All Stories
2 min

One employee, 4,500 pallet spaces

Fosfa, Europe's largest supplier of phosphorus, operates a warehouse with 4,500 pallet spaces in Břeclav in the Czech Republic with just one employee on the morning shift. The fully automated warehouse is the first of its kind in the Czech Republic. The concept and the autonomous vehicles come from our KION subsidiary Linde Material Handling.


Břeclav (Lundenburg) lies almost exactly halfway between Brno, Vienna (Austria) and Bratislava (Slovakia). In addition to the castle ruins, the Temple of Apollo and the Wenceslas Church, the town has recently added another special feature: the first fully automated warehouse in the Czech Republic. It was built for Fosfa, Europe's largest supplier of phosphorus for the food industry – and designed by our KION subsidiary Linde Material Handling (MH).

"It was one of the most complex orders I have ever been involved in," says Petr Vanek, Marketing Manager at Linde MH in the Czech Republic. The collaboration began with a detailed and extensive project preparation study. This analysis showed: "A fully automated warehouse is the most efficient way to meet Fosfa's ambitious goals," says Vanek.

More Effciency, Speed and Safety

Pavel Osička, Head of Brand at Linde MH Czech Republic, explains what ambitious goals these were: "Fosfa wanted to increase efficiency with the new warehouse, minimize the error rate and shorten the processing time of inquiries so much that orders arrive at the customer within 24 hours." The company also stipulated that the new warehouse had to integrate seamlessly into the existing production environment.

These requirements resulted in an innovative warehouse concept: dense storage in a minimum of space combined with complete automation of all processes. Linde MH presented various storage solutions, but ultimately the combination of a third-party shuttle system and the Linde L-MATIC autonomous pallet trucks was selected. "The decision-making process was lengthy," says Petr Vanek, "before we came to this conclusion, we went through a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis over five years of operation."

The warehouse’s brain comes from Linde MH

Spread over six levels, the warehouse now has around 4,500 pallet spaces, each of which can carry up to 1,100 kilograms. The shuttle system carries loads weighing up to two tons and reaches speeds of up to 200 meters per minute. The system is also designed for extreme operating temperatures of minus 30 to plus 50 degrees Celsius. While the Linde L-MATIC vehicles automatically transport the pallets from the production line to the conveyor system, the automated roller conveyor identifies the dimensions and labels of the goods and forwards them directly to the warehouse.

Linde MH also provides the "brains" of the system: the Warehouse Management Software (WMS) and the Warehouse Control Software (WCS). The two systems take over the complete control and monitoring of all warehouse movements, including efficient planning and work management.

Man at the center of everything

Despite the high level of automation, people remain an essential part of warehouse operations. Pavel Osička from Linde MH emphasizes: "People think, the machines work. The aim was to increase the efficiency of warehousing and eliminate errors." Automation has led to a significant rationalization of warehouse processing. The highlight: during operation, the complex system only requires a single employee during the morning shift, who basically only has to switch the system on and off. Only at the two loading ramps for goods traffic are additional employees on duty. Preventive maintenance and condition monitoring also reduce the risk of breakdowns to an absolute minimum.

"The warehouse in Břeclav is an outstanding success," summarizes Petr Vanek. "Together, Linde Material Handling and Fosfa have designed a warehouse that is not only recognized as a pioneering achievement in the Czech Republic, but also worldwide."