VdS-Schadenverhuetung Technische Pruefstelle

SSI Flexi Shuttle-System from SSI Schäfer

VdS-certified sprinkler protection concept

The demands placed on logistics centers have increased significantly, particularly as a result of modern goods trading - the supply chain as a networked, process-oriented delivery and supply chain. Manufacturers of automated storage and logistics systems such as SSI Schaefer are therefore required to provide future-proof intralogistics solutions.

Text: Johannes Zimmermann, SSI Schäfer Automation GmbH, Head of Construction Management

The further and new development of automated storage systems requires the necessary sprinkler protection to be adapted. High storage densities and dynamically adaptable storage space sizes of innovative shuttle systems present planners and product developers with challenges in terms of sprinkler protection. The VdS-certified protection concept with shelf sprinklers offers a possible solution for automatic shuttle systems.

Trends in the intralogistics industry

Market trends such as omnichannel distribution, short order throughput times and delivery cycles, the handling of a wide range of products on a wide variety of load carriers, as well as complex material flows and the need for compact and highly dynamic storage are challenging intralogistics solutions. Shuttle systems are a crucial building block in the cost-optimized logistics chain and an essential component of flexible systems.

Wherever optimized warehousing with fast material transport and short access times is required, shuttle systems play a special role as they can deliver the dynamics and performance demanded by the market.

VdS-certified protection concept – SSI Flexi Shuttle-System

The innovative SSI Flexi Shuttle from SSI Schaefer offers flexible storage of a wide range of transport units and dimensions with a payload of up to 50 kg and dynamically adaptable storage space sizes. It is an important building block for sustainably increasing energy efficiency, as it uses power caps as an autonomous energy source, among other things. This technology enables energy recovery, e.g. of braking energy, and the simultaneous storage and use of the recovered energy.

After the SSI Cuby Shuttle system from SSI Schaefer received VdS certification for the sprinkler protection concept in May 2022, the more complex SSI Flexi Shuttle system was then examined for possible VdS approvals.

In addition to the very high storage density, the dynamically adaptable storage space sizes of the Flexi Shuttle system pose the greatest challenge from a sprinkler protection perspective. The associated dynamic storage of variable storage goods sizes - plastic containers and trays as well as cardboard boxes as loading aids with different dimensions (lengths and widths) - lead to a loss of clearly defined storage positions, as known from automated small parts warehouses.

As a result, the minimum requirements for longitudinal and transverse shafts within the shelving compartments are not met. This is because, on the one hand, the cross shafts do not run vertically from the floor to the top edge of the shelf within a shelf bay or between the stored goods and, on the other hand, there are no defined longitudinal shafts due to the variable, multi-depth storage.

The table on the right summarizes the key parameters of shelf protection. Particular attention is paid to the cross shafts between the shelving compartments, as was already the case when the protection concept was presented at the VdS Fire Protection Days 2022. The width of the cross shaft is at least 150 mm with the arrangement of two sprinklers (doubling) directly at the cross shaft due to the existing steel construction (shelf uprights).

The sprinkler protection concepts were developed - with the addition of the requirements of VdS CEA 4001 :2021-01 (07) “Guidelines for sprinkler systems, planning and installation” - by Wilms-Weiler GmbH & Co. KG, an independent service provider for fire protection systems, in close cooperation with both the product management of the VdS Technical Inspection Body and SSI Schäfer. The approvals were based on VdS 3115 : 2009-06 (01 “Guidelines for sprinkler systems, procedure for the approval of new protection concepts”. The certificate for the SSI Flexi Shuttle system was issued in December 2022.

Frank Bieber, Head of TP Product Management at VdS, explains: “We have been in close contact with SSI Schäfer for many years. We regularly discuss and coordinate current developments in the areas of logistics and fire protection. The certification of these new protection concepts was therefore a logical consequence of our collaboration."

Pull-out shelf protector | SSI Flexi Shuttle-System
Shelf typeSingle and double shelving
StorageSingle and multi-deep
Querschachtbreite an RegalsteherMin. 150 mm
Cross shaft width on shelf uprightsMin. 100 mm (between the shelf backs)
Sprinkler linesSingle shelf: 2 strands
Double shelf: 3 strands
Horizontal sprinkler level spacingMax. 1,5 m Sprinkler doubling on the shelf uprights
Vertical sprinkler level spacing2,0 m
3,0 m  with horizontal sheet metal barriers
Art der AnlageWet plant
K-Faktor SprinklerK57 or larger RTI < 50,
Rated opening temperature r 68 °C
Operating time60 Min.


The demands placed on modern logistics centers - with highly dynamic, future-oriented storage systems, compact design and very high storage density - are increasingly pushing the implementation of sprinkler protection for automated systems in accordance with the guidelines to its limits.

By involving extinguishing system experts and the product management of the VdS Technical Inspection Body in the development of racking systems that are not covered in this form in the guidelines for sprinkler systems, appropriate sprinkler protection solutions can be designed for approval under building law and insurance law.