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6 min

KION Puts Picnics on the Table

There’s nothing more relaxing than getting on your bike, heading out into the countryside, laying down your rug and enjoying the view with a nice cold beer. Perhaps even a few nice cheeses or a handful of nuts to graze on. But what does any of this have to do with KION? More than you might think … Even something as simple as a picnic trip involves some complex intralogistic processes. And it all starts with the bike.


Summer is picnic season. When the warm, sunny days come round, many of us like nothing more than taking a trip to the countryside, where we can eat, drink, and enjoy being in nature. At first glance, it’s hard to see what all this has to do with the forklift trucks, pallet stackers and warehouse equipment made by KION—or any of our products and solutions, for that matter. However, even in these everyday moments in life, intralogistics continues to play an important role. From the breweries to cheesemakers to bicycle suppliers: there are hard-working forklifts beavering away behind the scenes in all sorts of businesses, making light work of logistical challenges so that we can really enjoy life’s simple pleasures.

Intralogistics in the Bicycle Industry

Before we set off on our trip, first we need to decide how we want to get there. And with the sun shining brightly in the sky, what better way to travel than by bicycle? Kalkhoff is one of Germany’s leading bike manufacturers. The company recently pooled its extensive range into one central distribution center in Cloppenburg, which supplies 5,000 specialist dealers across 60 countries. In order to ensure timely delivery, the KION brand STILL has developed eight specially designed navigation-guided MX-X very narrow aisle trucks. These not only allow drivers to move safely around the narrow aisles, but also to pick goods from shelves at heights of up to ten meters.

This meticulous process ensures that Kalkhoff’s bikes arrive safely and efficiently at retail outlets, ready for cyclists to saddle up and enjoy a warm summer’s day. So, with a backpack full of supplies you’re ready to set off! But wait, what if the weather takes a turn for the worse?

The STILL warehouse concept increases flexibility and saves space, time and costs in Derby Cycle's (Kalkhoff) central warehouse.

A Raincoat from the Top Shelf

To be equipped for any eventuality, we really ought to take a raincoat along—and what better than a cycling jacket from the traditional Swedish brand Craft? The company’s logistics center is based in Geiselwind, near Würzburg in Lower Franconia, from which they provide 24-hour delivery of orders throughout Europe.

Thanks to the state-of-the-art high rack systems from STILL, Craft never needs to fear a fall in throughput. The systems are divided into one narrow aisle and one wide aisle warehouse for optimum efficiency, with a total of eight aisles. As with Kalkhoff, the meticulously planned logistics concept uses the STILL MX-X turret truck, which in this case is equipped with Active Floor Compensation (AFC). This innovative assistance system makes it possible to operate efficiently on uneven warehouse floors.

Li-ION Technology Keeps the Refreshments Flowing

Once the clouds have cleared, it’s time to relax and enjoy the tranquility of nature, perhaps even spotting a woodland creature or two. A little picnic area with wooden benches is the perfect spot. And now for some refreshments! However, before you can take a refreshing sip of cool water, it has to make its way into the bottle somehow.

At Gerolsteiner Brunnen GmbH & Co. KG in Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate, the sparkling Gerolsteiner water has traveled through ancient rock formations for millions of years before being bottled on the company premises. Around 10,000 pallets of this precious commodity are loaded here every day. To do this, the company relies on almost three dozen 8-tonne forklift trucks from the KION subsidiary Linde Material Handling, half of which are electrically operated. “We want to be a source of inspiration for positive and sustainable change,” says Ulrich Rust, Technology Manager at Gerolsteiner.

The Linde E 80 electric forklift trucks powered by Li-ION technology make easy work of the constant lifting and lowering, covering long distances and achieving massive throughputs, including 55,000 truck dispatches per year.

The Perfect Solution for Storing and Transporting Cheese

Let’s continue our trip with a tour of the local city park. With its great expanse of lush green space, it offers the perfect place to soak up a spot of morning sun. Here we lay out our picnic rug and unpack the cheese platter we brought along. With a little luck, this might include a piece of tangy “Räßkäse” or fresh “Bachensteiner”, delicious cheeses made by traditional Austrian cheese makers Vorarlberg Milch. The company’s production department relies on driverless transport systems from the KION brand Dematic, which even provide the best possible support for the maturing process of the cheese.

Vorarlberg Milch stores cheese with driverless transport systems from Dematic.

In the company’s natural cheese cellar, the cheese is first treated with saffron water before moving on to the next stage of maturation. Dematic technology plays a key role here, as it ensures that the different cheeses are automatically transported to the right machine at exactly the right time. So, there’s even a little bit of KION in our cheese hamper, as well as in other snacks we might like to include in our picnic, such as the nuts we nibble on.

Four Thousand Pallets for Nuts and Snacks

Our path continues on past expansive meadows. Here you can really enjoy the pleasant breeze as you glide along on your bike, perhaps munching on a few snacks along the way. And there’s an impressive logistical journey behind any packet of nuts or snacks, including those produced by traditional Italian company Madi Ventura. The company, based near Milan, uses a range of technologies and solutions from Linde Material Handling. The warehouse was completely redesigned for Madi Ventura, integrating a high rack warehouse which provides room for an extra 4,000 pallets. At the heart of this system, the automated Linde K-MATIC VNA truck ensures that the goods are transported smoothly through the ten aisles. The automated Linde L-MATIC pallet stacker works alongside, retrieving and storing goods on the shelves.

The precise, automated system performs a whole host of tasks, working smoothly and quietly in the background. Not unlike the one in operation in the tranquil town of Burgos in Spain. There, food giant PepsiCo has again teamed up with Dematic at its Spanish headquarters in order to complete its logistics center, which assists the neighboring snack production facility. This project involved the introduction of two additional stacker cranes to the warehouse, as well as upgrades to the transport and monorail systems, and an expansion of the Dematic software. The high rack warehouse spans 4,600 square meters, has heights of up to 42 meters, and a capacity of around 35,000 pallets. An ingenious system that makes these little moments of pleasure possible.

A large part of the Linde fleet at Veltins now runs on Li-ION technology.

Over Three Million Hectoliters of Beer

There are no more stops to make now—we’ve reached the viewing point where our excursion will end. And there’s only one way to bring this glorious day to a close: with a delicious beer. In the brewery complex near Grevenstein in the Hochsauerland district of Germany, the Veltins brand bottled a total of 3.36 million hectoliters of beer last year—a new record in the company’s 200-year history. This wouldn’t have been possible without the round-the-clock operation and maximum performance of 60 Linde forklifts. What’s more, a large part of the Veltins fleet now runs on Li-ION technology, which is just as powerful as IC trucks, but more sustainable thanks to being emission-free.

And even the juice drinkers have KION products to thank for having a nice fresh fruit juice to wash down their picnic with. KION subsidiary STILL recently designed a new, centralized external warehouse with more than 10,000 pallet spaces for Güldenkron Fruchtsaft Kellerei GmbH, based in Nistertal in the Westerwald district. Here, apple and orange juice, as well as multivitamin drinks, are filled into bottles, tetra-paks and boxes. The STILL MX-Q order picker is used to gather the products, while the STILL EGV-S high lift pallet truck makes light work of navigating the narrow warehouse aisles and effortlessly carries loads at heights of up to four meters.

So, as our day out in the countryside comes to an end, one thing is clear … that many of the things we enjoy would not be possible without intralogistics solutions like those from KION. Not even a picnic in the woods!