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Dürkopp completes fourth phase of multi-million pound automated garment sortation project for retailer Next

Dürkopp Fördertechnik, the market leader in the provision of garment conveying and sortation equipment, has completed a further extension of their automated sortation system for Next Group PLC. The system is operating at Next’s national hanging garment distribution centre near Pontefract in West Yorkshire.

The latest investment involves the installation of 23 additional Pickbuffers and associated conveyor connections which can store a total of 90,000 extra single items. The Pickbuffers enable automatic storage and single item picking for both e-commerce and store orders.

Annette Sommer, General Manager of Durkopp UK, said: "The system is used for all of Next’s hanging garment picking and due to the growth of Next’s e-commerce business we have been asked to extend the system we originally installed in 2006. We have also installed a special fast track lane to accommodate late orders and meet Next’s delivery promise of ‘Order by 9 p.m. and have it delivered next day’".

Covering some 50,000m², Dürkopp designed the whole concept to take stock from an adjacent high bay warehouse for feeding into the automated forward pick-face and sortation process. Garments are selected here for shipping to Next’s 520 UK stores, international stores and to service the company’s growing volume of catalogue and Internet sales.

Every garment is individually tracked throughout the system using Dürkopp’s RFID controlled "Rolladapter System", which carries unique product information in real time for tracking, picking and sorting. The Rolladapter enables individual hanging items to be transported along an overhead conveyor system from induction to dispatch. The Rolladapter is automatically removed at the end of the process for re-use on incoming stock, keeping operational costs down.

As Europe’s leading specialists in automated garment storage and sortation systems, Dürkopp Fördertechnik has designed and installed a variety of systems for a number of European retailers including Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis, ASDA, Inditex/Zara, H&M and Debenhams. In addition, the firm is working on a near €2 million system for Glasgow-based ACS Ltd, Europe’s largest formal dress hire group.

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