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Interview with Jungheinrich AG

Manufacturer's perspective on compact storage systems

We from WAGNER spoke with Christian Reichert, Project Manager Implementation Jungheinrich PowerCube at Jungheinrich AG, about fire protection, risks and protection concepts for compact storage systems. In the interview, he explains how manufacturer assess the risks in order to be able to offer adequate insurance cover in the event of a claim.

Fully automated, extremely compact systems have become an indispensable part of modern warehouse logistics. They guarantee 24/7 availability, uninterrupted delivery capability and optimal use of space and volume thanks to stackable containers. From your point of view as a manufacturer of such storage systems, what are the special features, benefits, but perhaps also challenges of these so-called compact storage systems?

A Compact Storage System is able to utilize the available space volume like no other form of container storage system. These container stores are also almost infinitely scalable and comparatively easy to expand at a later date.

In the case of the Jungheinrich PowerCube, the principle has even been taken to the extreme in the truest sense of the word compared with other systems on the market. A lower driving level for the shuttles allows the height of the container stacks above to be adapted to any roof shape, e.g. up to the peaks of a shed roof. Thus, the driving level of the shuttles remains the only part of the building volume that is not available as storage volume. In addition, the unique maximum height of 12 meters means that typical industrial buildings can be optimally utilized. There is no special requirement for the flatness of the building floor.

The shuttles can accommodate two containers and thus achieve minimum access times, with a max. payload per container of 50 kg.

The Jungheinrich PowerCube can be accessed in a stand-alone solution via directly connected workstations but also integrated via conveyor technology. The latter is achieved by specially developed containers of the Jungheinrich PowerCube, which can be used both in the Jungheinrich PowerCube and on conveyor technology. 

The Jungheinrich PowerCube is "THE solution" when storage volume is to be optimally utilized, whether stand-alone or as part of a highly complex, fully automated intralogistics system. Scalability and easy expandability allow perfect adaptation to the required performance, minimizing energy demand and maximizing sustainability.

The choice of fire protection system determines whether the advantage of efficient space utilization can be maximized. Therefore, the engineering of a Jungheinrich PowerCube system must include the topic of fire protection.

You mention the topic of fire protection. There are a wide variety of fire protection solutions and extinguishing processes that are used in warehouse logistics. How do you assess the respective approaches and solutions from the manufacturer's point of view?

I would like to discuss only the three best-known fire protection solutions.

Certainly the most widespread fire protection solution is the classic sprinkler system, the aim of which is to prevent the spread of fire at the initial stage. In the case of compact storage systems it is possible to design them as ceiling sprinklers. This method is the one most commonly used for compact storage systems, but recently the question of its proven effectiveness in any type of fire has been increasingly raised.

Due to the required installation space and distances to be kept, this solution prevents an optimal use of space.

Another extinguishing method is based on the use of CO2. The disadvantage of this method is that CO2 not only robs the fire of its livelihood, and therefore its use in areas where people are present is associated with a safety risk.

The process of oxygen reduction or inertization is not a fire extinguishing but rather a fire prevention system. The oxygen content in a defined spatial area is reduced to such an extent that a fire cannot occur. The remaining oxygen content is sufficiently high that people are not endangered.

Are there any fire protection solutions that you recommend from a manufacturer's point of view for a compact storage system and if so, why?

There is no standard fire protection solution for compact storage system. Influencing factors such as local guidelines, insurer specifications, type of stored goods, structural conditions, existing expandable systems, etc. lead to individual fire protection solutions.Nevertheless, there is one process that has the character of a Swiss Army knife for fire protection - oxygen reduction or inerting. This process stands out from the others primarily because, when it is used, a fire cannot start in the first place, thus protecting people and property.

As one could gather from the press, you are now planning the first Jungheinrich PowerCube project for M. Schönenberger AG in Switzerland. Are there any special features that a Jungheinrich PowerCube customer should pay attention to in the course of the installation or are there any recommendations from your side to the customers, e.g. what to pay attention to already in the planning/construction phase?

As already mentioned at the beginning, the Jungheinrich PowerCube can be adapted quite easily to the most diverse installation situations and conditions, so that nothing in particular needs to be mentioned here. 

The many national and international inquiries we have received since the presentation at LogiMAT 2022 show us that the topic of fire protection is handled in the most diverse ways and that there is no standard fire protection solution. I have already mentioned the main influencing factors before. 

As a rule, it will be a matter of identifying and implementing the most economical solution. All influencing factors must be identified and evaluated for this purpose, including the compact storage system and its efficient use of space. Therefore, it is not so much a recommendation as a must that the planning and construction of a compact storage system includes the fire protection solution.


Automated compact storage systems require innovative fire protection solutions. Active fire prevention protects operators from the consequences of a fire. This ensures delivery and operational capability at all times. We look forward to your task for innovative fire protection and support you in the implementation of your protection goals.

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