New bilstein group logistics centre in Gelsenkirchen - Assembly proceeding according to plan

23.02.2021: Gelsenkirchen, Falkenberg // The bilstein group from Ennepetal is expanding and is building another highly automated logistics centre in Gelsenkirchen with an area of 45,000 m². The dimensions of the first section are equivalent to more than six football pitches and the assembly of the steel structure for the automatic high-bay warehouse (HBW) with more than 85,000 pallet spaces and the automatic small parts warehouse (ASPW) with around 230,000 container spaces has been completed or is currently running at full speed.

The huge facility is being built on the traditional site in the "Schalker Verein" industrial park acquired by the bilstein group in 2017. From here, the leading spare parts supplier for passenger cars and commercial vehicles will ship wearing parts all over the world in the future. "Continuous growth means that we have exhausted all capacities at our headquarters in Ennepetal. The location in Gelsenkirchen offers us ideal expansion opportunities to specifically expand our existing logistics capacities", says Jan Siekermann, Managing Director of the bilstein group.

As SAP EWM general contractor, IGZ Automation GmbH is responsible not only for the complete planning of the intralogistics, but also for the implementation of the very demanding logistics project. In addition to the implementation of the warehouse management and material flow system, IGZ is supplying the entire conveyor technology for the pallet area with SAP EWM/MFS (Extended Warehouse Management); this includes the high-bay warehouse storage-retrieval machines (SRM), the ASPW SRM including container conveyor technology and the widely intricate floor track system (FTS). It connects four of the six halls with pinpoint accuracy and runs over two floors. IGZ is implementing all processes including large and small parts picking at ergonomically designed workstations in SAP EWM, integrating its own PLC control for all warehouse technology systems and coordinating the mechanical subsystems until project completion.

"For IGZ, the total commissioned service package represents the most extensive general contractor project to date," explains Alfred Meyer, Managing Director of IGZ Automation GmbH. "In addition to our expertise in the area of SAP EWM/MFS, we were able win over the bilstein group in particular on the basis of innovative logistics planning and our service package, true to the motto 'SAP EWM, PLC and mechanics – everything from a single source'." The bilstein group’s Project Manager, Felix Wortmann, can also confirm this: "With IGZ, we are supported by a strong partner whose holistic and future-oriented concept precisely reflects our thinking and actions."

The status quo

The construction of the building has largely been completed, meaning that the in-house assembly work has already begun. The partners involved have been working on the steel construction assembly for the HBW since June 2020, and, a few weeks later in August of last year, the steel construction for the ASPW also began along with the installation of the platform construction incl. container and pallet conveyor technology. In parallel with the bays, the building services systems such as facade, roof sealing, roof drainage, sprinklers, lighting and heating are being installed in and around the bays in close coordination. The travel and guide rails required for the SRM are also being installed at the same time. The assembly of the ASPW-RBG and the installation of the SRM via high-bay warehouse roof openings were carried out as early as November and December 2020. As the assembly of all subsystems was completed within the planned timeframe, commissioning of the first intralogistics subsystems also started on schedule in mid-January 2021.

Commissioning in-parallel with installation

While assembly is still in progress in certain areas of the halls, commissioning has already begun in other hall sections. Everything follows a very tight and strongly intermeshed project schedule. "This parallelism of assembly and successive commissioning enables rapid completion of the project and tightens the schedule meaning that the entire plant will be able to commence production around six weeks earlier than currently planned," says IGZ project manager Matthias Hecht. "To additionally shorten the time until go-live of the entire system, we already commissioned an extensive test setup with all key elements of the system in our company in May 2020; this meant that process reliability could be proven at an early stage." In addition, the bilstein group was intensively involved in the test setup so it could carry out optimisations together with IGZ and combine the picking stations, the upstream sequencing lifters and their supply via FTS into a harmonious whole. This test facility, which consists of conveyor technology elements, reference vehicles, robots and picking stations, was dismantled in December 2020 and moved to Gelsenkirchen. "Following the perfect integration of the new logistics centre into the supply chain, the bilstein group will be ideally equipped to meet future requirements," says Alfred Meyer. The new additional site is scheduled to be commissioned in early 2022.

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