COMBILIFT NOMINATED IN TWO 2020 IFOY AWARD CATEGORIES

IFOY Combilift

For the second year in a row Combilift is a finalist in the IFOY Awards – one of the most prestigious and hotly contested international awards in the materials handling industry. The company is the only manufacturer to have two of its products nominated for a 2020 IFOY Award (International Intralogistics and Forklift Truck of the Year) which honors the best products and solutions of the year.

The Combi-CBE4 is a finalist in the Special Vehicle category. This 4000kg capacity electric powered, all-wheel-drive forklift incorporates compact counterbalance design with multidirectional capability for the versatile handling of mixed sized loads. It features the company’s internationally patented independent electric traction (EP.2956350) which provides all front and rear drive wheels with 100% traction control, therefore negating the need for a differential lock on slippery surfaces. By inputting the wheel-base parameters, the traction commands are calculated by the control system. As the truck drives and steers, the speed and rotational direction of the wheels are controlled independently, allowing the truck to negotiate tight turns with no tire wear.

The Combi-CS has been nominated in the Warehouse Truck Lowlifter Category. It is the only pedestrian counterbalance stacker that will operate in a conventional reach truck aisle for space-saving and productive storage and handling. It features Combilift’s unique, internationally patented and award-winning multi-position tiller arm which can be turned to the left or right of the unit to position the rear drive wheel, allowing the operator to remain at the side of the machine rather than at the rear as is the case with other pedestrian stackers. This ensures optimum visibility of the load and surroundings as well as guaranteeing maximum safety in areas where other personnel or members of the public may be present.

The competition will enter its next round when finalists undergo the IFOY audit and innovation check by industry experts in mid-February in Hanover, Germany. 27 journalists from leading logistics media from 19 countries will also personally test and evaluate the nominated equipment for qualities such as technology, design, ergonomics, safety, marketability, customer benefit and sustainability.

“Following the nomination of the Combi-PPT powered pallet trucks last year, we are delighted that the IFOY committee has recognized two of our innovative products as being worthy of finalist status in 2020,” said Combilift CEO and Co-founder Martin McVicar.

Plug Power Launches Heavy Duty Progen Hydrogen Engine for On-Road Applications

LATHAM, N.Y. –  Plug Power Inc., a leading provider of hydrogen engines and fueling solutions enabling e-mobility, today announced a product launch of its heavy-duty 125 kW ProGen zero-emission hydrogen engine. This product expands Plug Power’s market reach into heavy-duty on and off-road applications that include Class 6, 7 and 8 trucks, transit buses and various port applications.

Plug Power ProGen units are designed to be ‘plug and play’ complete fuel cell systems. The standard module is designed to simplify OEM and system integrators’ packaging into their commercial offerings. Production shipments of the heavy-duty engines are to begin in the third quarter of 2020.

“This product launch represents a significant expansion of our ProGen line to support heavy-duty vehicle (HDV) applications,” said Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug Power. “The product is based on our best in class ProGen metal stack technology and will positively impact the adoption of hydrogen fuel cell technology in both on and off-road electric vehicle fleets.”

Fuel cells provide distinct advantages in applications where reliability, range and fuel efficiency are important. The high performance compact 125 kW ProGen engines are available in a variety of output voltages, are equipped with cold start capability and an intelligent can bus interface for seamless OEM integration. The modular ProGen engines are designed for use in series and parallel configurations to meet a variety of power needs including large scale stationary back-up systems.

According to McKinsey’s ‘Roadmap to a US Hydrogen Economy’ executive summary, transportation accounts for a third of US carbon emissions. The report notes that light-duty and heavy-duty fuel cell electric vehicles provide a competitive mobility solution, seeing the total cost of ownership break even as soon as 2025.

As businesses are seeking reliable solutions for their e-mobility needs, and more efficient, cleaner power sources for their large-scale stationary power requirements, Plug Power is pleased to be able to provide a zero emission fuel cell option.

Today’s product launch follows the successful launch of the 30kW ProGen hydrogen engine made in April, 2019. The 30kW engine, suited for delivery vans or light/medium-duty cargo trucks, is being used in StreetScooter fuel cell-powered trucks for on-road in use by DHL.

