Retrofitting for Your Logistical Future

Published on in Logistics of the future, Service, Sustainability, Trends
7 minutes reading time

There are many ways to make your warehouse system fit for the future – either by replacing the system completely, by carrying out a revitalization or retrofitting it. But what is the best solution for your business? Read on to find out how we at KNAPP manage these projects to make your system future-proof.  

What is a retrofit?

During a retrofit, we replace the mechanical, electrical and PLC components of a system. This is necessary when components are no longer up to standard or will no longer be available in the near future. At KNAPP, we also update the control systems.

A retrofit is just one possible choice for extending the life of your system.

life cycle extension, retrofit

At KNAPP, we analyze your particular case and help define the best solution together with you.

Why opt for a retrofit?

We’ve been supporting our customers with our automation solutions for decades. While our shuttle technology has been part of our product portfolio since the early 2000s, our conveyor systems and automated picking systems are significantly older.

The systems and mounted parts in your warehouse will have been in operation for quite a while now, which is reflected in their life cycle. While some parts may no longer be available on the market, your business model may also have also changed over the years. In these cases, a retrofit makes good sense as old components are replaced and new, innovative system technology added. These adaptations prepare you for the challenges of your sector and allow you to benefit from higher operational reliability and unlimited spare parts supply.

However, a retrofit may not always be the best decision for your warehouse. That’s why the first step is thoroughly evaluating your current situation. The question is: When would the ideal time be to do a retrofit?

Graph with X- and Y-curve to show graphically when retrofit makes sense

When is the most suitable time for a retrofit? [1]

What is the goal behind a retrofit?

With retrofit projects, we want to make your system fit for the future, not only in the technological sense but also with regard to sustainability:

  • By retrofitting your system, you reuse the space and existing steel constructions. This saves energy and reduces emissions, positively affecting your carbon footprint.
  • Planned system standstills only: The warehouse is modernized during on-going operation, ensuring the logistics system maintains the required output even during the retrofit.
  • Increased energy efficiency
  • Compliance with legal requirements
  • Ensured supply of spare parts
Man steht für einer Grafik mit einer absinkenden Kurve

How do you benefit from a retrofit?

Many customers are considering a retrofit due to the uncertain market situation and rising costs for storage space and raw materials. These might be the most obvious reasons, however retrofits come with many more advantages:

Reduces costs

  • Investment significantly lower compared to purchasing a new installation
  • Reduced operational costs, such as for maintenance and repair thanks to new components


  • Reduced energy consumption and emissions during implementation
  • Only planned standstills, on-going operation

More security

  • Implementation of the latest hardware as well as electrical and mechatronic components
  • Protection from cyber attacks thanks to the latest software versions

Makes planning easy

  • Full support for the next 10 years plus 5 years of limited support
  • Ensured supply of original spare parts

7 steps to a successful warehouse retrofit

Retrofitting your warehouse not only prolongs the life cycle of your system, but is good for the environment as well. But how are retrofits usually implemented?

1. Where is your system in the overall product life cycle?

Together with you, we check which stage of the life cycle your systems, hardware and software are in and discuss what your plans for the future are.

2. Analysis

Our service experts analyze which components will have a critical effect on the on-going operation of the system. In addition, we check whether products from suppliers are still available on the market.

3. Design phase

At the end of the design phase, you receive an offer detailing your ideal logistics solution for the future.

4. On-site inspection

In order to make sure everything is optimally prepared for the retrofit, our team of experts carefully examines the system in advance.

5. Planning and production

Using the collected data, we plan out the modernization in detail and manufacture/order all the parts for your project.

6. Implementation

Now it’s time for “routine surgery”: Experienced technicians implement the project with as little disturbance to your daily business as possible.

7. Fit for the future in full support

Back to the state-of-the-art: The replaced components of your system again have full support status for the next 10 years.

Example: CO2 reduction thanks to warehouse system retrofitting

To showcase the environmental friendliness of a retrofit project, we’ve prepared the following example. Imagine a logistics system with a warehouse shuttle system that has the following dimensions:

  • Area: 953 m² (10,250 ft²)
  • Height: 5.6 m (18 ft)
  • Rack weight: 573 t
  • 8 rack line systems

x 6,132

Retrofitting this system saves 1,486 tons of CO2, which equals 3,276,069 pounds, compared to building a new shuttle system. That’s about the same amount of CO2 produced by 6,132 trips in the car from Vienna to Paris. Retrofitting your warehouse not only prepares you for the future of logistics, but is good for the environment as well.

Are you also facing the same challenges? Are you considering a retrofit? We are here to help! Together, we’ll find the best solution for your specific use case. Drop us a line and schedule a meeting with one of our retrofit experts.

[1] Based on Retrofit/Lagerautomatisierung,, Status: 26/07/2023