Load securing supports sophisticated logistics in wood processing

Reading time: approx. 3 minutes
Text: Juliane Gringer
Photos: Kellerholz

The KELLERHOLZ company processes 140,000 cubic metres of wood in a space of just 1.8 hectares every year. The materials are delivered just in time, thanks to sophisticated logistics. The iGurt from BPW not only helps with load securing, it also saves time.

KELLERHOLZ works on a space of barely 1.8 hectares in Lichtenau-Scherzheim, Baden-Wuerttemburg. Every year, 140,000 cubic metres of wood are cut to size at the location, to be turned into pallets later – factories with this amount of output usually have ten times as much space available. The KELLERHOLZ team turns its handicap into an advantage: “We generally process the wood within a few days: it is delivered, we sort and saw it and then quickly take it directly to the customer, where it is processed,” explains Benedikt Jakesch, Head of Logistics. “The fact that we are so quick puts us more or less in the Champions League.”

Wood from regional forests

CEO Jörg Keller took over the factory in 2004, rebuilding and modernising it from the ground up. At the time, no more than 15,000 cubic metres were processed each year. The company maintained and developed the excellent customer relationships with the pallet factories in the region, who value the quality of the goods and speed of KELLERHOLZ. The wood also comes directly from the region: from the Black Forest, the Palatinate Forest, the Rhine Valley, Alsace and Vosges. Here, trees are felled with heavy machinery, the branches are removed and the trunks loaded onto wood transporters. The batches are selected and processed according to the required cut. During the sawing process, there is a digital determination as to where the sections are best taken from each part so that the volume of the wood is optimally used with the highest product quality. A 17-axle sawing line creates the required shape and finally a mitre saw cuts the wood to pallet length. Sawmill residue is processed into clamping plates, or used as bark in horticulture or wood chips for heating.

Load securing for wood transport

The fleet has also grown with the location: KELLERHOLZ operates ten of its own semi-trailers, all of which are equipped with BPW Axles. The cut pallet sections are loaded onto the trailer with a forklift. “With the proper technology, the almost cube-shaped packages are loaded on the vehicle within a quarter of an hour,” says Benedikt Jakesch. Thanks to the iGurt from BPW, the subsequent load securing is also fast and safe: this smart securing system ensures that the lashing straps are always correctly attached, as the display shows the tightening force even during the tightening process. The correct preload is continuously digitally monitored during travel. If a lashing strap were to come loose, the vehicle driver would receive a warning message on their smartphone from the iGurt app.

»The Swiss border guards always wave us through, because they know that we work conscientiously. That also means that the load is correctly secured via the preload indicators, which the iGurt records«

Benedikt Jakesch, Head of Logistics at KELLERHOLZ

“We also deliver to Switzerland and normally, the vehicles are always checked at the border, in particular if they are loaded with wood,” Jakesch tells us. “But the Swiss boarder guards always wave us through, because they know that we work conscientiously. They can see from the preload indicators which the iGurt records that our load is correctly secured.” If the straps are clearly visible, the guards assume that they are also used correctly. “That’s a bonus,” says Jakesch. “Because if we aren’t stopped at the border, that means we save about 45-60 minutes. That would be precisely the hour that could put our just-in-time delivery at risk, which could mean a problem for the customer because they can’t supply their machine as planned.”

However, he does not only consider the iGurt to be a reliable companion in day-to-day business in the transport industry, but also as a tool which shows the world that the company has its finger on the pulse: “We always want to be a step ahead and future-orientated. The iGurt is an excellent addition to the KELLERHOLZ portfolio in that respect.”

Wood as a precious raw material

Wood is a popular raw material – and it is becoming increasingly rare: climate change is making the forests very dry. This is relevant to KELLERHOLZ, even though the company tends to use more C and D qualities for cutting its Euro pallets. “Nonetheless, we face the challenge that we have to rely on certain types of wood,” explains Jakesch. “A sawmill cannot simply say, ‘if we run out of spruce trees, we’ll just use beech.'” Of course, it’s also an emotional issue: “We are out in the forests every day and we see how they are suffering due to the changing circumstances. That affects us of course”

»We are out in the forests every day and we see how they are suffering due to the changing circumstances. That affects us of course.«

Benedikt Jakesch, Head of Logistics at KELLERHOLZ

As a company, KELLERHOLZ aims to promote climate protection by making residual wood which is created during processing available as biomass. “It can be used to decarbonise heating technology and save gas and diesel burners.” Furthermore, KELLERHOLZ itself only travels short distances to customers. “If we use our own fleet, the journeys are defined as factory transport and we are not allowed to take goods from third parties. But we try to prevent empty running through smart connections in our journeys to and from the customer.” Jakesch wants more transparency and reconsideration: “Lot’s of things are still done in the transport sector because that’s the way they have always been done. It’s about time that we start to rethink things and bid farewell to old habits.”

Drive forward a desire for alternatives

Alternative vehicle drives are also on the mind of the Head of Logistics. “We do a lot of commuting, they can be used perfectly there,” Jakesch explains. The routes are defined, the loading points precisely planned. He has calculated everything exactly and knows which load infrastructure KELLERHOLZ needs and the tractor units which can be considered for this. However, he is regretful that the costs for battery-powered electric vehicles are still to high: “We rely on support programmes, but they are taking their time.” Politics is creating too many obstacles in his opinion. “We had so many opportunities to drive more ecologically and economically with electric batteries or hydrogen. But the applications we made for support almost a year ago remain unanswered. And of course you can’t order before the allocation decision is there. It has to move more quickly to be put into practice expediently.”
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