Beckhoff’s Logistics Revolution: Pioneering Automated Warehousing for Unprecedented Growth
Beckhoff Revolutionizes Logistics with Cutting-Edge Warehouse Transformation
The surging demand for Beckhoff technologies has propelled the company’s U.S. revenue to a remarkable 33.4% growth in 2022. In response to this unprecedented demand, Beckhoff USA has undertaken a significant overhaul of its Minneapolis-area warehouse, introducing an innovative Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS) from OPEX Corp. This strategic investment, coupled with others, has successfully brought lead times back to pre-pandemic levels, marking a pivotal moment for customers across diverse industries.
The AS/RS has augmented the warehouse capacity by an impressive 60%, allowing for future scalability. The entire project was executed seamlessly without causing major disruptions to customer shipments, a testament to the exceptional teamwork led by Wayne Schmeichel, Director of Operations, and the hands-on leadership of Beckhoff USA President Kevin Barker.
Barker attributes the success of the project to the exceptional strength of the U.S. operations team, stating, “Considering the scale of this project and the pace of our warehouse, we knew we’d be essentially changing a tire at 100 mph. But we pulled it off, and that’s a testament to our amazing team. The AS/RS not only enhances productivity but also liberates our growing warehouse team from repetitive tasks, enabling them to tackle more engaging challenges, ultimately leading to increased job satisfaction and more rewarding work.”
The fully operational AS/RS employs multiple mobile robots to efficiently retrieve totes of products, which are then delivered to operators. Complemented by additional conveyor systems facilitating the smooth transport of components to packing stations, the AS/RS integrates various Beckhoff technologies, including EtherCAT and TwinSAFE I/O terminals, as well as a robust operator interface.
Wayne Schmeichel emphasized the positive impact on the workforce, stating, “Before implementing the OPEX® Infinity™ system, we were running out of room in our warehouse, not to mention personnel bandwidth to meet customer demands. It’s always refreshing to see technology make people’s jobs easier. By automating processes, we can work smarter instead of harder, and rather than eliminating jobs, we continue to grow our warehouse team headcount to ensure the best possible customer experiences.”
These warehouse upgrades align with Beckhoff’s global manufacturing and logistics initiatives. The company’s headquarters in Germany has invested significantly in new production infrastructure and recently announced a state-of-the-art central warehouse. With a sprawling 750,000 square feet, the distribution facility will manage shipments for European customers and process orders for Beckhoff subsidiaries worldwide, positioning the company for sustained, rapid growth.
Beckhoff USA President Kevin Barker expressed confidence in the company’s continued growth, stating, “With our automated warehouse upgrades in Minnesota, we are taking a monumental step forward, but this certainly won’t be the last step in that journey.”