18.10.19 - STOPA expands its tower storage product group

STOPA’s slogan at this year’s Blechexpo, “Next Level”, applies especially to its new tower storage system, STOPA Tower ECO Plus. The manufacturer will be presenting the system, an expansion of its product group, live at the trade fair.

The big advantage for customers who invest in the STOPA Tower ECO Plus is that it is a low-cost way to get started in sheet metal storage. Moreover, it provides a high degree of flexibility thanks to the option to add modules at any time if the need for more capacity arises. STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH, based in Achern-Gamshurst, has made provision for the many requirements that can arise from increased turnover quantities. The options include automating the system, expanding it by means of a second storage tower, attaching a chain/pallet conveyer with simple bolting or adding a transport cart.

The basic version, consisting of a storage tower and a lifting beam, is already prepared for the addition of prefabricated mechanical components. For example, holes are provided in the beam for attaching additional sensors. Another major advantage is the system’s high speed in comparison with other tower storage systems. In this respect the STOPA Tower ECO Plus performs almost as well as large-scale storage systems.

Another special feature is the system control panel, which STOPA has built into the switch cabinet. Users thus do not need any additional hardware. Moreover, STOPA offers warehouse management software that can communicate with the user’s ERP system. Customers who require a simple stock management system will find it already in the basic version.

The system used by STOPA to expand its tower storage product range is designed to meet the needs of all companies, from small to medium-sized. The investment costs are based on fair market prices, giving users an especially affordable way to get started. STOPA, a TRUMPF partner for many years, always delivers premium quality.

The system uses a lifting beam to store and remove sheets, which are on pallets. The material is picked up and deposited on a storage platform beneath the beam, which can be either mobile or stationary. The mobile version allows more shelf bays to be used because the lowest storage locations are also accessible. Instead of a storage platform, a rail-bound transport cart can be installed, which is then supplied by the lifting beam. A low-cost alternative to a transport cart would be a chain/pallet conveyer which can travel at a speed of twelve metres per minute. This allows pallets loaded with sheets, for example finished and semi-finished parts, to be moved over short distances from storage to processing machines and then returned. There are no other ways to connect machines directly to the storage system.

In addition to the STOPA Tower ECO Plus, the trade fair team will be showing other storage systems offered by the company. An example is the VARIOCART, an autonomous mobile transport system that serves as a connecting element in sheet metal production. In combination with the VARIOCART, bulk sheet metal storage systems can be developed to create production-linked logistics centres. The free-moving VARIOCART can carry out all internal transport without the need for the previously indispensable rail system, enabling all processing areas to be interlinked.

Another highlight is the STOPA app, which automatically reports malfunctions, thus helping to hold downtimes to a minimum. This is important when it comes to integrating sheet metal storage systems into Industry 4.0 environments where, in addition to sheet metal handling, information flow is an important challenge.

At Stand 1306 in Hall 1 at Blechexpo, STOPA will be devoting 50 square metres of its total 90 square metres to exhibits. Here it will present the STOPA Tower ECO Plus with a storage tower measuring 5.5 metres in height. Able to handle sheets in XF format, the system is equipped with a lifting beam, a chain/pallet conveyer and a transport cart.

14.10.19 - New apprentices at STOPA

Young people set off on careers at STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH in Achern-Gamshurst And they’re off! Nine young people have started out on careers with the second-largest company in Gamshurst, STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH.

Alexander Stumpp, Dagukan Sai Yaman, Finn Hensel, Finn Korte, Leon Heymer, Niklas Schaufler and René Maier have begun apprenticeships in mechatronics. Leonard Jöst has set out to be a construction mechanic and Hannes Seiler will become a technical product designer. The young apprentices were each welcomed with a handshake from Edgar Börsig, one of the two managing directors of STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH, who wished them lots of fun and the best of success. High achievement is the best path towards a future with the company, Börsig said. Last year, for example, Matthias Oberle was the best mechatronics engineer in the state and received several honours and awards. According to Börsig, Oberle will stay on with us and take part in a dual study programme. HR development officer Stephan Hess, who is in charge of apprentice training, is happy we have so many apprentices. With the nine new ones STOPA now has more than ever before, he points out. In all, 25 young people are currently employed in the three apprenticeship years, and Hess hopes that almost all will stay with STOPA.

Photo: R. Brunner

The nine apprentices at STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH in Achern-Gamshurst along with Edgar Börsig, managing director (left), and Stephan Hess, head of training and HR development (right).

