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Radial Fulfillment (eBay) opens new Fulfilment Centre from Aberle


As a general contractor for material flow technology and for efficient process control in the picking and shipping of a particularly heterogeneous range of articles, Aberle GmbH has equipped the new eBay logistics centre of Radial Fulfillment in Halle. The plant is designed for rapid order completion and future growth.

Together with Dr. Reiner Haseloff, Prime Minister of Saxony-Anhalt, and Dr. Bernd Wiegand, Lord Mayor of Halle (Saale), Radial Fulfillment officially opened its new fulfilment and logistics centre in the Starpark on the A14 near Halle in mid-November, in the presence of around 1500 guests. The new, 28,000 sq m site in Halle was developed by the Goodman real estate group and is primarily intended to serve leading retailers and brands as a warehousing, picking and shipping facility for their goods.

»Our new facility in Halle offers an interesting alternative for retailers and brands that want to grow in the lucrative German and European e-Commerce market,« says Tobias Hartmann, President of Radial Fulfillment. The fulfilment technology for the new logistics centre was planned by Dortmund-based logistics consultants integral logistics and implemented by Aberle GmbH, Leingarten, the general contractor for the material handling technology.

»Flexible logistics processes for cost-efficient solutions, which global brands and retailers demand in order to be successful in the highly competitive European retail market,« says Hartmann, assessing the situation. Consequently the site is already designed to provide options in terms of area and layout for a further expansion of the warehousing and shipping centre. The integration of Radial Fulfillment and Innotrac Corporation has resulted in one of the world's biggest independent service providers for omnichannel commerce. It supports omnichannel commerce solutions, order management, store fulfilment and dropshipping, payment handling, fraud management, fulfilment, shipping and customer care.

Radial Fulfillment brings together offerings and demand for them, simplifying the transaction processes of retailers and brands. The newly opened building has shelf capacity for more than 220,000 customer boxes. The logistics building is split into two separate sections for the purpose of fire safety, each of which is around 4,250 square metres in size. Shelving racks are installed on a total of four floor levels. Aberle has installed a powerful picking and shipping system for adding and removing stock. This covers every floor and links with the processing stations in Incoming Goods and in Shipping.

A total of 64 fully automated, thoroughly ergonomic picking stations are integrated into the racking systems. They support replenishment in the shelving levels and provide for the convenient, efficient disposal of the goods picked for orders. In addition, there is also a pallet rack with 8,100 pallet bays installed on an area of around 4,000 square metres. Excess quantities, ancillary and operating materials and bulky goods are stored in the warehouse section served by forklift. The wide range of articles that will be handled in the logistics centre formed one of the major challenges for the optimum layout of the conveyor technology.

»In addition to the ergonomic design of the various workstations, a sophisticated solution was required in order to transport the geometric variety of classic containers, box sizes and bags on a traditional conveyor system and to meet a performance target of several thousand units per hour,« explains Jens Brockhoff, Director of Project Planning and New Installation Sales at Aberle. »With the system installed for Radial Fulfillment at the Halle site, there are no restrictions for product groups in the logistics centre.« The processing of pallets in Incoming Goods is carried out at 56 separate workstations. Another 30 workstations in the Incoming Goods area have been set up for repackaging processes and returns processing.

Then the conveyor system transports the container goods to the respective floors of the logistics facility for storage. Hanging goods are stored manually using trolleys. 48 PC-guided packaging stations have been set up for the shipping of what are known as single container orders, and integrated into the conveyor system with an intelligent empty container management system. High-volume orders involving several containers are brought together by the conveyor system for order picking at almost 20 consolidation workstations. PC-guided shipping preparation is carried out at these multi-container packaging workstations, supported by Put-to-Light-technology (PtL).

Along with the material flow control and plant visualisation systems installed by Aberle, the PMS-W warehouse management module from the Aberle process management system takes care of the control and management of the PtL processes. The order boxes ready for shipping are fed via the conveyor system into a dynamic shipping sorter. With up to ten terminals and an hourly throughput in the high thousands of items, it already offers capacity potential for future growth. The packaging and shipping of bulky items is carried out in a special packing area. From there the items are taken by hand to Outgoing Goods.

»Implementing the entire project, starting from construction through to the initial go-live of the plant in only about 10 months, was a real challenge for everyone,« says Ulf Bellersheim, the responsible project manager at Radial Fulfillment. »As our general, contractor for all the material flow technology, Aberle proved to be a competent, experienced and extremely flexible partner, establishing interfaces and also dealing with unforeseen problems in a competent manner.«

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