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Helukabel opens global logistics center expansion


June 17, 2013
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Cable manufacturer Helukabel recently brought its expanded global logistics center in Hemmingen near Stuttgart, Germany online. The $50 million project allowed the company to more than double its warehousing capacity providing a foundation for further growth in the future.

The goal of the expansion is to allow Helukabel to continue to provide rapid order delivery and maintain its role as a valued supplier in the global market. The heart of the approximately 1.85 million sq. foot complex is the fully-automated, high-bay storage and retrieval warehouse. The logistics expansion adds 23,900 pallet locations to the existing 16,600 stock locations in the high-bay racks. Using state-of-the-art conveyor and control systems, the high-bay warehouse offers a high degree of automation that speeds up material flow and guarantees on-time deliveries.

“This new building is a milestone in the history of our company,” said Helmut Luksch, managing director of Helukabel GmbH. “What this means for our U.S. and Canadian customers is that our Chicago and Toronto-based warehouses are constantly supported by our just-in-time warehouse, which stores our 33,000-plus line items, to greatly enhance their stock availability. With the logistics network that we have in place, items can arrive from Germany in a time frame comparable to shipments from Chicago or Toronto.”

The new automated small parts stocking area offers 33,400 locations for Helukabel’s cable accessory business as well as a staging area for pre-packed order items. Heavy cable drums with a weight of up to four tons can be found in the heavy load storage area, with 670 bays built in a silo configuration. Order picking and packing stations have also been enhanced with anatomically designed handling equipment for improved efficiency.

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As with any family business that is certified according to the environmental management standard ISO 14001, the new building was designed with the latest energy saving measures in mind. Motion detectors installed throughout the building control lighting, while heat is provided by a local biogas supplier. Green space irrigation comes from an 8,000 gallon water cistern that is fed by surface water.
Additionally, other energy-saving measures, such as 2,800 solar modules on the roof, the use of green roofing material, and an energy recovery system for the electric motors in the plant, all make for an environmentally-friendly facility.