11.10.19 - stolzer car parking systems at EXPO REAL in Munich

We all know how it is: a trade fair is like a catwalk. You show yourself, your services and your products in a favourable light. But a trade fair also shows whether there’s actually any demand for these products and services – and whether companies can offer the solutions that people can get enthusiastic about. The reactions of the visitors to the fully automatic stolzer car parking systems presented at the STOPA stand revealed the only answer to that: yes, we can.

STOPA attended EXPO REAL in Munich as a co-exhibitor at the stand of the Ortenau economic region. The stolzer fully automatic car parking systems were presented as part of an interactive program, already implemented projects were illustrated in detail, and planning tools were shown.

Many of the discussions with investors focused on the future of urban centres. Ongoing development of traffic infrastructures is of major importance here. In many city centres, building conventional car parks is now almost impossible. The space-saving stolzer car parking systems represent a real solution for the future of city centres. And not only that, the quality of the properties affects the entire investment climate.

EXPO REAL was the perfect opportunity to not only make stolzer car parking systems better known, but also raise the awareness of investors. Early involvement in the planning phase of a construction project has a very positive effect – on the price/performance ratio and on flexibility when both planning and constructing fully automatic car parking systems.

We’re looking forward to the next show.


stolzer a brand of STOPA

29.08.19 - Driverless parking or fully automatic car park?

In June 2019, the world's first fully automated and driverless parking system received traffic authority approval. Inside this car park in Stuttgart, Germany, suitably equipped vehicles now drive to the intended parking space and back again, without a driver and at a speed of 6 kilometres an hour. The technology is impressive. However, it prompts the question of whether systems like this can solve the traffic problems of the future.

Driverless parking inside a car park sounds like science fiction – no more beads of sweat forming during parking, no more dark corners, no more dodgy areas to be crossed between the car and the lift. And the fight for the last parking space seems to have been won for good. That's great news. But what problem is actually solved by driverless parking? If you look at it more closely, it's a luxury problem. Because the real challenge to be faced is this: how do we tackle increasing congestion in city centres? How do we alleviate the shortage of parking spaces? Where do we put millions of parked vehicles? How can we really take the strain off cities while also putting an end to those nervous walks through gloomy car parks?

The daily search for a parking space is really just a symptom of a much bigger structural challenge. The number of people living in cities is exploding: in 1975 some 37 percent of the world's population lived in metropolises, but by 2009 the figure was already 50 percent – and still rising fast. And as demand rises, so do prices, of course: for homes, for offices and also for land to build on. Those who can't afford to live near the city centre have to commute. Every day means going into the city to work, and then out again. These daily migrations of huge numbers of people are handled by public transport and private vehicles. For people travelling as individuals, there are fewer and fewer parking spaces available. So where do the cars go? There are fully automatic car parks that offer 50 percent more spaces than conventional ones. The technology behind them has already been in use for many years all over the world: in New York, Madrid, Istanbul. These car park systems are built by, for example, STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH of Achern, Germany.

We need to think about how we want to live our lives in our cities in future. Reducing the masses of parked vehicles in city centres would free up space for new things: parking areas could be transformed into green spaces, playgrounds or leisure amenities. The quality of life in cities would soar. The idea of vehicles parking themselves inside a car park without drivers is fascinating, but – as already stated – it doesn't solve the parking problem in our cities. To cope with a global dearth of parking spaces, it's the car parks we should be automating, not the cars.


Sources: STOPA


22.08.19 - Jersey City opts for fully-automated car parking systems from Achern in southern Germany.

Jersey City, 2020: A new residential and commercial building is currently being built on Oakland Avenue in Jersey City – and it will have a fully-automated car parking system with 181 parking spaces. The system with the stolzer brand name is designed and manufactured by STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH.

The company received the good news about the contract a few days ago. This is a resounding success for STOPA and its American cooperation partner Automotion (APS) – and still more proof of the convincing advantages of the sophisticated technology from the Achern-based company. The car parking system will considerably relieve the future parking situation on Oakland Avenue. Compared with conventional car parks, fully-automatic car parking systems can accommodate twice as many vehicles on the same area.

Residents in detached houses and blocks of flats in the area around Oakland Avenue in Jersey City, have been living next door to tradesmen, workshops and warehouses for decades. This is typical mixed area utilisation, well known in American cities. However, the face of the Oakland Avenue neighbourhood will change dramatically over the next few years – and the keyword is consolidation. Existing areas will be used more efficiently. A 15-storey commercial and residential building with a considerable floor area is being built on Oakland Avenue – and local residents are really worried that the parking problem will get worse. However, the 181 parking spaces of the fully-automated system by STOPA will certainly ease the situation, at least here.

