The position of Dürkopp Fördertechnik as European and UK market leaders in warehouse
E- Commerce automation and sortation has been reinforced at the 2018 Logistics Awards where the company helped Sainsbury’s win the category for new facilities over 150,000 sq. ft. Durkopp’s Rolladapter and Pocket Sorter systems were installed in Sainsbury’s main UK distribution centre at Bedford where the firm put in some 400,000 sq.ft. of multilevel storage. Now complete, the new system is capable of sending up to 3.3 million garments per week to both, online customers and stores in perfect order sequence. Goods on hangers are processed on the Rolladapter, while the Pocket Sorter handles flat goods.
Sainsbury’s identified a build sequence that allowed for the installation of 400,000 sq. ft. of multileveled storage, a major mezzanine floor installation above the loading bank and the installation of three new sorters, pack benches, induction stations and associated equipment whilst working around the existing operation.
“The plan was one of the most ambitious automation regeneration projects ever undertaken by a UK retailer,” said James Osborn, senior strategy manager at Sainsbury’s Supermarkets. “The team began by moving the pallet and carton operation to a relief facility. Once this was completed the multileveled storage was installed side by side with the existing storage whilst it was still operational. Each level was precisely aligned to create a seamless storage expansion.”
Once the storage was in, work began on piling and installing a mezzanine above the site’s despatch bank – whilst keeping it operational at all times. This involved loading routines to be regularly re-configured as well as overnight and weekend piling and complex screening to minimise dirt and noise. With the mezzanine in place, combined teams from both Dürkopp and Sainsbury’s commenced work on installing the three new hybrid adapter/pocket sorters. Two of the sorters were installed ‘cleanly’ on the mezzanine floor, however the final sorter needed installing directly in place of one of the existing, older sorters.
Annette Sommer, General Manager for Dürkopp Fördertechnik, said: “I am delighted we were involved with this ground-breaking project, and winning a leading industry award against strong competition is an added bonus. Because Dürkopp technology is modular, many companies have successfully extended their original installations as their E Commerce businesses grew and the balance of retail and online purchases changed.” Annette has been with the company since 1996 when she started the Dürkopp business in the UK. Since 2008 she has been supported by Philip Mortimer.
Using Dürkopp’s innovative products, and with support from their German colleagues, they have also provided innovative solutions to customers such as ASOS, Debenhams, Net-A-Porter, Next, John Lewis, ASDA, Marks and Spencer, Aurora Fashions and Primark. Dürkopp Fördertechnik, was the original inventor of single order sortation for E Commerce, starting with its RFID tracked “Adapter” system which was developed for hanging garment transportation and sortation.
With the growth of E commerce it was clear that a single system would be needed that could transport hanging garments and flat/boxed goods and sort them into individual customer orders. Omni-channel retailers can use the same system to sort retail orders into store friendly sequence. Using their considerable expertise gained with the Adapter system, the Dürkopp Pocket system was developed and marketed in the early 2000s. To date, more than 50 Dürkopp Pocket systems have been successfully installed across the UK and Europe with over 8 million adapters and 2.5 million pockets.
The integration of Dürkopp Fördertechnik into the Austrian Knapp Group enabled the business to offer a complete integrated package of automation with the Knapp OSR and other cutting edge Knapp products. Service support has also been successful using both engineers based permanently on-site or planned maintenance visits.
Over the past eight years the company has benefitted from the growth in internet buying with its innovative automated solutions for storage and sortation of customers’ orders, and, with continued R&D, Dürkopp Fördertechnik will continue to expand their product range to meet future customer needs.