Ingrid L. Blecha Ges.m.b.H. is bringing balance to their warehouse

The Remmert honeycomb storage system is a real success factor. Individual requirements need individual solutions. This is especially apparent when implementing a sophisticated logistical project like at Ingrid L. Blecha Ges.m.b.H. The Austrian aluminium specialist commissioned Friedrich Remmert GmbH to optimise their storage strategy for long goods. It was a total success for Blecha. Today the company has a highly efficient storage and material flow concept. The centre point of it all is a powerful Remmert honeycomb storage system, which is custom-made to meet the central challenges of commissioning and sawing perfectly.

Being more than a number - for Ingrid L. Blecha Ges.m.b.H. this was a deciding criterion when choosing a business partner for their storage restructuring. For the project the company was looking for a logistics expert that understood both Blecha’s needs and requirements and their ideas and designs very precisely. It only took a short exploratory meeting to decide on Friedrich Remmert GmbH. “With Remmert, we found the perfect partner for the expansion of our long goods area,” explains Michaela Bauer, signatory at Ingrid L. Blecha Ges.m.b.H. “The experienced team of storage experts took lots of time for us and advised us instinctively on aspects that were very close to our hearts. After over a year in operation, we are more than happy with the system,” Bauer continues.

One company - numerous requirements

Ingrid L. Blecha Ges.m.b.H. is an internationally established trader with a focus on aluminium production. Apart from raw material distribution in more than 60 countries worldwide, their service portfolio includes the implementation of adjustment services. Among the company’s specialities are aluminium pipe fittings and aluminium railing systems. The Austrian company also manufactures vendor parts for vacuum conveyer systems. At their location in Neunkirchen, 60 km south of Vienna, Blecha stocks more than 2,200 standard aluminium profiles and pipes in various qualities, alloys and in measurements up to 18 m in length as well as various sheets of metal. Previously the working materials were stored on the ground and on shelves, spread out over four halls. With around 6,000 storage spaces per hall, one material was usually stocked in several halls. The transparency regarding the stock was thus lost. Long paths and constant searching for working materials were scheduled into the day. As a result, the handling of client tasks was constantly delayed. There was also the risk, due to the chaotic storage principle, that material would be damaged and alloys would be switched. “Our existing storage concept was no longer economic enough for our purposes. We came to the decision that we should convert part of our long goods storage and invest in a modern automatic system,” reports Michaela Bauer. “In this way we firstly wanted to use the available floor spaces better and increase our storage capacity. We also wanted to improve all of our logistical and technical production processes.”

The step for more efficiency

The new storage system primarily serves to stock long goods with a weight from 4 kg/m. In the past this complicated the stocking and handling processes. “Due to Blecha’s requirements, we advised the company to install a honeycomb storage system,” explains Matthias Remmert, Managing Director of Friedrich Remmert GmbH. “the aluminium experts thus mastered lots of challenges in one stroke.” One significant advantage of the Remmert system: The storage system has a particularly high storage density thanks to the honeycomb patterned load carrier. The honeycomb storage system is also available as a twin block, as was the case for the Austrian distributor. In this way two loading blocks are tied together, taking up minimal space -

which is ideal for the storage requirements at Blecha. To have sufficient capacity for future growth, the aluminium retailer decided to build a new, fifth hall. Remmert designed the layout here so the the ‘honeycombs’ could be perfect integrated and there would later be place for an extension. So the new honeycomb storage system requires only 920 m2 of floor space. Here, Blecha have 1,138 storage spaces at 2 tonnes load capacity. This corresponds to a maximum storage volume of 2,276 tonnes. Material handling is now easy, quick and reliable thanks to the powerful Remmert technology. In just a few seconds, a guideway-optimised storage and retrieval system loads the various aluminium pipes and profiles in and out. The access times for the long goods have thus shortened by one to two thirds.

A seamless flow of material

“The new honeycomb storage system should enable seamless commissioning and adjustment in equal measures,” explains Bauer. “On the basis of their several years of experience, Remmert developed a solution concept, which was perfectly coordinated to this.” New long goods enter the system via a storage station near the goods entry and exit. Aluminium pipes and profiles for commissioning are stored again at the same station. The fully automated preparation of the cartridges controls the storage management software PRO WMS Enterprise from Remmert with an interface to the Blecha HOST system. It documents storage movements so that transparency increases substantially with regard to the storage stock. After unloading, the material flow concept developed in collaboration with Remmert ensures the quick distribution of the long goods. It is positioned on a roller bed for this. Connected to it is a coiling machine, which packs the pipes and profiles for delivery. “The automatic connection between the storage system and commissioning offers us enormous advantages,” explains Michaela Bauer. “Tasks with lots of items, especially, are processed in the shortest periods of time. That’s just fantastic.”

Just as efficient as the commissioning is adjustment. Here, too, the Remmert system enables an optimal processing procedure. “Our concept provides for a continuous manufacture with the connection between a saw and the honeycomb storage system,” reports Matthias Remmert. “The supply of machines is exclusively done using a second storage station. So commissioning is not impaired.” The feeding of the pipes and profiles through the saw and the removal of the cuttings is completed by Becha using an indoor crane. Seamless adjustment is guaranteed due to the automatic stocking and simplified handling. Compared to the previous system, Blecha have increased the productivity of their saws by more than a half.

A perspective for the future

The new Remmert honeycomb storage system has been in use at Blecha for over a year. But they didn’t have to wait long for success, explains Michaela Bauer. “Just shortly after the integration of the storage system, something was already happening here,” says the signatory. “The throughput in commissioning and adjustment rose significantly. Furthermore, we were also able to expand our item range due to our increased load capacity. This is a significant win for our business dealings.” Another advantage of the new storage strategy is the improved stock management. The planning of tasks and ordering behaviour was significantly optimised. “Currently we are planning an extension of the honeycomb storage system. Of course we are planning to rely again on the several years of expertise and efficient ideas of Remmert,” Bauer adds.

A summary for readers in a rush

Remmert honeycomb storage system at Blecha: All the advantages at a glance:

  • Extension of the storage capacity by approx. 40 percent
  • Easier material handling, decrease in access times by one to two thirds
  • Increase in throughput in commissioning and adjusting
  • Increase in productive time of the saw by more than 50 percent
  • Reduction in the danger of cost-intensive damage and material changes
  • Increased transparency enables better stock management and better planning of tasks
  • Range expansion by 30 percent

Remmert honeycomb storage system at Blecha: Technical information

  • Storage size: 40 m x 23 m x 9 m (L x W x H)
  • Storage volume: 1,138 storage spaces at 2 tonnes load capacity, for 2,276 tonnes
  • Storage stations: 1 quick changing station for loading and commissioning, 1 quick changing station for external adjustments
  • Storage technology: 1 high-power storage and retrieval machine
  • Processing machines: Connection to band saw BEHRINGER HBM 540 ALU and a coiling machine
  • WMS: Remmert PRO WMS Enterprise (including SAP interface)