Modernisation of goods reception system at the central warehouse of a food product trader

tegut…gute Lebensmittel GmbH & Co. KG

When comprehensive modernisation, including that of the central goods reception system, became necessary at the food product retailer tegut…, the company decided for H+H Herrmann + Hieber as its logistics partner. The result of the work carried out – to an extremely tight schedule – has been not only problem-free operation but also a considerable performance boost and improved safety standards.


“tegut… gute Lebensmittel GmbH & Co. KG” in Fulda, with around 280 markets, over 5200 employees and a net turnover of 970 million euros in 2014, may not be one of the very largest in the branch but the group has been growing continuously. In 2013 the Swiss concern Migros in Zürich took over the approximately 280 tegut… markets in Hessen, Northern Bavaria, Thüringen, Göttingen and Mainz, as well as the logistics and central operations in Fulda.

Initial situation

In the food products trade the greatest possible automation level of the internal logistics plays a key role. The systems employed must come up to the current state of the art. That fact, but also the group’s growth, motivated tegut… to embark upon the fundamental modernisation and improvement of the robustness of the group’s central warehouse in Fulda. The warehouse supplies most of the tegut… markets. The logistical problems involved become evident when one considers that more than 30,000 different products have to be dispatched.

The original warehouse and its transport equipment dated from 1991 and had often been partially renovated since then. This applies particularly to the goods reception system leading into the so-termed dry-products store. In that area, which as a preliminary buffer zone constitutes an important nodal point for a functional logistics system, the age-related limitations had become particularly noticeable. In 2015 tegut… decided to carry out comprehensive and fundamental modernisation.

Modernisation measures

Besides absolutely reliable operation, tegut… was looking to achieve a higher throughput sufficient to match the growing business, and up-to-date safety standards. Furthermore, the work should not interfere with on-going production operations.

The goods, delivered on pallets, are placed on one of 8 quadruple roller tracks arranged parallel to one another. At the end of that buffer stretch a mobile trolley takes over the pallets and transports them to the transfer zone into the warehouse. There, the pallets are transferred from the distribution trolley, through an aperture in the warehouse wall, to the transport equipment inside the warehouse.

The distribution trolley, which is the decisive component of this system, was completely newly developed. The trolley (travel path 40 m, maximum travel speed 2 m/s) can carry up to 6 tonnes. Besides its design-related low structural form, particular attention had to be paid to maintenance-friendliness.

On the trolley are installed four chain conveyors, so that four pallets at a time can be taken over from one of the eight feed-in tracks. The barcode reader is now fitted directly on the mobile trolley.

Transfer to the transport stretch of the warehouse takes place by way of a chain conveyor and four distribution stations. The aperture through the fire-protection wall, seven metres wide, is divided by a transparent sliding door. The goods reception area is partitioned off from other areas by protective partitions.

The extensive control technology measures include essentially …

  • an emergency Stop device,
  • safe, block-by-block switching-off of the roller tracks,
  • zone-related switching-off of the mobile trolley (corresponding to the roller track disconnection),
  • renewal of the roller track control panel,
  • introduction of protective circuits,
  • renewal of the control system,
  • co-ordination switch for the movement of the mobile trolley during manual operation,
  • various start-up warnings when beginning automatic and manual operation.
  • Implementation and result

Accordingly, after careful planning and preparation all the work was completed in only 10 days. To do all this within that extremely restricted time-frame, four assembly staff were continually on the spot and 2 or 3 more carried out the electrical installation and activated the control system. Following this interruption the plant resumed operation on schedule. With the modernised equipment tegut… has achieved in that area a substantially higher throughput compared with the old equipment, along with guaranteed availability of 98.5%.