stow Robotics, part of stow Group, a global leader in industrial storage solutions, will expand its high-end production activity on the WDP site in Lokeren. Early 2023, the specialist in innovative warehouse automation solutions will move into the high-profile location along the E17 in Lokeren, which WDP acquired in 2021 through a sale-and-lease-back operation with DPG Media Services.
The part of the buildings previously set up for the printing activities of DPG Media Services will be converted into a campus for stow Robotics. stow Robotics was founded at the end of 2021, is growing rapidly, and focuses on the development, production and commercialisation of automated and robotic warehouse solutions. The building will be set up as a fully-fledged stow campus with a multi-level production area, an R&D centre, a showroom and offices for sales and after-sales activities. stow Robotics will use a total surface area of approximately 24,000 sq m on this site on the basis of a long-term lease.
“The site is a unique opportunity for the further expansion of our robotics activities. The central location, extensive facilities and excellent visibility of the building are absolute trump cards for stow Robotics. The location also allows us to build a large technology and experience centre for our European customers. Given the rapid growth of stow Robotics, the near-immediate availability of the building and the optimal availability of the various spaces were key in this decision. The evolution in warehouse automation is highly dynamic and the time-to-market of new concepts is essential,” says Jos De Vuyst, CEO of stow Group.
“Today, it is important to act economical when it comes to available land and locations. When acquiring a property, WDP consistently examines its long-term potential and its potential in other functions. The new lease of the site in Lokeren shows that existing buildings can be converted into high-end campuses for companies pursuing future growth based on innovation,” adds Kristof De Witte, General Manager WDP for BELUX and FR.
Lokeren becomes the second major campus in Belgium for stow, which is headquartered in Spiere-Helkijn near Tournai, and has 10 factories and 20 commercial entities across Europe and the US.
stow robotics is recruiting at least 50 additional employees for the production activities on the Lokeren campus. All other stow Robotics activities will also be transferred to Lokeren, so that, over time, 200 people will be active on the site, of which a large number of engineers in R&D and other technical positions. stow estimates to reach the €1bn turnover mark in 2022 and plans further growth over the coming years, in which stow Robotics plays a central role.
Filip Anthuenis – mayor of Lokeren: “We are delighted with the arrival of stow Robotics in our city. The company will provide a new purpose to the former building of DPG Media Services, which for many years has been the landmark of our business park near the E17 highway. Lokeren is a small, but entrepreneurial city, where life is generous and people truly connect with a warm and self-conscious ‘Lokeren feeling’. stow Robotics couldn’t have picked a better home base.”
“It is no coincidence that stow Robotics chooses Lokeren as its new home base”, adds Stefan Walgraeve, councillor for industrial development in Lokeren. “Our unique location between Antwerp and Ghent and proximity to Brussels is a major asset. Our city is also at the crossroads of major railway lines and our industrial sites give direct access to one of Europe’s most important motorway connections, the E17. stow Robotics will contribute to the increasing economic dynamism of and employment in our city, through strong employment (top 5 of the largest private employers in our city), of both (lower-skilled) workers and (highly educated) employees.”