Projects and references

Helgoland – shelving in the sea

It's not every day that we have projects like this at kaiserkraft. One hundred crates and stacking containers and shelving in a customised design for special warehouse equipment. The location was even more unusual: an island in the middle of the sea – Helgoland.

The project

The “Nordsee Ost” windpark, which was commissioned in 2014 by RWE Innogy, is located 35 km to the north-west of the island of Helgoland. The cost for looking after the 48 wind power plants is comparatively high compared to the cost of handling land-based wind turbines, and cannot always be planned easily.

Even though an individual wind power plant usually only requires servicing two to four times a year, it is still necessary to travel to the wind park every day – providing the weather allows. To avoid longer trips to mainland harbours (57 km to Cuxhaven or 115 km to Bremerhaven), a base at sea was required.

RWE Innogy ler
RWE Innogy ler

This problem was solved in cooperation with the council on Helgoland. The fully renovated south harbour of the island became home to a large operations building. The invitation to tender for equipping the warehouse there was won by kaiserkraft.

The challenge

Equipping a service and operation station like this with professionally structured warehouse equipment is a demanding task that can barely be mastered by specialist companies even under normal circumstances. Therefore, the challenge was a much greater one for a warehouse in the middle of the sea.

In this case, there was another special feature: The station was to be used by two different companies in equal part. On the one hand, there are the employees of the operating company – RWE Innogy – who primarily focus on keeping the foundations in order, and, on the other hand, the specialists working for the turbine manufacturer Senvion SE, who look after the actual wind power systems – the “windmills”.

kaiserkraft rose to the challenge. “We were delighted with this order and not only due to the volume involved,” says kaiserkraft regional sales manager Thorsten Oest. “Wind power fits in very well with our commitment to the area of sustainability. In addition, the more unique the requirements and the ideas that the customer has, the greater the potential for development and improvement is for us. We benefit from the dialogue with customers, suppliers and employees that results from this.”

kaiserkraft needed four and half months for the Helgoland project – from initial planning to final acceptance by the customer in June 2014. In total, ten employees were active on the island, including specialists from the SCHULTE warehouse technology suppliers who contributed special expertise here.

The implementation

The two-storey building for the service and operations station on Helgoland has a floor area of 1,200 square metres, half of which houses changing rooms and bathrooms, offices, common rooms and conference rooms as well as the control room for the wind park. A total of 50 employees work in the building.

A 600 m² warehouse was built in the other half. Due to the special requirements, when work started, the room was first divided into two separate warehouse units by SCHULTE and kaiserkraft. They were separated from each other using mesh fencing, sliding doors and locking systems. The technicians at the corresponding companies have keys that enable them to access their own specific depot.

The warehouse personnel have full access to both units and can supply the technicians quickly and correctly by using a special output system. The equipment used for this includes two service hatches and seven double door cupboards. Quick order picking is enabled by the use of 200 large volume Euro stacking containers (60 x 40 cm) and approx. 400 open fronted storage bins.

The (boltless) 5-metre high shelving system has 700 shelves from the MULTIplus 150 system (150 kg max. shelf load with 25 mm edge height). In addition to this, there is storage space for up to 150 pallets or bulky and particularly heavy goods. Two steel construction platforms were used to create an additional 110 square metres of storage space. In this way, optimum use was made of the somewhat limited storage area.

New experiences

RWE Innogy ler
Virtually the entire product range from {cms.var.company_name} can be found in the operations base station – from warehouse technology to common room fittings, hazardous goods storage equipment and transport devices.

Looking back, it might seem as though it was a fast and unproblematic task. However, until the successful hand-over of the warehouse in June 2014, there were many difficulties the team had to overcome. And one characteristic was particularly important for all those involved: patience. Thorsten Oest's colleague, key account manager Marc Kirchhoff, is still highly impressed with the project, not just because of the scope involved and the interesting circumstances. He remembers the specific challenges – particularly the complications involved in transport to Helgoland, which was much harder to plan. “There is only one company that can ship the goods to Helgoland,” explains Marc Kirchhoff. “In addition, special seaworthy packaging was required for transport. Nor is transport to the island possible at all times – especially in adverse weather conditions.” An island out at sea is simply much more difficult to access than a destination on the mainland or close to the coast.

Thorsten Oest adds: “Just coordinating the various suppliers was complicated under these conditions. Nearly the entire catalogue range can be found there: warehouse technology, common room furnishings, workshop equipment, hazardous goods storage fittings and transport devices. Everything had to be ready in the right place at exactly the right time in order to be shipped.”

The employees involved could reach the island fairly quickly – within 75 minutes by taking the fast ferry from Cuxhaven. At least when everything went to plan. The weather conditions frequently played havoc with the planning. At very little notice, no crossings were possible and the assembly team couldn't keep to their deadlines. Everything had to be replanned.

Unique location: Helgoland

Helgoland, and its sister island of Düne, are Germany's only islands not located in the immediate vicinity of the mainland coast. Helgoland has an area of just 1.7 square kilometres and is 48 km from the mainland in the North Sea. The municipality is administrated by the district council of Pinneberg in Schleswig-Holstein. At the end of 2013, it had 1356 inhabitants. In past decades, this one-of-a-kind place was a popular destination for daytrippers and nature-lovers. The island is renowned for its unique bird life. However, when the number of tourists began to fall, the community tapped another source of income: as a location for the sustainable energy industry. A 10,000 square metre area has been set aside in the island's newly renovated south harbour. Here, special attention was also paid to protecting the environment: The building for the service and operations station was constructed using sustainable materials only.

RWE Innogy ler

A positive result

RWE Innogy ler
A successful conclusion: the fully equipped warehouse was handed over in June 2014.

Despite, or because of, the major obstacles to be overcome, Thorsten Oest and Marc Kirchhoff and their partners from the SCHULTE warehouse technology company consider the project to be a resounding success. They ultimately managed to accomplish a very complex task to the satisfaction of all those involved. “It was great to be able to implement our company's guiding principles,” says Thorsten Oest. “Even though the project was so complex, we were able to manage it entirely ourselves – from planning down to final assembly. Individual consultancy services and the on-site expertise allowed us to achieve our aim together with the customer faster and more efficiently. And all this in such a sustainable project.”

Wind power is the energy of the future

With the amendment to the Renewable Energy Act (EEG 2014), the federal government has given the green light for implementing a fundamental change to energy markets. And with this legal certainty backing it up, the energy sector will increasingly be investing in sustainable energy production. The largest proportion of green electricity will, in future, be generated by powerful wind power plants installed at great distances from the coast. By 2030, additional offshore plants with a total output of up to 15,000 megawatts will be installed.


If you are in the process of planning a project, then please do not hesitate to contact us. Our experts are always happy to advise and support you further.