For Third Year in a Row, Yard Management Solutions Named 2020 MHI Innovation Award Finalist

The only yard management system recognized for “Best IT Innovation”, YMS will be demonstrating their newest software features at MODEX booth #8178

Duluth, GA – February 12th, 2020 – Yard Management Solutions, the industry leader for supply chain and logistics software solutions, has once again been selected as a 2020 MHI Innovation Award Finalist. For the third year in a row, Yard Management Solutions has been recognized in the “Best IT Innovation” award category for quantifiable and sustainable results in cost savings, revenue generation, and customer satisfaction.
Innovation is a driving force that keeps Yard Management Solutions at the cutting edge of the logistics industry year after year. Providing real-time visibility on shipment status and location, increasing workforce productivity through better transparency, and enabling robust data analysis with detailed reports has solidified Yard Management Solutions’ software as the most powerful, user-friendly, cost-effective yard management tool on the market.
To qualify for this year’s award, Yard Management Solutions submitted three new software innovations, bringing a layer of added awareness and optimization to shipping yards across the globe. First, Enhanced Alert Intelligence monitors the shipping yard and notifies appropriate personnel of potential problems through software notifications, email alerts, and text messages. Second, Smart Yard “X-Ray Vision” provides real-time visibility on the exact contents of every trailer in the yard – a world-class warehouse management system inside the yard management system. Finally, Smart Yard “Shipment Optimizer” matches shipments with the best trailer or carrier based on facility-specific rules.
Last week, MHI announced the finalists for the 2020 Innovation Awards. After receiving 155 submissions, five independent judges comprised of professionals from the material handling and supply chain industry completed the initial vetting process. Four finalists were chosen as the most innovative products in each category – Best New Innovation; Best Innovation of an Existing Product; and Best IT Innovation.
On Monday, March 9th, 2020 finalists provide in-booth presentations to judges at MODEX 2020 in Atlanta, GA. MHI announces the winners in each category on Wednesday, March 11th during MHI Industry Night. Yard Management Solutions is exhibiting its full suite of software tools at MODEX booth #8178, including interactive touchscreen displays and live software demonstrations.

Flux Power Reports Record Second Quarter Revenue and Sales Backlog

Vista, CA – Flux Power Holdings, Inc., a developer of advanced lithium-ion batteries for commercial and industrial equipment including electric forklifts and airport ground support equipment (“GSE”), has reported results for its fiscal year 2020 second quarter ended December 31, 2019 (Q2 ‘20).

Highlights:

  • Q2 ’20 revenue increased 33% to $3.6M reflecting the continuation of strong growth from the rollout of a full product line of packs for forklifts, along with increased unit volume and a higher percentage of larger packs.
  • Q2 ’20 gross margins improved to 9.0% driven by the Company’s gross margin initiative.
  • Increased sales efforts generated a record order backlog of approximately $10M at the end of Q2 ’20, driven by orders across the full line of forklifts and airport GSE.
  • Sales from 3-Wheel Class 1 Forklifts, as Flux Power is now shipping its “L-Series” Class 1 packs designed for 3-Wheel forklifts, a growing sector in new, highly-efficient warehouses.

ron-dutt-ceo-flux-power“We are pleased to see recent revenue growth from our full product line of forklifts and airport GSE,” commented Flux Power CE O Ron Dutt, “Our relationships with Fortune 500 customers and forklift OEMs continue to expand, and we are nearing completion of UL Listings on our full product lineup for forklifts. Our strategic priority for the next twelve months is to complement such strong revenue growth with significant improvement in our gross profit margins. We are well on our way to achieving this goal.”

FY 2020 and Beyond

  • Flux Power anticipates FY’20 revenue to continue to increase rapidly reflecting: (i) rollout and growth of full product line of LiFT Packs; (ii) increasing demand for its private label products; and (iii) the strength of its current order backlog.
  • The gross profit margin improvement program is beginning to see traction as Flux Power implements a series of clearly defined activities to advance technology, design, production and purchasing efficiencies.

