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Innovationszentrum TECE
Plenty of room for creative ideas: Martin Krabbe, Head of Product Management and Product Development at TECE, in front of the InnoLab

TECE invests at the Emsdetten site

TECE opens a versatile innovation centre at the company headquarters in Emsdetten. Here, TECE developers can test products at early stages of development in close cooperation with the trade and optimally tailor them to the needs of the sanitary, heating and air-conditioning market - living "close to you". In addition, the company is further developing its distribution centre and commissions an automated storage and order picking system.

"We have always worked closely with the trade, both in the design of new products and in product optimization. In the InnoLab, we can now test in a creative atmosphere whether a product proves itself in real life and how it is seen by the customer - under practical conditions," explains Martin Krabbe, Head of Product Management and Product Development at TECE.

To this end, the company acquired the 24,000 square metre site directly next to the TECE Campus and converted the former car workshop into an innovation centre - retaining the workshop charm. The InnoLab now offers 1,600 square meters of space for ideas and their implementation: an area for mechanical testing of prototypes, an electrical and ceramic workshop and a room with 3D printers for post-processing the prototypes. The car dealership's former car wash now houses a fixed test series with different WC modules for testing functional improvements.

Martin Krabbe: "Workshops of this kind are nothing new for us. With the InnoLab, however, we now have a solution directly at the site that can be accessed flexibly and at short notice at any time." In future, in addition to internal development work, workshops, training courses and expert discussions will also take place here, where new product concepts will be put to the test in the truest sense of the word.

New future-proof storage system

In addition to the InnoLab, as a hub for innovative ideas, TECE is also expanding its distribution centre, via which the company's central flows of goods in Europe are managed. To this end, the company has invested in an automated and space-saving AutoStore small parts picking system, which works according to the "goods-to-person" principle. In the first stage of expansion, the small parts are stored here in almost 30,000 containers stacked on top of each other, which are picked by eight small, extremely energy-efficient robots running on rails and are delivered directly to one of the four carousel ports. This eliminates walking distances, saves valuable time and there is no downtime - if a robot fails, one of the other electronic colleagues simply takes over its task. Intuitive operation via modern touch screens also reduces the likelihood of incorrect deliveries and thus expensive delays in the construction process.

Lagersystem Autostore
Jörg Venker, Head of Corporate Logistics at TECE, oversees the further development of the distribution centre in Emsdetten. In the background: picking robots at work.

The system is not only extremely energy-efficient but also reorganizes itself before each shift: containers with products that are needed frequently and especially in the following shift are already moved to the upper levels by the robots before the respective shift begins, so that waiting times at the ports are minimized.

Jörg Venker is Head of Corporate Logistics at TECE and is overseeing the project: "The modular and scalable design of the AutoStore allows us to make optimal use of the available storage space while increasing productivity. If capacity ever runs low, the system can be easily expanded." If the number of orders increases, the system can be adapted to the new conditions at any time during operation.

Both investments, the InnoLab and the new storage system, underline TECE's commitment to the location of the company headquarters in Emsdetten. The laying of the foundation stone for the new administration building, which will expand the current company campus, was celebrated there already beginning of September.

Lagersystem Autostore
The AutoStore is an automated and space-saving small parts picking system in which the goods are stored in almost 30,000 containers stacked on top of each other.
Lagersystem Autostore
The AutoStore works according to the "goods-to-person" principle: the goods are picked by energy-efficient robots and transported directly to the packing station.