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Second life of a sorter

At the Popken Fashion Group, durable technologies meet the high demands of sustainability and cost-effectiveness.

Fashion is supposed to bring joy. Delivering it requires not only a nose for design trends but also a reliable order-processing system. When shoppers find clothing they really like, many seem to want it right away. Popken Fashion combines exceptional customer service with highly efficient fulfillment. One example is the company’s policy of processing and replacing returns within 24 hours. Such a quick turnaround places high demands on any logistics system, but especially during a pandemic. Popken Fashion experienced a huge spike in online sales during the Corona lockdown early last year but was well equipped to manage the logistics challenge.

New and repackaged goods reach the new building via a tunnel. At the heart of the operations is a Interroll crossbelt sorter with 150 destinations. The sorter was previously used for six years by a logistics company in southern Germany. The entire system was dismantled and, with support from Interroll, adapted to the new facility. The unproblematic reuse of the sorter underscores the long lifecycle and adaptability of Interroll products.

Prior to its final installation, the sorter was tested in a facility in Oldenburg. All components underwent a thorough check, and parts were replaced wherever necessary. The system was also adapted to meet new requirements. Interroll was responsible not only for implementing the retrofitting, but also for tailoring the design to meet the customer’s requirements, by providing modular elements with an interplay between used, refurbished and brand-new elements.

Innovation team

Since 1988, the group’s logistics have been managed in a central warehouse spanning more than 55,000 square meters. A new adjacent hall was added in 2020 to further optimize the group’s intralogistics for its rapidly growing online business, with state-of-the-art solutions for capacity, productivity and error avoidance. A focus was also placed on efficiency and the careful use of resources.

Logistics experts from the Popken Fashion’s subsidiary PFG Logistics teamed with automation specialists from ADITOR, conveying engineers from REMA TEC and Interroll to implement a tailor-made solution to handle the group’s future growth.

Ready for the future

The latest RollerDrive series (EC5000), for instance, is installed 680 times. With three performance variants, the series offers an ideal combination of power and cost efficiency. RollerDrive, conveyor rollers, controls, power supply and additional products are perfectly tuned to one another. The highly functional modular system enables such flexibility. Only Interroll rollers and RollerDrive are used throughout the facility, right down to the gravity roller conveyors. All existing, adapted and new components function in perfect harmony: up to 7,200 parts move through the sorter per hour at 1.7 meters per second.

The new hall has room for two additional levels. If need, a second, pre-assembled sorter is ready to go into action, and like the other one, it’s a perfect fit. Fashion trends at Popken may be here today and gone tomorrow, but the rollers, belts and system parts that carry the goods are there to stay. That’s good for business, and good for planning the future.

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