Picking tower for long-article cassettes

Europa Profil Aluminio S.A.

For a leading Greek extrusion plant H+H Herrmann + Hieber developed a storage system with which the so-termed “Picking Problem” – the repacking of transport containers in accordance with sorting criteria – can be solved inexpensively.


The term “Picking” covers the task of putting together production orders for further processing, from type-sorted production units in accordance with specified criteria. In the powder coating of aluminium sections this manual work-step is a considerable cost factor. There are also other disadvantages, such as damage, large space occupation and sorting errors.

Having regard to those drawbacks the Greek company Europa Profil Aluminium S.A., one of the country’s leading extrusion plants, together with H+H Herrmann +_ Hieber, developed a semi-automated solution. In this the necessary raw material is called up by the production control system from the store and transported automatically in racks to the picking station. The automatic preparation and the exchange of the consignment racks have to take place in a very short time. The customer specified that it should be possible to process at least 20 consignment orders at each picking station at the same time.

The material is supplied to the worksite by a “Picking tower” in which 24 racks are stored one above another. The unit is coupled to the control system and can provide a new rack for consignment every 30 to 45 seconds. The total storage capacity of the picking tower amounts to 24 racks. If necessary the two picking towers operated by Europa Profil can even be coupled to a single picking station so that up to 48 consignments can be carried out simultaneously.

Despite the dynamic movement sequences within the picking tower it is ensured by virtue of frequency-regulated drives that the sections being transported in the racks are treated carefully. A number of optical sensors ensure that an operating error by the operator is recognised promptly and does not cause any plant breakdowns.