020: the company has invested some €19 million to take the logistics processes to a new level and provide its customers with an even more efficient service in the future.

Automatic Small Parts Warehouse with 45,000 bin locations

The previous ASRS, with storage and retrieval mechanism, was getting on in years and has been replaced by a space-saving Automatic Small Parts Warehouse with intelligent, autonomous transport robots supplied by Servus Intralogistics, Dornbirn. The new ASRS offers some 45,000 storage positions, with a further 900 pallet spaces available in the high-bay warehouse. As part of the modernisation, the quality assurance and packaging areas were also connected directly to the goods outward line.

As further development of the existing material flow system (MFS) was no longer feasible, a decision was made in favour of a WMS system from MIA Systems with the integrated pick-by-light solution. MIA’s WMS controls the automatic small parts warehouse and maps the logistical processes at the individual stations using the MIA I-Point Touch. The use of the pick-by-light system to illuminate the bin compartments for picking gave a noticeable increase in picking precision, while reducing picking errors to a bare minimum. Using the flexible subdivision of container compartments and the ability to compact storage units using the WMS, significantly more space could be created in the warehouse. The intuitive UI design with compartment visualisation simplifies operation and allows new employees to quickly get up to speed.

Partnership and team spirit were decisive

The collaboration between Lechler and MIA was notable for the exceptional teamwork and the flexibility in coming up with operational solutions.

“Throughout the project, open and unbiased, face-to-face discussions were conducted at all times, and all those involved in the project were open to rethinking and redesigning processes and solutions. There was always a sense of good spirit and a great collaboration. This was particularly so in the hypercare phase, with very close and quick coordination within the entire team in all areas.”

Maxim Weinmann, Head of Logistics at Lechler GmbH

Rethinking and designing processes and solutions

As Maxim Weinmann, Head of Logistics at Lechler, comments: “Our new Shuttle ASRS has allowed us to move our storage processes up to the next level. In addition to improving the picking processes, our key focus was to ensure fail-safe operation of the warehouse. In this respect, great results have been achieved in the project team. A solution has been developed that was operational right from the go-live point and gives us the option of integrating further processes in the future.”

Fact box

  • Number of employees on the Servus system: 16
  • Number of storage ops per hour: ~ 150
  • Number of picking ops per day: ~ 1000
  • Number of transport robots: 15
  • Automatic Small Parts Warehouse:
    • 7 aisles with 32 levels
    • 45,000 storage positions
    • 2 different container heights

Source Images: Robert Koch (Cover Photo Building/1. Photo Stations) and Lechler GmbH

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