Pepperl+Fuchs opens IoT-enabled DC

by Inside Logistics Online Staff
Inside the new Pepperl+Fuchs distribution centre.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Electronics distributor Pepperl+Fuchs recently opened a new distribution centre in Katy, Texas, which will supply industrial sensors and explosion protection throughout North America.

SSI Schaeffer was chosen to supply an automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS), along with warehouse management software (WMS), for the DC. The new facility encompasses 110,000 sq. ft. and incorporates approximately 1,000 Pepperl+Fuchs sensors that feed data into the SSI Schaeffer WMS. With an over US$25 million investment, the state-of-the-art distribution centre serves as the central warehouse from which Pepperl+Fuchs distributes more than 10,000 products worldwide.

Pepperl+Fuchs sensors and automation technology help control the ASRS, with a fully automated parts picking and conveyor system for quick transport of materials for shipment. Specialized warehouse management software allows supervisors to keep a close eye on important operational data along the line.

The IoT-enabled warehouse is one of the most modern distribution centres in North America. It allows Pepperl+Fuchs to increase its efficiency and cost-effectiveness while providing customers with shorter delivery times.

“We chose SSI SCHAEFER as a partner because we wanted to showcase how our sensors perform in an automation system,” stated Jim Bolin,  executive vice-president for the Americas process automation at Pepperl+Fuchs.

“One of our requirements when doing vendor selection was using Pepperl+Fuchs sensors, and SSI Schaeffer was willing to partner and display their software technologies as well. Together, the two technologies were a great fit. The information that we need is monitored throughout our facilities. The data allows management to keep a close watch on what’s important during operations,” Bolin continued.

“While it may not be as large as some of our other distribution facilities, it’s the captured data and how it’s used that makes this DC unique. This facility has all of the same processes of a large facility and uses the complete Schaeffer warehouse management suite of products,” said Christoph Schenk, CEO for Schaefer Systems International, Inc.

Katy, Texas, was chosen as a location for the new facility due to the proximity of the oil and gas industries. Galveston Bay makes it easy to receive product from Europe and Asia, while Houston enables easy airfreight capabilities for clients of Pepperl+Fuchs. The new facility will provide tours to potential clients of both Pepperl+Fuchs and SSI Schaeffer.

Pepperl+Fuchs designs and manufactures factory and process automation products. It pioneered the development of proximity sensors 50 years ago. The copmany’s global headquarters are in Mannheim, Germany, with a North American base in Twinsburg, Ohio.