Furniture fitting specialist Blum builds futureproof warehouse

Swisslog Australia

Monday, 07 February, 2022

Furniture fitting specialist Blum builds futureproof warehouse

Custom furniture fitting specialist Blum has consolidated its Australian distribution into one warehouse with a Swisslog automation solution designed for operational efficiency, reliability and optimum storage utilisation.

Blum is renowned for its high-quality fittings and soft-close mechanism found in many major furniture brands. The company’s successful business model has achieved strong growth in Australia, so a new warehouse was required to simultaneously satisfy current logistical requirements and facilitate growth into the future.

Blum is already mature and experienced with warehouse automation, having built several successful facilities in Europe. Swisslog worked alongside Blum to actively contribute to the design process of the new site and refine its layout to best achieve Blum’s goals.

The new warehouse, including 32-metre-tall clad racking, is situated in Hoxton Park in NSW, and was first built in 2010. Since then, additional Vectura stacker cranes and software upgrades have been added progressively, so that Blum could continuously expand to meet growing customer demand.

After identifying Blum’s need for a high-density automated warehouse that could easily be expanded in the future, a solution was proposed, incorporating Swisslog’s Automatic Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) Vectura crane technology, pallet cranes, ProMove conveyors, pick stations and SynQ Warehouse Management System (WMS) software.

Blum Managing Director Brett Ambrose said Swisslog’s Vectura pallet crane technology was the natural fit for Blum, due to it providing the required storage density within a reduced footprint. “The flexibility of the solution allowed for future expansion as we were able to add an additional two cranes after initial installation, due to business growth. The second phase of this project was planned to go live in 10 months, but Swisslog was able to do this in just three months, with minimal disruption to warehouse operations.

“The goal for Blum was to consolidate our existing warehouse distribution whilst achieving operational gains. We chose Swisslog due to the trust in the brand and team to work as our partner to meet our automation needs,” he said.

Swisslog’s Head of Customer Service, Australia and New Zealand, Franz Wiebe, said the system was designed from the outset to meet Blum’s growth requirements. “When we initially installed three Vectura cranes, we achieved over 9000 pallet locations. As demand continued to grow for Blum’s high-tech furniture fitting mechanisms, Blum and Swisslog worked together once more to further expand the automated warehouse. The new expansion extended the warehouse to over 15,000 pallet locations.

“Swisslog worked collaboratively with Blum to ensure they had confidence in our solution and that their requirements were met. Ergonomic pick stations were designed to pick from product pallet to order pallet, handle quantity picking and allow for negative picking to take place.”

Blum’s furniture fittings and advanced opening and closing mechanisms are all aimed at ‘perfecting motion’, which is a concept Swisslog took to heart when designing the layout and structure of the warehouse. The warehouse looks after the storage, management and distribution of Blum’s products onsite in an efficient system that delivers 100% accuracy.

“Most importantly, Blum and its customers benefit from the extended automated facility in a number of ways, including 100% inventory accuracy, full order delivery and increased capacity. This provides Blum with the ability to exceed customer expectations,” Wiebe said.

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