TVH is growing strongly and the logistics department became too small. That is why the company decided to build a new warehouse next to the main building.

"Initially, we were going to load the boxes directly into the trucks using a telescopic conveyor, but that turned out to be unfeasible: with a target of processing 2,500 boxes per hour – and in the second phase 5,000 boxes - this is ergonomically unjustifiable. We decided to automate the handling process”, says Erik Deceuninck, director automation at TVH.


In the new distribution warehouse there are 32 pick stations, spread over two floors, where goods are placed in the transport box by the picker at the end of the line. The transport box comes in three sizes, the height of which is variable and depends on the content. These boxes are taken via two spirals to the fourth floor, where they end up on the barrel.

The boxes are scanned and distributed via data tracking to the correct belt on one of the four portals. The box is then picked up by suction cups and deposited in one of the pallet cage combinations. Each portal robot has a gantry on both the left and the right, a telescopic system that picks up and drops off the box.

Once the pallet is filled, it goes to the second installation, where the cage is simultaneously raised and wrapped during the wrapping process. In this way we maintain a stable wound load. The pallet continues to the turntable with label applicator where we apply the correct label on all four sides. The empty cage is provided with an empty lower pallet and is returned to the gantry robots.


  • The boxes are available in three sizes, ranging from 200x300 mm to 400x600 mm with a variable height from 30 to 300 mm. The weight varies from 0 to 20 kg. In other words: efficiently and stably stacking the boxes on the pallets, with a minimum loss of space, required a lot of technical calculations and engineering. We came up with a stacking system in which we stack up to 2 meters high in a steel cage, to prevent the boxes from falling over during stacking. "Fraxinus also suggested to tilt the pallet slightly so that the boxes are pushed to one point and they do not fall apart like a palm tree during stacking. A good move", says Bart Reyntjens, automation engineering architect.
  • To make sure we wouldn't stack like an accordion, we integrated software that continuously calculates the current height of the stack and indicates where replenishment is allowed, without exceeding the tower behind. In addition, two gripping arms were placed in one cell, so that the robot could handle the rapid supply of boxes.
  • To avoid the trucks transporting air, it was envisioned that the cell can completely fill a container with small boxes on top of the medium format boxes or medium format boxes on large boxes by the time the orders close at the end of the day. The box sizes have been thought out in such a way that they fit together well. In addition, it is planned that the pallets will no longer be stacked the full 2 ​​meters in the late afternoon, because the last orders leave with a delivery van.


For two years we had fortnightly meetings with the customer to shape the project. In the first phase, the layout of the process was broadly drawn up and determined. Then we came to the challenge of stacking the boxes.

We then made various test setups in our workshop. This allowed us to try out our theories and we discovered that certain calculations did not work in practice. It took two years to arrive at the effective end result. Fortunately, we had the luxury of having plenty of time to conduct rigorous testing.

In this way we were able to bring the project and the efficiency of the stacking to a high level. Ultimately, this successful test phase led to a prototype cell that we built and tested completely in our workshop. When it appeared to work well, the customer decided to order three more cells and the complete loop to the cells.


Erik: “We are satisfied with the concept. A project of this size requires a lot of patience, both from our end and from Fraxinus. You are married to each other, so to speak: you both enter into a major commitment where you both take risks and make serious efforts to continue working together. But the solution-oriented approach of Fraxinus and the close involvement of the team ensures that there is a great deal of understanding for all the steps required in the process.”



  • The distribution centre covers 12,000 m², spread over four floors with a total of 25 metres of usable height.
  • Orders are delivered within 24 hours in Europe and within 48 hours worldwide.
  • The installation can handle 2,500 boxes per hour in phase 1. In phase 2it will be able to handle 5,000 boxes per hour.


Can the logistic flow in your warehouse also be more efficient? We like to exchange ideas. Feel free to contact us for a no-obligation introduction.

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