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SEW Eurodrive
Case Study

SEW-EURODRIVE thrilled by Hanel’s automated storage and retrieval system for faster order fulfillment


Accuracy, reliability, and responsiveness to customer demands are critical to SEW-EURODRIVE’s success, a leading producer of modular components for various industries. However, the company needed a space-saving automated storage and picking solution to address market changes and planned growth. Facing the challenges of storing items both small and large, as well as protecting goods from dust, Fred Pizzicara, National Procurement Manager at SEW-EURODRIVE, contacted Headland Technology to provide an intralogistics solution that meets their unique needs. Headland Technology suggested a Hanel automated storage and retrieval system to improve efficiency, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness across SEW-EURODRIVE’s warehouses.

About SEW-EURODRIVE: SEW-EURODRIVE is a global drive technology manufacturer that started in Australia in 1982 with a unique approach to manufacturing modular components. Over the past four decades, SEW-EURODRIVE Australia has become an integral part of the global SEW-EURODRIVE group. As SEW-EURODRIVE continues to expand worldwide, the focus remains on developing innovative drive solutions that power the Australian industry today and into the future. They offer local support for industries and have expanded globally with 17 production plants and 89 Drive Technology Centers. With approximately 180 employees in Melbourne and approximately 320 employees Australia-wide, SEW-EURODRIVE has expanded its presence significantly. They focus on close collaboration with their customers to develop innovative customised drive solutions for the Australian market. For more information about SEW click the link below:

SEWs challenge:

SEW-EURODRIVE encountered significant space challenges in recent years, so a decision was made to upgrade their facilities to meet ongoing demands and to also include a streamlined approach on process flow and safe working operations. SEW-EURODRIVE’s continuous growth journey required optimal space utilisation when configuring their warehouses as well as smart and efficient inventory system. In addition, the solution would need to integrate with SEW-EURODRIVE’s current ERP system and reduce bottlenecks throughout the warehouse. Knowing that a thoughtfully planned warehouse layout can decrease travel distances and increase warehouse efficiency, warehouses should tackle obstacles that arise as they expand in size and stock variety. By implementing automation, warehouses can maximise capacity and streamline operations for the increasing number of short-stock-keeping units (SKU). Another challenge was the high complexity of a variety of parts from simple screws to sensitive electronics. Another aspect was that the system needed to be an open-source firmware, without the need for third-party software and licenses.

The solution

Headland Technology collaborated closely with SEW to find an automated storage system that would address all their challenges. The solution was Hanel’s leading Lean lift technology, an automated vertical lift machine (VLM) from Germany. The Lean-Lift provided a high level of flexibility allowing safe and clean storage of all their parts and importantly seamless integration into SEW’s SAP system. Thus, enabling efficiency gains, improved accuracy, and better safety across SEW-EURODRIVE’s warehouses and production facilities. The collaborative partnership between SEW and Headland resulted in an optimised storage solution with long-term viability.

Smooth installation of Hanel’s automated storage system

Headland’s OEM-certified and trained engineers efficiently installed the initial Hanel Lean Lifts within a month, ensuring a seamless operation. Regarding user-friendliness, Paul, the Senior Store Person, said it took him just half a day to learn and understand how to operate the Hanel automated storage system.  He also noted that while only certain trained people can input data into the Hanel Lean Lifts for storage purposes, anyone else can simply use the system to retrieve items from the shelves and take stock as needed.

When asking Fred, National Procurement Manager, about the integration of the Hanel with their SAP system he elaborated that with the assistance of their SEW counterparts in Germany, the SAP system at SEW is now integrated with the Hanel system, facilitating smooth communication between the two platforms. All without the need for any middleware and licenses.

Fred from SEW EURODRIVE also underscored that his decision to choose Headland Technology stemmed from the presence of experience and nice to deal with staff at Headland. He highlighted that the recruitment of great employees plays a pivotal role in driving the success of companies like Headland.

Achieving remarkable efficiency gains since integrating the Hanel Lean-Lift system

Benefits: The Hanel Lean-Lift automated storage and retrieval system delivered significant benefits to SEW EURODRIVE. By utilising the vertical space in its warehouse far more efficiently, SEW was able to reduce its storage footprint by over 80% while still accommodating growth. The modular, customisable lifts allowed their storage capacity to expand and adapt easily to changing needs. The integration with SAP provided real-time inventory visibility and helped minimise picking errors to near zero. Overall warehouse operations efficiency improved fivefold, reducing product losses and labour requirements dramatically.

Conclusion: Implementing the technologically advanced yet flexible Hanel Lean-Lift solution integrated with SAP has enabled SEW-EURODRIVE to set the benchmark for smart, efficient warehouse operations in their industry. The systems have optimised storage density, inventory accuracy and productivity while remaining adaptable and easy to expand as the business grows. SEW now operates as a leading warehouse that maximises output in a minimal footprint to fully support its leadership in the competitive market.

After seeing the huge benefits of the Hänel Lean Lifts, SEW now has 14 Hanel Lean-Lifts installed at their site in Tullamarine and plans to add more as their site grows. With increasing customer demand for quick order fulfilment, SEW is in a great position for future growth and efficiency.

Would you like to future-proof warehouse operations?

If you would like to partner with us to help future-proof your warehouses by introducing a new era of data-driven and flexible automated storage solutions that deliver exceptional customer value. Contact Headland’s automated warehouse experts today.


Hänel Lean-Lift Standards in automated materials handling and warehousing

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Our Experts

Christopher Hauck

Christopher Hauck

Business Unit Leader - Automated Storage Division

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Timon Ensslin

Timon Ensslin

Applications Engineer Storage Automation

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