Q2 FY 2020 Operating Results:

Q2’20 revenue increased 33% to $3.6M compared to $2.7M in Q2’19. As the customer base increases, Flux Power anticipates seeing a smoother, more stable, growth trajectory based on increasing customers and orders.

Q2’20 gross profit improved to $326,000 compared to $255,000 in Q2’19, principally reflecting higher sales volumes and benefits from higher revenue and early impact of the Company’s gross margin improvement program.

Selling and administrative expenses increased to $2.2M in Q2’20 from $1.6M in Q2’19, principally reflecting increased staffing to support expanded operations and growth. Research & development expenses increased to $1.0M in Q2’20, compared to $882,000 in Q2’19 as Flux Power progressed development of higher capacity battery packs for larger equipment. Flux Power’s Q2’20 net loss increased to $3.3M from a loss of $2.9M in Q2’19, principally reflecting higher operating costs, partially offset by the improvement in gross profit and decreased interest expense.

At December 31, 2020, borrowings under Flux Power’s $12.0M Short Term Line of Credit provided by Esenjay Investments LLC, owned by the Company’s largest shareholder and other lenders, were $10.7M, due June 30, 2020, and a second short-term borrowing, due March 31, 2020 was $1.1M.

Additionally, the Company entered into a Factoring Agreement with BayView Funding dated August 13, 2019 with a current maximum principal amount of $3.0M and an initial term of 12 months, which can be extended.  Flux Power also implemented a working capital line sponsored by one of its leading OEMs for receivables with that OEM.

 

Long-time rugged IT supplier JLT Mobile Computers sets itself up for continued success with new brand identity

 

Having grown faster than the market over the past seven years and delivering record revenues in 2019, the new JLT brand’s growth strategy emphasizes solutions, expansion of sales channels, R&D, and strategic partnerships to address customers’ business needs

Växjö, Sweden, 12 February 2020 – After 25 years in business, JLT Mobile Computers, a leading developer and manufacturer of reliable computers for demanding environments, is continuing its growth strategy under a new brand identity. Having significantly outperformed the competition in its serviceable markets in recent years and posting record sales of SEK 142M in 2019, the new-look JLT is setting sights on further expansion of its market share with a fresh growth strategy centering around expanded product, service, and solutions offerings, with strengthened sales channels, strong R&D and strategic partnerships.

As a trailblazer in the field of rugged computers, over the course of 25 years, JLT has amassed solid experience and know-how in developing, producing and installing electronics in unforgiving environments. Maintaining full control over product development, production and service, JLT gained a competitive advantage that resulted in 15% average annual sales growth over the past six years, three times higher than the average annual growth of businesses serving the same markets (based on JLT estimates and data from VDC Research).

Recognizing the increasing complexity of customers’ planning, acquisition, implementation and management processes as a result of digitization, IoT, Cloud and Industry 4.0 trends, JLT is strengthening its commitment to customers through the sale of complementary products, services and consultancy to help them solve their toughest business challenges.

“We’ve listened carefully to the industry and we know that choosing the right hardware is only one step on our customers’ journey for improving productivity in the warehouse, port, mine or other applications areas,” said Per Holmberg, CEO of JLT Mobile Computers Group. “To address customer business needs we are transitioning our business model from being a traditional hardware supplier to becoming a business partner who’s on hand to help customers every step of the way, from device selection to system design, integration, deployment, and ongoing support.”

JLT’s strategy to become a provider of end-to-end rugged IT solutions is an ongoing transformation that has been underway for a while. It will move the company from predominantly being a traditional hardware vendor to a brand identity as a business partner and trusted advisor to its customers providing the best combination of JLT’s rugged hardware, software, services and solutions.

Looking into the future, JLT’s strategy for ongoing growth and broadening the company’s scope includes:

Focus on solutions, highlighting the challenges in a dozen major industries and markets, as well as the growth and productivity enhancement opportunities JLT products and services can offer.

