The futuristic distribution centre; The Tube

National platform visited the new distribution centre of Rhenus Contract Logistics in Tilburg. This distribution centre is anything but a boring, straightforward warehouse. It is a futuristic distribution centre with round shapes in steel, glass and aluminium and also extremely durable. Read the full article here!

New Logic III - as the DC is officially called - was built by Heembouw, commissioned by logistics real estate developer Dokvast. The impressive, futuristic design comes from Heembouw's house architect Habeon Architects. Since the beginning of this year, Rhenus Contract Logistics has been taking care of the logistics for various clients in the healthcare and high-tech sector from the elliptical DC - which the people of Tilburg now call The Tube.

The entire warehouse is equipped with two floors that have a double width. Alphons van Erven says: "Normally, the floors are on average about 16 metres deep. These floors are thirty metres deep with a floor load of 800 kilos per square metre for VAL activities, among other things. We have an intermediate floor of 18,000 square metres in total on a warehouse of 60,000 square metres. That is an enormous amount.

Dc filled to 75 percent

Alphons van Erven, Senior Vice President at Rhenus Contract Logistics, and Willem Boersbroek, Site Manager of the Rhenus dc, recently gave an exclusive tour in front of the camera of, explaining and explaining this sustainable DC in logistic hotspot Tilburg, which is now 75 percent full and where within the picking process an important function is reserved for an Autstore-system that installed Swisslog.web.

White sprinklers instead of red

During the tour, it is particularly noticeable that there is a lot of daylight everywhere in the building. Van Erven says: "In order to achieve this, we have opted for many windows. Moreover, the warehouse is as white as possible. Just look at the sprinkler, which is executed in white instead of red, which is a common colour in most distribution centres. In addition, the LED lighting in the aisles adjusts to the amount of outside light coming in through the windows."

13,000 solar panels

The roof of The Tube is currently filled with solar panels. Van Erven: "The first facilities are now in place and in the near future more than 13,000 solar panels will be installed. This will enable us to generate more than 4 megawatts of electricity. That is about four times as much as we will be using ourselves. The surplus will be returned to the grid."

Self-sufficient in energy consumption

In order to be even more self-sufficient in the energy supply, the building also uses large batteries. "This enables us to recover the energy we generate during the day from these batteries in the evening. As a result, we can become completely self-sufficient in our energy consumption. A possible power failure of the grid has no negative consequences for the storage of vulnerable medical products here. In fact, we are becoming an energy supplier because we can fully utilise this roof with solar panels. In the context of sustainability, this fits in perfectly with the energy transition that the government would like to see and that the business community will also go through.

Highest BREEAM score

All these measures have resulted in the highest BREEAM score ever achieved in the Netherlands and on a European scale, with an Outstanding of 98.48 percent. Van Erven: "This has now also been confirmed in a delivery certificate. A good score and my feeling tells me that it will be very difficult in the future to match this score for this type of property. Especially because the BREEAM requirements are becoming higher and higher."

Car store in start-up phase

Site manager Willem Boersbroek tells Logistiek's camera that the Autostore system is in a - what he calls - ramp-up phase. "In April we have enough volume to run the Autostore fully. We expect this system to accommodate all customers by the end of this year." According to Boersbroek, this goods-to-man picking system is the lifeline of this distribution centre. "In fact, all shipments and parcel shipments will leave the premises via the Autstore. Our goal is to bring stock from as many customers as possible into this system. However, that depends on the type of product and the product requirements."

180 picks per hour

At this moment Rhenus uses an Autostore system that is equipped with 19 robots. The system contains around 19,000 bins. "We can easily expand this system with additional robots. Also applies to the number of pick ports of which we now have three in use. We can do around 180 picks per gate per hour.

Floor must be 100 percent flat

According to the site manager, the floor turned out to be a crucial aspect of the installation of the Autstore. "It has to be 100 percent flat because the moment there is an unevenness in it, the whole system will become unbalanced and will no longer function properly.

Conscious choice for reach trucks

In addition to the Autostore, according to Van Erven, a conscious choice was made for reach trucks, whereas in the past, narrow-aisle trucks were used. "In our previous building, which we occupied 20 years ago, we used narrow-aisle trucks, but the order profile has changed so much over the years with a variety of pallets, many loose items and boxes that a lot of order picking has to take place in the aisles themselves. A narrow-aisle warehouse is not really suitable for this. That is too slow and inefficient." In the new DC, several order pickers can be active in one aisle. "This also offers the possibility of picking from ground level. That was a huge change for our people. We also had to train them extra for the use of extra means of transport, especially reach trucks, before we moved. Such a truck has no induction or rail guidance - as is the case with a narrow-aisle truck - and the operator remains seated at ground level. This makes a huge difference in the way a driver picks up a pallet and puts it away."