Knapp has acquired German overhead conveyor systems specialist Dürkopp Fördertechnik, a wholly owed subsidiary of Dürkopp Adler.
The move will allow Knapp to offer integrated warehouse automation options to the fashion industry, optimising handling efficiency for both hanging garments and flat pack items.
Knapp will take over all 160 employees at Dürkopp Fördertechnik, with product development and manufacturing continuing at the site in Bielefeld, Germany.
Knapp’s existing customers in the fashion industry include the John Lewis Partnership, QVC and Bonita.
The company had sales of 204.6 million euros in 2009/10, and prior to the take-over the group’s management was anticipating organic growth of five to ten per cent in 2010/11. Following the acquisition this is expected to increase by 15 per cent.
Talking about the effect the take-over would have on Knapp’s position in the fashion sector, chief executive Eduard Wünscher said: “While the share of sales in the fashion sector was at four per cent in business year 2009/10, this share will be expanded to some 20 per cent of total sales within the next two business years.”
• Elsewhere, Hermes Fulfilment, part of the Otto Group, has placed an order with Knapp to install what it says in the world’s largest OSR Shuttle system.
The system, which will be fitted at Hermes Fulfilment’s distribution centre in Haldensleben in Germany, will feature some 176,000 storage locations.
The OSR Shuttle will be part of a new automatic returns system with a storage capacity of approximately one million products.
It will supply 30 workstations on two levels and have the ability to process up to 15,000 items per hour at peak times.