The Kindel industrial park near Eisenach in Thuringia is the setting for the construction of a new shuttle warehouse and silo-design automatic high-bay warehouse for electrical engineering company Weidmüller. A shuttle for buffering and automatic palletizing will guarantee effective and stable dispatch operations in the facility. The logistics, IT and architecture experts of the world’s leading technical consulting and planning company, io-consultants GmbH & Co. KG, designed the concept, were responsible for the detailed planning, and managed the invitation to tender and contracts award phase as lead consultants. Now, io-consultants is also responsible for managing the implementation phase. Weidmüller’s total investment into the project is in the double-digit million range.
Weidmüller provides customers and partners around the world with industrial connectivity products, solutions, and services from its two production sites in Detmold and Eisenach. The ambitious “Next Generation Logistics (NGL)” project is located near Weidmüller’s production facility in Hörselberg-Hainich in the Eisenach region, and encompasses the development of a completely new logistics site and the planning of all outdoor facilities.
Since the property is on a slope, detailed planning as prescribed in the HOAI service phases 1-7 is compulsory across all specialist areas (project management, building planning, structural design, technical building services, traffic and outdoor facilities, building physics and fire protection). So far, this has involved the concept design and detailed planning, the approval planning up to successfully obtaining the required building permits, the invitation to tender and contract awarding processes – now also including the supervision of the implementation phase.
“All disciplines, from logistics to architecture to IT, must be addressed holistically to create an innovative site that is flexible and expandable at all times and meets the requirements of the future. With io-consultants as our lead consultants, we have found the perfect partner to successfully bring this project to fruition,” says Maximilian Dolch, project manager at Weidmüller.
Flexible functionality of the logistics center
The new logistics center with incoming goods area, storage, picking and packing, consolidation and goods dispatch will have several distinctive features. A state-of-the-art façade will reflect the Weidmüller brand and provide a source of light to the operational areas. Visitors will be able to enjoy a skywalk, which will also connect the individual areas within the building.
A photovoltaic system and extensive greening of the exterior will further boost the building’s sustainability credentials. “Visual Design Thinking and Integrated Design Workshops involving all project participants helped develop an ideal layout for logistics operations, planning the all-round functional aspects of the building in meticulous detail,” says Jennifer Harmon, Design Lead Architect at io-consultants. The green light to kick off construction was the successful building permission application, issued at the same time as the detailed planning, the invitation to tender and the contract award processes.
“The tender documents were prepared simultaneously for all three disciplines – logistics, architecture and IT – and came to a successful conclusion in September 2020 thanks to the perfect interplay of our various disciplines,” emphasizes Fabian Hesebeck, Senior Consultant at io-consultants.
io-consultants and the SAP logistics specialists of its subsidiary io-DigitalSolutions GmbH, successfully planned the building as an integrated overall solution. An essential part of the project was the 3D planning and visualization of the technical components and the building. With the planned shuttle warehouse and automatic high-bay warehouse with its automated packaging, palletizing and depalletizing, io-consultants and io-DigitalSolutions ensure an exceptionally high degree of automation in Weidmüller’s logistical processes. The shuttle warehouse, which is fed by the high-bay warehouse, is used to supply the high-performance picking stations.
io-consultants’ flexible logistics concept ensures that administration, operative areas, and storage areas can be expanded at any time. Ergonomic workstations enable a productive and effective design of the operational areas. Insourcing the entire logistics function – buildings, technology, personnel, and IT included – combined with comprehensively integrating the IT, from SAP ERP via SAP EWM and MFS down to the control level, brings significant benefits: it ensures maximum consistency and the high degree of flexibility needed to adapt to complex customer-specific processes.
“Our consulting experts carried out all the planning steps simultaneously to make sure that the strict deadlines could be met. The customer-specific range of services and the successful cooperation with all project participants made it possible to respond instantaneously to the challenging requirements of Weidmüller's product and process diversity, and to develop robust growth scenarios,” explains Martin Bitz, partner at io-consultants.
During the invitation to tender, GEBHARDT Fördertechnik GmbH demonstrated a convincing technical project approach that was instrumental in them being chosen as project partner for logistics and IT implementation. BREMER Leipzig GmbH won the tender for the construction of the building itself. With these two strong partners on board, the first goods are scheduled to roll out of the new NGL as early as mid-2022.