ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL--(Marketwire - February 13, 2009) - The focus of WITRON's press conference 2008 was not only the second generation of its "Order Picking Machinery" (OPM), but also its new fully-automated shelf solution SRS to be used for efficient replenishment inside a store. Moreover, WITRON announced that it will develop and produce tote conveyor systems in its own production facility in Parkstein and Saarbrücken in the future.

WITRON presents newest innovation, the SRS - Shelf Replenishment System

With the Shelf Replenishment System (SRS) for automatic shelf replenishment in the store, WITRON provides a new solution with the goal of effectively reducing labor costs and optimizing the processes in food retail stores. Such a solution is important considering the magnitude of the logistics cost generated at the point of sale due to high personnel expenditures for restocking the shelves, designing the facing, and managing the out-of-stock situations.

"From a technical point of view, the new system is absolutely matured and a first pilot installation is on the way," says WITRON authorized signatory Ulrich Schlosser. WITRON is currently in contact with existing customers and a shelf producer, and the first practical use of SRS in a store is planned to start in 2009. The goal is to determine the acceptance by the end customer, the availability of the solution during the daily business, the reaction of the system on different situations of a shopping day, and the verification of profitability. "For us, this is the vision of expanding a mechanized supply chain through to the racks of a shop," says Schlosser.

Rack stock determines replenishment volume automatically

"'Out-of-Stock' problems will soon be a thing of the past thanks to the SRS system and due to the direct integration of SRS and sale systems. The symmetric alignment of products in each rack, as well as open aisles that are not congested with replenishment work, increases the attractiveness of the store for the end customer. The transport of pallets or roll containers in the store to the replenishment positions will not be required anymore," says WITRON CEO Helmut Prieschenk.

"The trend in retail is towards larger stores and wider assortments, and that makes a fully automated shelf replenishment system especially beneficial," adds Prieschenk.

All sales items in SRS are carried and pushed carefully by means of slat conveyors, belt conveyors or push-off devices -- similar to WITRON's OPM system. The goods are silently transported by shuttles in a replenishment aisle that is directly integrated into the shelf and therefore invisible to the customer. The sales front consists of passive shelves without sensor technology with a specific drive system. The shelf stock is automatically registered by means of a scanner that is located on the shuttle, allowing the system to directly determine the replenishment volume in the shelf. Replenishment is carried out by the system without human intervention and without the customer's awareness.

WITRON now manufacturing conveyor systems and mechanical components in company owned production facilities

Based on the experiences with their OPM and DPS systems, WITRON has decided to manufacture conveyors and mechanical components in their own production facility. The conveyor system components, especially developed for WITRON solutions, provide the highest availability without losing sight of WITRON's successful standardization strategy.

To accomplish this task, WITRON integrated FAS FörderAnlagen Systeme GmbH. Tote AS/RS cranes, COMs, as well as tray and tote conveyor systems are now being produced in Saarbrücken and Parkstein, Germany.

"Impelled by the speed of innovation in our picking systems, it became necessary to take up the development and production of conveyor system elements on our own," says company owner Walter Winkler. "WITRON's demand is to provide ideal mechanical solutions with maximum life cycle. This is now possible since production is integrated from the beginning into the development of each individual component. The entire WITRON know-how based on 37 years of experience in design, realization, IT, and control of systems will be applied to mechanical production. The experiences of our employees from system maintenance and the operating experience of our customers is an important feedback for the development of new components," continued Winkler. "With the expansion of our portfolio, we will now have more influence on system availability and system performance. The feedback from our customers confirms our decision."

New OPM Generation with higher performance values

After several years of successful practical experience with customers like EDEKA (Germany), Mercadona (Spain), and Kroger, WITRON has improved its fully-automated warehouse and picking system "Order Picking Machinery" (OPM), increasing its performance by 25 percent.

"Our improvements were made by keeping the established OPM concepts and elements, and by re-structuring and simplifying the material flow process," says WITRON authorized signatory Ulrich Schlosser. "Our improvements also resulted in a 35% reduction in the number of components." The pick performance of the new COM generation amounts to an average between 520 and 570 cases per COM per hour, with clearly reduced energy consumption and operating costs at the same time.

With OPM, it is possible to automatically depalletize different trading units, temporarily store them on trays, or directly pick them onto an order pallet or into a roll container by using WITRON's patented "Case Order Machine" (COM). All this is done individually and in a store-friendly sequence. 229 COM machines are currently in use in projects across the globe, and some two million cases or 30,000 pallets are picked using OPM each day. Besides the use of OPM in the dry goods assortment, it has also proven to be an efficient and profitable solution with high optimization potential in fresh and frozen environments. OPM's capability in these challenging environments has been proven in existing fresh and frozen warehouses for Mercadona. A leading US Grocery Retailer has taken note of Mercadona's success, and has begun detail planning of their own temperature-controlled OPM warehouse together with WITRON.

Contact Information: Contact: Brian Sherman Witron Integrated Logistics Corp. 3721 Ventura Drive, Suite 140 Arlington Heights, IL 60004 Main Line: 847-385-6000