From catwalk to consumer

Reduced project times for fashion logistics systems

From catwalk to consumer

Fashion is a fast-moving business. One collection follows the other on a weekly basis. That is why the business calls for powerful and highly automated logistics systems, particularly for the burgeoning e-commerce area. System specialists, Dürkopp Fördertechnik, are able to significantly shorten project times with support from Weidmüller.

Fashion – on the catwalk today and tomorrow already available on the high street or online. The demands on an efficient supply chain in the fashion industry are enormous. Dürkopp Fördertechnik, headquartered in Bielefeld, is numbered amongst the leading providers of complete intralogistics solutions. In particular, the company has established the benchmark for systems for the transporting and sorting of flat and hanging clothing.

With the accuracy of a seismograph, equipment manufacturers register changes in a market segment very early. This is also true in fashion logistics. The boom in e-commerce has driven up demand at Dürkopp for larger systems that enable the highly efficient automation of the complex processes in this market. And at the same time, customers expect ever shorter project times.

Thanks to efficient connectivity, an SAI distributor can be cabled, labelled and tested in just 30 minutes.

Unique identification using RFID

Dürkopp, the materials handling specialists, recognised these demands at a very early stage, and reacted to the growing diversification of products within the fashion business by extending its tried-and-trusted roll adapter system for hanging clothing through the addition of sorter pockets for flat articles, from shoe boxes to accessories. The RFID transponders that are integrated into the product carriers make each product type uniquely identifiable. The millions of adapters that are in daily use demonstrate how robust and flexible the system is.

Conventional materials handling systems are designed around a main panel, decentralised distributors and sensor-actuator interfaces. When it comes to larger sorting facilities, Dürkopp decentrally combines several of these systems to create installations that can cover an area equivalent to several football pitches. In this way, each control mechanism has its own panel. In order to be able to complete these large projects in the shortest possible time for e-commerce providers for example, the materials handling specialists focus on pluggable sensor-actuator cabling that uses M23 circular connectors. Weidmüller delivers all the necessary components as pre-assembled cord sets, in the corresponding combinations and lengths, which significantly simplifies the pre-cabling at the factory for Dürkopp. Labelling is also done in a timely fashion, using the Weidmüller integrated marking system. The bottom line is that deploying both solutions results in noticeable reductions in equipment assembly times.

Pre-assembly enables us to shorten commissioning times significantly and to avoid installation errors.

Manfred Sportelli, Head of Electrical Design and Production at Dürkopp

Faster on-site commissioning

On-site installation time that in the past took two hours, can now be completed in the workshop in around 30 minutes, at the end of which the SAI distributor, with its 16 connections, is cabled, labelled and tested and then only has to be plugged in. A further advantage is that because the cord sets are pluggable, maintenance work and future expansions are made easier. At the end of the day, materials handling systems are usually in use around the clock over several decades and even during servicing, downtimes have to be kept as short as possible. “With us, everything that can be made pluggable, is pluggable,” emphasises Manfred Sportelli, Head of Electrical Design and Production. Mr Sportelli has been responsible for the control technology at Dürkopp for over 40 years and from the start, he has focused on using connection solutions from Weidmüller. “Pre-assembly enables us to shorten commissioning times significantly and to avoid installation errors.”

A combination of automation and digitalisation

From the preparatory work in the workshop through commissioning and on to service and maintenance, the Weidmüller solutions help Dürkopp keep up with the dynamic developments in fashion logistics. There is further optimisation potential to be gained from the new options offered by digitalisation. And here as well, both companies are in discussions to identify ways to drive their joint success story forwards.