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Knapp wins £6 million British Gas contract

9. November 2007

When British Gas commissioned its new 12,800m2 distribution centre in Leicester, KNAPP UK Ltd was awarded the contract to supply the facility's £6 million automated handling and storage system.  

British gas is seeing dramatic increases in throughput and capacity, as well as major manpower savings at its new £17 million distribution centre for gas and electrical appliance spare parts in Leicester. The company needed to invest in the new technology to meet the high expectations of its customer base.

A 12,800s sq m building was built on the Grove Park industrial area and the Austrian logistics solution provider, Knapp, was awarded the contract to supply the facility's £6 million handling and storage system, which allows British Gas engineers around the country to order parts and materials at each customer site using laptops.

At the heart of the system - which features 2,260m of intelligent conveyor - are four different storage and retrieval systems: a two-aisle Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS), two Knapp Order, Storage & Retrieval (OSR) systems and a pick-from-pallet Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) installation. Goods are stored in and picked from these ASRS, OSR and VNA areas according to product dimensions and usage.

Faster-moving lines are stored in one of the 37,600 storage positions in the ASRS, where two miniload cranes retrieve totes from the higher storage positions and place them adjacent to 18 picking stations on two levels. Ordered items are picked from the miniload storage totes by operators using pick-by-light technology. The totes travel past each picking station but are only diverted off the conveyor at stations where items required to be picked are waiting.

Slower-moving and small parts are stored in the OSR16 storage and retrieval system. Some 20,608 trays can be stored but - as many of these stored parts are physically small - the trays are subdivided into compartments, resulting in a total of 44,780 compartments. Many of the 'faster' of these slow lines are duplicated throughout the trays to ensure high picking speeds. Spare capacity for a further 4,480 trays has been built in as an option for the future. Order picking at the three OSR workstations uses pick-by-light technology. 

Knapp UK Ltd celebrates 10 years

During its 10 years of business in Britain, KNAPP UK Ltd has grown at an incredible pace. “From its beginning as a one-man sales operation,” explains Mike Cogger, Managing Director, “the company has grown to encompass employees in sales, sales support, service and administrative roles, with almost 50 employees expected to be working in the UK by the end of this year. Our growth here in the UK has mirrored that of the KNAPP Group as a whole during the past few years: KNAPP Logistik Automation GmbH now has some 1,300 employees worldwide, turnover of around 200 million euros and over a dozen international offices.” 

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British Gas