New@Rhenus 02/18

Obtaining the correct shade

Paint logistics for the Dörken Group

Anthracite grey, fire red, moss green: the selection of paints, varnishes and glazes, which Rhenus Warehousing Solutions mixes and shades on behalf of its customer Ewald Dörken AG, varies every day. No wonder, for there are more than 16 million different shades of colour in the world. The Dörken Group has already developed 1,600 paint formulations. The logistics is complex, sensitive and requires flexible adjustments to the manufacturer’s production procedures.

“Different colours are a bit like music”, says Hajo Schütz, the Head of the Mix-Plus Shade Technology at CD Color, a subsidiary of the Dörken Group. “The challenge involves always obtaining the correct shade.” This works out well at the logistics centre in Dortmund, where Rhenus and CD Color form a well-coordinated team. The working relationship with Dörken started on a small scale in 2013 and involved simple pallet storage; this has been gradually expanded. Rhenus Warehousing Solutions now supplies the Dörken production facility nearby with operating and ancillary materials, it stores raw materials, it mixes, shades, labels, provides customs clearance and dispatches varnishes and paints all over the world.

Is there a secret formula for working together successfully? “We work together in a partnership of equals,and seek to improve processes together” says Sonja Schönfeldt, Head of Logistics at CD Color, Mixing and toning the materials is anything but child’s play. A mixing machine is filled with as many as 22 pigment pastes. The ingredients are initially whisked and then pumped into the automatic mixing unit to ensure that all the constituent parts in the formulation are distributed evenly.

Rhenus Warehousing Solutions completes the following tasks for Dörken at the warehouse in Dortmund every working day: 

  • labels 6,000 containers
  • fills 800 tins
  • mixes and shades 50 different qualities

The right mixture
The largest machine, which is used to mix paints containing solvents, can accommodate 14,000 litres. That is the equivalent of more than 100 completely full bathtubs. “Our employees always take a sample of the finished paints in order to ensure the right quality,” says Rhenus Branch Manager, Dirk Philipp. “As a result, the complaints rate is extremely low.” The employees label any containers that hold more than 2.5 litres by hand. 4,300 different labels are stored in an air-conditioned shelf storage system for this purpose. At the end, all the containers are placed in the automatic vibrating machine, which mixes the ingredients together again well. Rhenus then ships the paints all over the world – and provides customs clearance for the items too, if required. As the business site has air safety certification, the logistics specialist can dispatch the paints as air freight without any problems.

A colourful world
“Keep moving” is the motto of the Dörken Group. Its success speaks for itself: the medium-sized company with its headquarters in Herdecke in Westphalia has been successfully operating for more than 125 years and is being managed by the fourth generation in the family. About 1,000 employees develop and manufacture composite films and paints for construction projects, coatings and paste systems.

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