VHIT invests in AutoStore solution to automate spare parts logistics in Italy

13 December 2023, Company News

In October 2023, Kardex handed over a turnkey and future-proof AutoStore solution to Automotive supplier VHIT. Perfectly adapted to the spatial conditions on site, the automated storage and retrieval system will optimize logistics for spare parts at the Offanengo site in Italy.

VHIT, an Italian company headquartered in Offanengo, specializes in developing and producing mechatronic products for the Automotive industry. Founded in 1958, the company has become a partner for the Automotive industry on a global scale, with a strong drive towards innovation, sustainability, and the future of the mobility industry.
So far, VHIT has mainly supplied major customers and their own production, which is why only pallets needed to be moved to the Offanengo warehouse. They plan to serve smaller customers and their spare parts demands in the future. Due to these circumstances, a small parts solution was required to handle smaller batch sizes efficiently. As a result, the intralogistics expert and global AutoStore partner Kardex was commissioned to plan and implement a tailor-made AutoStore solution for VHIT. 

“Since our Offanengo site has constantly grown since the 1980s, space efficiency was an extremely important requirement for us in the search of an appropriate small parts solution”, says Maurizio Gnocchi, Physical Logistics Manager at VHIT. “We are convinced that AutoStore is the ideal solution for our needs, since it is a compact, flexible and scalable system that provides maximum storage capacity on minimum floor space.”

Kardex is a trusted partner of the Bosch group, which has already equipped several warehouses with Kardex technology in the past. Since VHIT was part of the Bosch group until the end of 2022, it was a logical step for the company to commission Kardex for their AutoStore project.

VHIT 2.1

Maximum space efficiency

With the best storage density ratio of any automated storage system, AutoStore achieves ultimate space efficiency. The highly flexible aluminum cubic grid system, in which AutoStore bins are neatly stacked on top of each other, maximizes storage density and enables four times the capacity with the same footprint compared to conventional manual storage. The tailor-made AutoStore solution planned for VHIT will provide space for more than 3,000 storage bins, each with an external height of 330 mm. The bins will be handled by three battery-powered Red Line robots that move along the rails on top of the grid. The robots pick up bins, rearrange them, and transport them to the workstations and back into the grid. Picking and replenishment of the small parts will take place at three ergonomically designed workstations – so-called Conveyor Ports. The whole process will be optimized by a Warehouse Execution System provided by Kardex. The system went Live in October 2023 – just five months after the order had been signed. AutoStore's modular design allows for throughput and storage capacity expansions at any time without impacting ongoing operations.


Partnering with AutoStore towards more sustainability

For VHIT, sustainability plays a decisive role in the company's actions and decisions. With the investment in a highly efficient AutoStore solution at the Offanengo site, VHIT is now taking another step towards greater sustainability.
AutoStore requires only a fraction of the energy compared to traditional automated storage systems. In fact, AutoStore controllers, ports and robots consume very little power – much less than a majority of common household electrical appliances. Any time an AutoStore robot reduces its speed or lowers a bin, energy recovery powers the robot's batteries up. Essentially, AutoStore robots operate on the same principles as modern electric vehicles. As a result, the energy consumption of 10 AutoStore robots is equivalent to that of a conventional vacuum cleaner. AutoStore's compact design also requires no aisles, minimizing space consumption. Permanent lighting may only be needed at the workstations. AutoStore technology thus helps companies reduce their environmental footprint while increasing productivity.

About VHIT

Established in 1958, VHIT is a historic Italian company headquartered in Offanengo and is currently a partner for the Automotive industry on a global scale, with a strong drive towards innovation, sustainability and the future of the mobility industry. After being part of the Bosch Group for over 25 years, on 5th November 2022 VHIT and the subsidiary VHIT Automotive Systems in Wuxi were acquired by Weifu High-Technology Group Co., Ltd., one of the leading companies in the Chinese automotive industry, a public and privately held company of which the Bosch Group owns 14% of shares.

VHIT specializes in the research, development, production, and marketing of mechatronic products for the Automotive industry. They are particularly experts in vacuum, engine lubrication and cooling, for both internal combustion engines and electric motors, as well as in the field of hydraulic applications for vehicles intended for Off-Road use

In recent years, VHIT has embarked upon a process of innovation, successfully developing expertise in the design and development of hardware and software systems, thus preparing for the technological transformation currently in progress in the mobility sector. VHIT also invested in the digitization of processes, connecting them and increasingly focusing on becoming a data-driven company. The VHIT production plant exploits Digital Enablers and Industry 4.0 to reduce human activity with low added value, increase production efficiency and minimize production lead times, for the benefit and full satisfaction of their customers.

About Kardex

Kardex is a leading intralogistics solution provider of automated storage, retrieval and material handling systems. With two entrepreneurially managed divisions, Kardex Remstar and Kardex Mlog, the Kardex mission is to provide solutions and services to increase the efficiency in storing and handling of goods and materials on a global scale.
The two divisions serve as partners over the entire life cycle of a customer's product or solution. From project analysis to realization and service, Kardex helps improve a customer’s performance every step of the way. With three production plants in Germany and one in North America, Kardex ensures high-quality solutions. To maintain and strengthen its competitive position within technological innovation and outstanding customer loyalty, Kardex is investing in research and development, its supply chain, the expansion of its service organization as well as in new technology via acquisitions. Kardex actively partners with global leaders who share the same values and complement the Kardex solutions, including AutoStore, Rocket Solution, Robomotive, Intertex and Sumobox.
Kardex employs 2,000 team members across 30 countries and has installed over 140,000 industry-specific solutions worldwide.


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