Rothoblaas, a multi-national company with its roots in the Alpine region of Italy, is one of the world’s leading companies in providing high-technology solutions for all those involved in the wood construction sector.

Given the company’s extensive knowledge and passion for timber as a versatile and natural material as well as its commitment to sustainability, it made sense that the structure and components of Rothoblaas’ new automatic warehouse in Cortaccia are made from timber.

Although the automation mechanisms inside the warehouse are made of motors, tracks, electronics and steel – all materials that generate a great amount of CO2 in their production, as well as concrete foundations – this impact is offset by the important ecological advantages of a structure and shelving made from wood.

“While this required more design effort, in the end the costs were the same as if we had used other materials commonly used in these projects, like steel and concrete,” said CEO Robert Blaas. “This is the first automatic warehouse in Italy made entirely out of timber and confirms Rothoblaas’ role as a forerunner and reference point. This effort shows once again that we are not afraid to put ourselves in the front line to support green building and make it grow.”

A rapidly growing sector

Blaas says that in 30 years the timber market has gone from being a niche sector to a fast-growing sector that continues to challenge what seemed previously impossible. “From these humble beginnings, this method is now being used in the construction of entire residential areas built in timber and increasingly taller and more complex buildings that are at the same time safe, comfortable, healthy and have a strong architectural flair,” he said.
Rothoblaas has grown in response to the development of the market, matched by a considerable increase in their range, which now offers multiple solutions for the many application needs of construction professionals.

A green agenda

Logistics and warehouse manager, Alexander Vaja said that the new warehouse serves Rothoblaas as an efficient storehouse for timely replenishment to existing warehouses and those planned for the near future. “We have made it automated to be able to handle larger quantities to support the company’s growth. We need to be ready to handle many special products in large quantities, to offer them at competitive prices and within the right time frames: all this because we guarantee solutions for designing and building in wood that are easily accessible and adapted to the needs of all markets,” he said.

The company has grown to 22 subsidiaries worldwide (including South Africa) and the new warehouse will store 26 000 pallets, compared to 11 500 in the existing warehouse. The project also includes spaces for laboratories, a research centre, an auditorium and relaxation areas to enable all employees to live out Rothoblaas’ values to the full, both at work and in their free time.

We have a reputation of being pioneers, based on our ability to anticipate industry needs.

Sustainability has been part of the company’s agenda since 2012, when it built a 200Kw/P photovoltaic system, a heat pump and a steam heating and cooling system using the heat from the solar system. The company aims to self-produce 100% of their electricity needs through renewable sources by 2025, well ahead of the deadline set by the European Union.

“We have a reputation of being pioneers, based on our ability to anticipate industry needs and to be easily accessible wherever our customers are in the world, enabling them to optimise their time and resources. We have no intention of losing this tradition,” concluded Blaas.