The universal car parking system, auto-UP for short, will be used in the building. Auto-UP extends over three levels and vehicles will be transferred to three transfer rooms. Two fully-automated storage and retrieval units are planned. They will convey vehicles safely and reliably to and from their parking places via the relevant transfer rooms. Drivers can also exit the building easily in their cars, because their vehicles are already facing in the direction of travel. The fully-automatic car parking systems from STOPA are characterised by long working lives, high levels of operational reliability and low maintenance costs. They are an investment for the future, not only in terms of total lifetime costs, but also for urban planners, architects, investors – and the future of our cities. With its stolzer brand name, STOPA is looking forward to the start of the project in Jersey City.

stolzer is a brand of STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH and stands for our Parking Systems division.


Image source: STOPA; Pixabay

30.07.19 - Headland Partners with STOPA Storage Solutions

With the rise of Industry 4.0, manufacturing technology is changing at a rapid pace, transforming all stages in the manufacturing process. Storage is one of the areas affected – no longer static and passively occupying space, it now plays a more active role in the manufacturing process thanks to automation.

Headland Machinery have historically offered a range of automated storage solutions for office, factory floor and warehouse functionality but have recognised the need for further niche solutions being made available for customers.

In keeping with this, Headland have announced their partnership with Stopa. Established in 1963, with its headquarters in Achern, Stopa is a leading German manufacturer of storage solutions for sheet metal and long-span goods, as well as automated parking systems in Europe.

Their storage solutions will be joining Headland’s storage division offerings, alongside renowned storage solutions partner Hanel.

George Yammouni, CEO Headland Machinery, finalised the deal this week with Michael Reichlin, Head of Sales and Marketing for STOPA.  More

15.07.19 - STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH hosts training course in storage technology for international partners in July 2019

Spreading knowledge and expertise is a win-win for all involved. Fostering a deeper understanding of technology and the ways in which it can be used leads to more effective communication between partners. It was this line of thought that led STOPA to invite its sales partners to attend a training course on the current state of technology in automated storage processes.

There were many different topics on the agenda, ranging from systems installation (tower and large-scale storage systems) to service. Great interest was shown in the event and partners came from far and wide to attend: from Italy, Belgium, Russia, USA, India, Australia and South Africa. The training course took place over four days, during which the participants visited reference plants in the area. This allowed them to observe the storage systems for long-span goods and sheet metal of customers in the region. They visited companies in Germany including Doll in Oppenau and Metallbau Früh in Freiburg as well as Lohr in Duppigheim, France. The training course also provided the participants with the opportunity to discuss continued collaboration and highlight the current requirements and special features of their respective markets. Such valuable information means STOPA can adapt its technology to specific market needs.

The participants were also able to enjoy some of the culinary delights on offer in the region. STOPA would like to thank all the partners who attended for their commitment and positive response and looks forward to holding further similar international events in the future.

28.06.19 - STOPA present for the first time at Parkopolis – the International Conference of Parking and Mobility

At the same time as the Mobility Orientation Law (LOM) was being passed, parking and mobility experts presented the parking solutions of the future at the 14th Parkopolis trade show. For two days, the focus was placed, in particular, on networked driving, autonomous vehicles and the significance of the public space for mobility. With 2,526 visitors, experts and local authority representatives, the conference was a complete success

At the same time as the Mobility Orientation Law (LOM) was being passed, parking and mobility experts presented the parking solutions of the future at the 14th Parkopolis trade show. For two days, the focus was placed, in particular, on networked driving, autonomous vehicles and the significance of the public space for mobility. With 2,526 visitors, experts and local authority representatives, the conference was a complete success. For STOPA, this was a first appearance which allowed it to make some extremely promising contacts. There was a genuine interest on the part of visitors in automatic parking solutions from a German manufacturer. In particular, the many project-related inquiries from major French cities and the Côte d’Azur revealed the increasing need for automatic parking solutions. There was a lively discussion about how investments in fully automatic parking systems can be made profitable. STOPA is convinced that the quality of the products is always the key factor. This opinion is backed up by the installed systems, which have been operating smoothly and without problems for twenty years.

At the same time, Parkopolis was the first joint event attended in tandem with the French partner company LIFTSYSTEME. In the future, the company will represent STOPA in France in the area of fully automatic car park systems. 

24.06.19 - STOPA Tower Storage System at the centre of sheet metal processing

By investing in a STOPA TOWER Eco Tower Storage System, Winkhaus, a German company which makes building fittings, has improved reliability when handling metal sheets, and so increased its efficiency. Other advantages include, for example, space-saving storage options, the ability to access blank sheets quickly, reduced material damage and a more orderly system.

