KNAPP Automates Distribution Center for Lecot

Press information: Published on in Industry, Technology

The Belgian company Lecot, nationally leading supplier to the construction industry, has commissioned KNAPP to automate their distribution center in Heule, West Flanders. The heart of the new solution is the OSR Shuttle Evo, KNAPP’s automated small parts warehouse. The new solution is designed to cover future growth and provide outstanding customer service.

Lecot is Belgium’s largest supplier of building hardware, fasteners, tools and personal protective equipment. The company has more than 80 locations, employs around 750 people and has 110,000 products in their portfolio. In 2022, Lecot expanded their Heule distribution center by 13,000 m² to meet the demands of their growing business. For many years, the company has worked with the logistics consultants at Logflow (Brugge), who created a new logistics master plan for a future-proof distribution center. The concept includes a fully automatic small parts warehouse, ergonomic work stations and support from artificial intelligence. In a comprehensive selection process, KNAPP was chosen to implement the automation solution.

State-of-the-art distribution center for future growth

Lecot’s state-of-the-art DC includes a 6,000 m² high-bay racking and serves as an extension of the existing halls. At the heart of it all is the picking and storage system OSR Shuttle Evo by KNAPP. Thanks to the automation solution’s modularity, Lecot can expand the system to up to three times its current size. Likewise, the solution can be flexibly adapted to changes in production and process, preparing Lecot for future growth and changes in the market. KNAPP will be installing the system during on-going operation, which will mesh smoothly with the existing system and integrate directly into the existing building. The storage system features an incredibly high storage density, since the system was designed to use less floorspace and stretch into the heights. With this flexible, scalable new system designed for the highest degree of space utilization, Lecot sends a strong signal of their commitment to sustainability.

The KNAPP solution in detail

The OSR Shuttle Evo picking and storage system features triple-deep storage. During the first phase, 58,000 storage locations will be implemented in two 80-meter rack lines with a height of 16 meters (52 ft). In future, this storage system can be expanded to up to 174,000 storage locations. 74 shuttles will dynamically handle all the storage and retrieval movements in the system, moving containers to and from the ergonomic Pick-it-Easy work stations. The stations provide visual support to the employees as they pick, and their height is adjustable for ergonomic working. The new warehouse will also serve as a buffering area between picking and packing. A sorting system will ensure that outgoing orders are sequenced and organized like clockwork. KNAPP’s KiSoft software will control the system and connect it to the customer system.

Sustainable partnership with KNAPP

Lecot and KNAPP signed the contract at the end of February 2023, marking the beginning of an enduring partnership. Since then, the demolition and construction work for the new building has started. Startup of the new system is planned for summer 2025.

About KNAPP Industry Solutions

KNAPP Industry Solutions is the specialist within the KNAPP group for tailor-made solutions for industrial, manufacturing and distribution logistics as well as for autonomous mobile robots. The Dobl location and the KNAPP campus together form the center of solution development and implementation for these sectors. As a technology partner for intelligent value chain management, KNAPP supports renowned manufacturers such as Terberg, Pankl Racing, Würth, Magna, Siemens, VW and Fronius in their value creation.

About Lecot

Lecot is the largest national supplier of building hardware, fasteners, tools and personal protective equipment in Belgium. The family-run company has 80 locations, 4 of which are in the Netherlands, 750 employees and a turnover of 267 million euros. Lecot supplies the construction sector with more than 110,000 make-to-order products, with 40,000 available in stock. Lecot is fully committed to the omnichannel customer experience, providing customers with a combination of digital channels, a comprehensive network of stores and local deliveries. The engine driving the fast-growing company has always been state-of-the-art logistics.