Storage system for a continuous assembly operation

Deutz AG

The concept of the order picking tower developed by H+H Herrmann + Hieber – decentrally orientated storage systems – demonstrates one way for material supply to be organised in a creative manner, economically and in a very restricted space. These systems have proved their worth on two assembly lines of Deutz AG in Cologne.


On two Deutz assembly lines diesel engines in a broad range of powers and totalling several thousand different variants are assembled. The material supply is organised on a “just in time” basis, so there is no goods reception warehouse.

The increasing differentiation of customers’ wishes along with larger production volumes have led to a continually increasing number of individual components that have to be supplied to the lines. This led to bottlenecks in the continuity of supply and the necessary positioning points.

H+H Herrmann + Hieber proposed individual storage components, which – being unloaded upwards – make use of the free space above the assembly position for storage. In the lower section of the tower with restricted floor space are at the rear the entry and recovery points for full and empty pallets. On the opposite side, where the assembly work takes place, the necessary material is brought in. Above are arranged the storage positions approached by the tower’s automatic storage and retrieval machine.

During operation the transport box delivered is handed over at the rear entry position. The upper storage portion of the order picking tower consists of two pallet shelves arranged parallel to one another, each with six positioning points next to, and five above one another. In between, the automatic storage and retrieval machine is positioned inside the tower. This consists of a cross-beam which moves vertically on rails at a maximum speed of 60 metres per minute. On the cross-beam moves a carriage with a telescopic fork that can be extended in the transverse direction, by means of which the pallets are transported to their storage positions. With these three movements the storage and recovery machine can quickly move to any pallet position.

Each assembly work station has a terminal by means of which pallets can be summoned and returned to the order picking tower. The operator notifies the goods management system when an empty transport box can be taken away again. The remaining operations again take place fully automatically.