Continuing the Expansion

groninger builds: Since February, a new warehouse and logistics center with an attached office complex has been growing on 17,500 square meters. With an investment volume of over 20 million euros, it is the largest single investment in the company’s 40-year history.

Something big is happening at groninger these days—something really big, to be exact.

The filling and closing specialist is currently building a new warehouse and logistics center with a fully automated high-bay warehouse and an adjacent office complex on about 17,500 square meters in Crailsheim. The cost is over 20 million euros, which makes it the highest single investment in the company’s 40-year history.

“With the new building, we are taking our very good order situation into account and are continuing our sustained growth trend of recent years,” said Managing Directors Jens and Volker Groninger, when talking about the reasons for expanding the location.

The symbolic groundbreaking ceremony took place six months ago—due to the Covid-related lockdown at the time—only in a small group.

A lot has happened since then. The excavation work has been completed. The structural and steel construction work for the office building and warehouse is currently in full swing. The office complex is expanding upwards in the final stages; the last steel beams are being processed in the warehouse. The 24-meter high-bay warehouse is already one step ahead. The cladding work of the exterior facade has already been started.

The automated high-bay warehouse for pallets is being built in the first stage with three aisles and a capacity of 3,100 storage bays. If necessary, it can be expanded by two more aisles to a maximum capacity of 5,200 storage bays.

In the first stage of expansion, the automated small-parts warehouse will be designed for almost 13,000 containers. In a further expansion stage, it can be expanded by an additional 5,000 storage bays.

The logistics hall covers an area of ​​4,000 square meters, the high-bay warehouse almost 1,700 square meters, and the office complex—including social and meeting rooms—again measures 2,100 square meters.

“We need the space. Otherwise, with the continuing high capacity utilization, we will reach our limits,” says Jens Groninger, proving an insight into the current and medium-term order situation of the filling machine manufacturer. A flattening is currently not in sight—quite the contrary. “Our order books are well filled—sometimes up until 2024!”

“We need the space. Otherwise, with the continuing high capacity utilization, we will reach our limits.”
Jens Groninger

Building is a tradition at groninger. The company history is full of site expansions and transformations. And yet, “We had not yet implemented such an ambitious project in the past 40 years,” explains Michaela Groninger. As an architect, she is responsible for and coordinates construction projects of all kinds at the family business. “We are talking about a completely new dimension for us—alone in terms of space, but above all in the area of energy efficiency and sustainability,” adds Volker Groninger.

The overall planning process was guided by the idea of energy efficiency and sustainability. For that reason an “energy master plan” has been drawn up with the help of an external energy consultant.

“The result is a new building that is more than 80 percent energy self-sufficient,” explains the architect.  This means that the necessary energy such as electricity and heat is largely self-generated on site. This is made possible on the one hand by a photovoltaic system on the roofs of the warehouse and the high-bay warehouse, on the other hand by the installation of a 30,000 liter stratified storage tank and a ventilation system with heat recovery.  A heat exchanger in the ventilation system transfers the heat from the exhaust air to the incoming fresh air. This allow to recover up to 90 percent of the heat.

“The technology in the entire building is designed for maximum climate efficiency, while providing ideal room conditions for our employees. For us an optimal mix.”

The Crailsheim-based family company still has a year of building ahead of them. “The plan is to put the building into operation in the summer of next year,” says Michaela Groninger and adds “So far—thanks to the good preparation and close coordination with our partners—we are nicely on par with the schedule. We are assuming that the inauguration will be on schedule.”

Speaking of partners, 95 percent of the companies involved in the new building are from the region or at least from the greater Crailsheim area and are, therefore, from the immediate vicinity of groninger. “Regionality is immensely important to us,” agree the developers Jens and Volker Groninger. Regionality has to do with sustainability and taking responsibility.

The company assumes responsibility in two ways.  A construction project of this size, particularly, in the middle of the Covid pandemic, cannot be taken for granted. “For us, this location expansion is therefore also a commitment to Crailsheim. We want to show our employees, but also the Crailsheimers and the people in Heilbronn-Franconia that we are counting on our home port and we are alos steering towards growth in the future,” said the brothers.

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