Sustainability is focus of new warehouse’s intralogistics operations

When Winterhalter + Fenner AG, a leading Swiss electrical wholesaler, wanted to build a new distribution center and include Switzerland’s first wooden high-bay warehouse, the company turned to Stoecklin Logistics, a supplier of innovative supply chain solutions, for the project. Stoecklin helped the company meet all of its automation goals, including optimizing energy efficiency and throughput performance, without compromising on safety and value.

The new Winterhalter + Fenner facility in St. Gallen is 22-meters (72 feet) tall and features a compactly designed and highly dynamic material handling system that distributes goods over three floors. It brings together more than 50,000 items across 10,000 m² (107,600 sq. ft.) of floorspace with a fully automated high-bay warehouse that can store 6,000 pallets and 1,500 cases, and an automated system with 55,000 containers and 70 robots.

“Using wood for the structural basis of an automated storage and retrieval systems creates as many opportunities as challenges. Stoecklin worked closely with Winterhalter + Fenner to ensure that the wooden rack configuration in the warehouse met the same criteria as a steel one for precision, durability, safety and fire protection,” said Damaris Grütter, Managing Director of U.S. & Canada for Stoecklin. “It wasn’t an easy project, but the results have been excellent.”

Material flow and storage location in the Winterhalter + Fenner facility are managed by the StöcklinWCS (Warehouse Control System). Customized storage strategies are used to allocate suitable compartments, with the best possible product distribution and container dimensions all taken into consideration. Load reduction, priority control, order sequencing, empty container management and control station functionalities are all provided for. This makes it possible to visualize the current state of the warehouse through the control center with dynamic 2D graphics that show the current capacity of all subsystems. Disruptions are displayed within the system, which allows temporary problems to be dealt with quickly. The WCS also includes an application for energy management, with a sleep function that automatically switches management components to stand-by mode outside of operating hours. Lastly, but critically, Stoecklin designed and implemented an intelligent fire safety program inside the facility.

Winterhalter + Fenner AG has 14 branches in Germany and West Switzerland, offering electrotechnical components, installation materials, products for data networks and photovoltaic systems. Along with its subsidiaries Dysbox SA, ElectroLAN SA and Fabbri SA, it is part of Sonepar Suisse.