This company has a passion for hand-made lights: Candles made by Richard Wenzel GmbH & Co. KG from Aschaffenburg have been in demand for 122 years. Founded in 1899, the family-owned company is now run by the fourth generation. Through craftsmanship and sustainable quality, it has continuously increased its annual turnover to now over 20 million euros.

Westfalia Logistics Solutions Europe already built two automated Satellite® high-bay warehouses for the internationally operating candle manufacturer in 1999 and 2011. The warehouse built in 2011 was expanded in 2016. Both high-density storage systems with about 4,000 rack positions each are important building blocks for continued success.

High-bay warehouse aisle with storage and retrieval machine

21 years of reliable technology now at the cutting-edge

Built in 1999, the multi-deep automated channel storage system was comprehensively modernized by Westfalia at the end of 2020. The intralogistics specialist modernized the storage and retrieval machine (SRM), the conveyor technology including the PLC control system as well as the safety technology to upgrade it to the state of the art. With the Satellite® load handling device, the SRM is designed for unit loads of up to 600 kg, and it stores and retrieves up to 60 pallets per hour in rows up to 8 rack positions. It was overhauled both electrically and mechanically. In addition, the old warehouse management software required an upgrade. The warehouse system was converted from the discontinued PMain warehouse management software to Westfalia’s latest Savanna.NET® Warehouse Execution System (WES).

Modernization closely timed for the turn of the year

New personal safety light barrier and console at the feeding station

“The storage system had to be available again immediately after the Christmas business to store seasonal goods,” explains René Findling, Team Leader Sales, Modernization & Extensions at Westfalia. The tight time frame and short lead time were the particular challenges of this retrofit & maintenance project.

“After the award we only had 5 months for the detailed preparation.  The mechanical and electrical assembly was carried out from December 11 to 18. In the new year we started commissioning the new control system and warehouse execution system. The warehouse had to resume operation on January 14 of this year, and we were  able to hand it over on January 13 already.” A precision landing, since candles are seasonal business.

Initially, an experienced service technician of the East Westphalian intralogistics specialist guided the staff deployed by the traditional candlemaker during the mechanical conversion process. This was an individual requirement of the client, which Westfalia’s project manager carefully prepared and successfully completed in co-operation with the project manager of the Software & IT department.

Comprehensive package for drive technology, sensors, conveyor technology and PLCs

Transverse transport vehicle with turntable, retrieval conveyors in the front

The conversion was necessary because the previously used drive technology is no longer available. In addition to the storage and retrieval machine, the team also modernized a transverse transport vehicle and the conveyor technology including the PLC control system. The comprehensive modernization package also included the replacement of the barcode scanner as well as three personal safety light barriers with state-of-the-art technology. “Wearing parts such as chains, deflection systems and hoisting chains should also be replaced every five years at the latest, depending on the load, to ensure the reliability of the system,” René Findling points out.

Commissioning started at the beginning of 2021 after the electromechanical conversion of the hardware. The software team converted the predecessor software PMain to Savanna.NET®, the current WES of the intralogistics company, which is a powerful all-in-one solution combining the functions of warehouse management software (WMS) and material flow control (WCS).

Fit for the central management of both warehouses

“Thanks to the outstanding preparation combined with excellent and close co-operation with the client we were able to implement the quite extensive modernization ranging from the mechanics of the SRM and conveyor technology to the electrics and software conversion quickly and on schedule,” says Findling. “Both warehouses, the one we expanded in 2016 and the one we recently modernized and rebuilt are now controlled by Savanna.NET®. The next step will be to update the warehouse expanded in 2016 to the current Savanna release. Some minor expansions will make it possible to centrally control both warehouses at different locations with one control system.

Placing a pallet on the storage and retrieval machine

“We need perfectly functioning intralogistics”

“The customer structure of the Wenzel company is changing and ever tighter delivery deadlines must be met,” explains Peter Jaksch, Managing Director of Richard Wenzel GmbH & Co. KG, and this is why he relies on continuous intralogistics automation. “The targeted growth can only be achieved by stockpiling goods, and for this purpose we need perfectly functioning intralogistics.” This includes strategic advantages: “We can attract new clients and client groups and meet their requirements.” To him it was obvious who the suitable general contractor for the automation was: “We have had good experience with Westfalia, and to continue the relationship was logical, also due to the requirement that both warehouses need to be connected. Westfalia Logistics Solutions Europe is a fair partner at the cutting edge of technology.”

More about modernizing storage systems


Facts & figures:

Complete modernization of an automated high-bay warehouse with 4,000 rack positions

  • Client name: Richard Wenzel GmbH & Co. KG
  • Industry: Candle manufacturer
  • Warehouse site: Aschaffenburg
  • Services delivered by Westfalia: Complete modernization of proprietary automated storage system, more specifically:

    Planning, procurement, assembly and commissioning of the mechanical and electrical components required for modernization

    Scheduling and workflow planning in close co-operation with the client

    Renewal of safety technology

    Conversion to current Warehouse Execution System for warehouse management and materials flow control
  • Major goals of modernization:

    Ensuring high performance and reliability
  • Major results of modernization:

    Efficient planning, successful and on-schedule modernization of the storage and retrieval machine, a transverse transport vehicle, the conveyor technology, and the safety technology as well as conversion to the latest Warehouse Execution System

    Spare parts availability ensured, safety level increased
  • Year of construction: 1999
  • Modernization period: December 2020 to January 2021
  • Warehouse type: multi-deep
  • Storage temperature: normal temperature
  • Warehouse dimensions: 41.5 x 14.5 x 21.5 meters
  • Rack positions: about 4,000
  • Loading devices: wooden pallets
  • Storage and retrieval machines: 2
  • Load handling device: Satellite®
  • Software: Savanna.NET®

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