MAHLE Aftermarket invests in automated narrow-aisle warehouse

Stuttgart, 16 September 2015 – At MAHLE Aftermarket’s European central warehouse in Schorndorf, unmanned transport systems have recently been helping employees to store and retrieve numerous spare parts. The driverless high-bay forklifts are an essential part of the new automated narrow-aisle warehouse —one of the first installations of its type in Germany.

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For the past few months, three unmanned high-bay forklifts have aided the flow of goods for an entire product group. Their playground: a narrow-aisle warehouse with nine aisles, each 1.30 metres wide and 8.60 metres high. Communicating with each other, these high-bay forklifts work together as an independent unit operating entirely separately from the manual forklifts—even at night. To avoid collisions inside the automated warehouse, the automated high-bay forklifts are equipped with safety scanners. They navigate through the lanes by means of laser scanners; mechanical guide rails are also fitted. Reflectors fitted on the shelves help with positioning within the lanes and in the transfer area. The machine thus knows its location at all times as it executes the task at hand. But that's not all; the employees can also follow the workflow in every detail via the central control system used to handle orders for the high-bay warehouse.

Greatly improved order processing
Using the automated narrow-aisle warehouse, MAHLE Aftermarket achieved a significant boost in productivity in its European central warehouse. “With the three current forklifts, we achieve 60 to 65 double cycles per hour”, explains Olaf Henning, member of the MAHLE Management Committee and Managing Director of MAHLE Aftermarket GmbH. “All storing and retrieving takes place in an effective, time-optimised manner. The two-shift operation is significantly more efficient thanks to the automated system in the narrow-aisle warehouse.”

A fourth driverless high-bay forklift will soon join the ranks of the fleet. The declared goal is to process 87 orders in 60 minutes. The possibility of prioritising individual orders more quickly will soon make the flow of goods even more flexible.

About MAHLE Aftermarket’s European central warehouse
At the Schorndorf location, a range of 27,000 different products – including filters, engine parts, thermostats, turbochargers and A/C service units - are warehoused on a floor space of 43,000 square metres. Every month, 14,000 pallets enter the central warehouse from the MAHLE production plants. Conversely, 15,000 pallets and 2,000 packages are shipped each month to other MAHLE warehouses and external customers in 89 countries. The Schorndorf location has a workforce of 240 employees, who, with the help of highly automated roller conveyors and over 80 forklifts, ensure that order intake to shipping is processed in less than 48 hours.

About MAHLE Aftermarket
The MAHLE Aftermarket business unit is partner to repair shops and trade, offering first-rate service solutions with its special equipment and spare parts in original equipment quality. MAHLE Aftermarket is represented at 22 locations worldwide, with 1,593 employees, and generated sales of EUR 836 million in 2014.

Further queries:
MAHLE Aftermarket GmbH
Pamela Berner
Communications Aftermarket
Pragstraße 26–46
70376 Stuttgart/Germany
Phone: +49 711 501-13185