Heusenstamm, 13. October – Dematic has automated the returns and shipping logistics of HABA Group B.V. & Co.KG. To do this, the intralogistics specialist has installed a space-saving Dematic pouch sorting system in its distribution centre in German Bad Rodach, where it supports the toy manufacturer in the fast and efficient processing of e-commerce orders. The company distributes its products from there under the brands HABA, Qiero!, Fitz and Jako-O. The automated suspension system on roller adapters stores and sorts hanging and flat goods as well as flat packed items and cartons in a single system. Articles are automatically placed in pouches and taken out. This makes the system suitable for fully automated order processing for pureplay e-commerce and also for omnichannel retailing. The pouch sorter at HABA Group links the goods receiving and shipping departments across two floors. Up to 40,000 products can be stored in a total of 18 buffer loops, in which the pouches circulate and wait for new orders, and returned goods are ready to be sold again in the shortest possible time.
“Our previous returns management was no longer up to the demands of modern e-commerce. The Dematic pouch sorting system allows us to shorten access times to returned items and make them available for shipping again as quickly as possible,” explained Torsten Kreußel, Head of Processmanagement, Production and Logistics at HABA Group B.V. & Co.KG. The company from Bad Rodach attached particular importance to the fact that the new technology could be seamlessly integrated into the existing system. Dematic therefore used the previously unused airspace in the distribution centre for installation.
To transport goods, the system uses pouches that are suspended on rollers to save space and that run in an overhead rail. Because of its modular design and variable chain length, the pouch sorter can be installed compactly in nearly any application environment. Pouches can store a wide variety of product shapes and sizes weighing up to three kilograms. “The individual pouches can be identified with RFID tags and barcodes, so we can always see the location of each item in the system,” Kreußel said.
After returns processing, automatic pouch loading takes place on the ground floor. The system then transports the pouches to the second floor via an inclined conveyor. There they are circulated in a dynamic buffer, which can temporarily store around 40,000 products on 18 conveyor loops, 128 meters each. When orders are allocated, the sorter transports the requested goods to the pouch collector, which allocates them to 17 parallel stacks of their respective batches by batch picking. At the repacking stations, the entire batch is consolidated with the goods from the manual warehouse. For this, the system automatically unloads the pouches at the predefined locations and, after sealing them, transports them shaft back to the empty pouch section on the ground floor via a second conveyor, where they wait for their next use. “The pouch sorter can thus take up to 750 items out of store per hour and working station,” according to Kreußel.
Dematic has already planned a potential extension of the pouch sorting system, so HABA Group can easily increase the capacity of the system in the future. Kreußel is currently satisfied with the high availability of goods, especially returns, which the pouch sorter guarantees: “What used to take several days, the system now does in less than one hour. This saves us both time and money and ensures even greater customer satisfaction through shorter delivery periods.”
Dematic is an intralogistics innovator that designs, builds and supports intelligent, automated solutions for manufacturing, warehouse and distribution environments for customers that are powering the future of commerce. With engineering centers, manufacturing facilities and service centres located in more than 25 countries, the Dematic global network of 10,000 employees has helped achieve more than 6,000 worldwide customer installations for some of the world’s leading brands. Headquartered in Atlanta, Dematic is a member of KION Group, one of the global leaders in industrial trucks and supply chain solutions, and a leading provider of warehouse automation.
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