Order from Sanner: Fully automated material flow as a means of combating the shortage of skilled workers

After almost 130 years of company history, the founding headquarters of the Sanner company from Bensheim has reached its capacity limits. With the "Green MedTech Park", a new, particularly environmentally friendly production and logistics site is now being built very close to the founding headquarters. The expert for desiccant packaging and medical technology products has commissioned Unitechnik Systems with the detailed planning and realization of a logistics center for the new location.

Founded in Bensheim in 1894, Sanner GmbH distinguished itself from the beginning as a manufacturer of special containers for the medical industry. From cork as the starting material for glass bottle closures, the company later switched to shatter-proof and more hygienic plastic. Today, products such as the effervescent tablet tubes have long since become indispensable in the medical industry. Both production and logistics still take place at the company's founding site. In order to be able to grow further in the future, Sanner has decided to build a new building in Bensheim with a total area of 27,000 square meters. This will provide enough space to double the current production area as well as 4,000 square meters of storage space.

Optimizing processes with automation
The material flow of manufactured products will be fully automated at the new site. More than a dozen automated guided vehicles (AGVs) will supply the production area with empty containers and transport containers filled with manufactured goods to the warehouse. There, they are temporarily stored in the automated small parts warehouse (AS/RS) with 9,000 storage locations. When an order is called off, the corresponding containers are transported to the packaging area and prepared for transport. After automatic filling, the order cartons are temporarily buffered in a lifting beam storage system with 1,000 storage locations. Finally, the consolidated customer order is stacked on pallets and wrapped by means of palletizing robots.

Energy from "homegrown"
The new "Green MedTech Park" will generate some of the energy it needs itself. Three five-meter-high wind turbines next to the new building, a photovoltaic system on the entire roof and state-of-the-art heat exchange systems ensure an exemplary environmental balance. The wind energy is intended, for example, for charging the in-house electric cars as well as for the energy requirements of the outdoor lighting. The photovoltaic system also covers around 15 to 20 percent of the electricity requirements of the machines within the plant.

Sanner already envisaged the automation of production and transport processes several years ago. Like many industrial and manufacturing companies, it faces the challenge of a shortage of skilled workers. "For us, it is a matter of relieving the existing employees and making the best possible use of their expertise," sums up Hans-Willem van Vliet, Managing Director of Sanner GmbH. "With the new, automated site, we are ideally positioned for the future."