Uwe Birwe, a qualified engineer who heads Industrial Engineering at Aug. Winkhaus GmbH & Co. KG in Telgte, Germany, is standing in front of a tower storage system that’s six and a half metres tall, four metres long and three metres wide: “We process only metal panels of medium format to cover our product range. So we don’t need a storage system for large-format sheets, and we wouldn’t have considered it anyway in view of our tight space situation.” Just the installation of the compact tower, which had to fit into the available space with millimetre accuracy, was a challenge in itself. The STOPA TOWER Eco, designed by STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH in Achern-Gamshurst, meets all the expectations that Winkhaus, as a leading supplier of top-quality window technology, door locking systems and access management, had placed in its investment.

Download reference report (PDF)

17.06.19 - STOPA WMS 4.0 supports economical use of materials

By investing in a STOPA COMPACT II sheet metal storage system with more than 369 storage locations for aluminium sheets, the steel wholesaler Eisen Schmitt, Alois Schmitt GmbH & Co. KG in Karlsruhe has considerably streamlined production at its St. Ingbert plant.

Measuring 22 metres in length, 11 metres in height and 5.7 metres in width, the STOPA COMPACT II automatic storage system is equipped with the STOPA WMS 4.0 warehouse management system, which communicates with the higher-level ERP system and with the sawing systems to be supplied.

STOPA Anlagenbau GmbH in Achern-Gamshurst has developed interfaces to ensure efficient communication between the storage management software STOPA WMS 4.0, the ERP system of the operator, and the waste optimisation software of the sawing systems. The transport jobs are automatically sent to the saws via the interfaces. There are no manual inputs and the error rate is reduced. Frictionless communication between the systems has helped the company to optimise its processes considerably.

Shorter cycle times

Deliveries are recorded at the incoming goods station and are booked in the ERP system, which transfers the information to STOPA WMS 4.0. The WMS creates storage orders and provides empty pallets using its search function. The operator of the storage system loads the raw material at the incoming goods station onto the load carrier selected by the WMS. This is done using the precise coordinates into which the pallet is divided, as specified by the software. The operator then releases the load carrier to store the materials. The WMS transfers the data of the transport order to the inventory and assigns it to the relevant pallet. The pallets have a maximum usable surface area of 1,550 x 3,050 millimetres. If one of them is not able to hold the assigned quantity for storage, the employee orders additional empty pallets and allocates partial quantities manually.

Customer orders are assigned to one of the saws, which cut components in a size range from approx. 40 x 20 up to 3,000 x 1,500 millimetres. The WMS translates the specifications received from the ERP system to the data format of the waste optimisation software and saves them in the incoming goods directory. In addition, this file contains a list of all stocks with the corresponding materials.

Before nesting, the waste optimisation software assigns the orders to the inventory of the storage system. The software ensures that parts are nested closely together, maximising the use of space. The WMS specifies the required number of pallets for removing goods from storage, depending on the quantity of cut sheets ordered. A higher priority is given to load carriers with leftover sheets in order to reduce their stocks. While the WMS initiates the removal orders, the waste optimisation software transmits the cutting data to the selected saw. The operator takes the material from the scissor lift table using a ceiling crane. As there are often several pieces of remaining material on a pallet, it identifies the sheet to be removed using a barcode label which is applied after each saw cut. In addition to material specifications and dimensions, the label contains the batch number and plain text.

The leftover sheets resulting at the sawing systems, which are always rectangular in shape, are placed back in storage by Eisen Schmitt. The waste optimisation software creates files from their quantity and sizes, which the WMS reports to the ERP system and uses to create storage orders. If leftover sheets need to be stacked on a pallet before storage, which is possible up to a loading height of 165 millimetres, the employee selects the load carriers based on a suggestion list created by the WMS, at the same time aiming for homogeneous storage. Since the pallets are divided into fields, the WMS knows exactly where individual cut sheets are located on the load carriers.

The sheet metal storage system works around the clock with an annual handling capacity of approx. 450 metric tons. At Eisen Schmitt, the automatic storage system is equipped with two scissor lift tables. One of them is used purely for outgoing goods, the other as an incoming/outgoing goods station.

Due to the more compact design of its twin-mast storage and retrieval unit (SRU), the STOPA COMPACT II has two additional storage spaces per shelf block compared with the predecessor series. The solution also has the benefit of individually adjustable acceleration values for the storage and retrieval unit, which can be used to prevent slippage of the material, as well as intelligent energy management.