Expansion of JLT’s offerings with a combination of proprietary products, sourced products, and accessories, and a broader scope of software and services. This enables JLT to comprehensively address customer needs. Through strategic partnerships, JLT has added tablets, handhelds, accessories, as well as new software products for terminal emulation, mobile device management and more. JLT:Care™ already offers totally predictable cost of ownership, and with the launch of JLT: Technology Services™ on the US market, JLT offers installation and maintenance services along with servicing of both JLT’s own and third-party products.

Expansion of JLT’s sales channel both through an increase in the company’s direct local presence and expansion of JLT’s global reseller network.

High emphasis on R&D with investment both in the enhancement of existing products and the development of new products. Examples are JLT’s research into integrated sensor technologies that yielded the JLT6012™ rugged vehicle-mount computer that has become the fastest-growing product in JLT history and a platform for the future development of both products and services. JLT’s R&D also made possible the new rugged VERSO™ Series of computers upgraded with the fastest processor options in the industry, as well as the recent launch of the smallest high-performance 10-inch VMT on the market.

To learn more about JLT Mobile Computers, and the company’s products, services and solutions, visit www.jltmobile.com. The full 2019 year-end report is available on the JLT Investor Relations site www.jltmobile.com/investor-relations.

Douglas Battery™ to Feature Legacy® Battery and Charger Solutions at MODEX® 2020

READING, Pennsylvania, February 12, 2020 – Douglas Battery™, a leading manufacturer of batteries and chargers for material handling applications, will feature its full portfolio of power solutions for warehouses and distribution centers in booth no. 3819 at MODEX® 2020, which takes place from March 9 to 12 at Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Attendees will have the opportunity to review the company’s state-of-the-art products, specifically designed to meet the high-power demands of material handling equipment.

“Whether running one lift truck or an entire fleet, a single-shift operation or multiple shifts, we have the right battery and charger solution for any operation,” said Steve Satek, Douglas Battery Director of Sales. “We’re pleased to be part of this growing exhibition and look forward to reconnecting with industry professionals.”

Douglas Battery will display a collection of its Legacy® batteries at this year’s MODEX show, including the company’s high performance and low maintenance power solutions. Legacy® batteries deliver excellent conductivity, are corrosion-resistant and include a sleeved positive plate separator to eliminate shorts and potential misalignments.

Douglas Battery will also display its charger portfolio in booth no. 3819. The LegaC2 modular charger, featuring one of the industry’s most compact and efficient designs, is suitable for a wide range of battery capacities, opening up the possibility of fewer chargers required for a fleet.  Additionally, the high-frequency, high-speed and fully automatic Raptor™ rapid charger will be on display. The Raptor™ rapid charger is engineered with the latest digital power control technology to safely fast charge batteries anytime during the shift-day.

Track daily usage, charge return, temperature, water level and equalization with the Douglas DataTrac™ battery monitoring device. The device is installed onto the battery to capture real-time information and records minute-by-minute data that can be tracked using the Douglas DataTrac™ Reporting Suite. Data capture allows battery fleets to be managed more effectively in order to improve productivity, cut operating costs and save time.                      

Visit the Douglas Battery LinkedIn page in the weeks leading up to MODEX 2020 to learn more about the company’s on-site presence at the show. You can also call Douglas Battery toll-free at 1-800-211-3684 or visit www.douglasbattery.com.

ABOUT DOUGLAS BATTERY™

Douglas Battery is a brand of EnerSys, the world leader in stored energy solutions for industrial applications. Since 1921, Douglas Battery has maintained the reputation of producing and delivering the highest quality products in the industry and has remained a customer-focused company that anticipates and responds to customers’ needs. More information regarding Douglas Battery can be found at www.douglasbattery.com.

OneCharge and ECOTEC Listed as Approved Vendors for Charge Ready Transport Program

OneCharge Lithium-Ion Batteries and ECOTEC chargers listed as approved vendors for “Charge Ready Transport” program, which provides financing for fleet electrification infrastructure.

OneCharge Inc., a leading provider of lithium motive batteries for the material handling industry, and Ecotec, a provider of world-class, energy-efficient battery charging solutions, announced today that their Southern California customers are eligible for Southern California Edison’s “Charge Ready Transport” program. This SCE program covers most or all of the customers’ costs for electric infrastructure needed up to the charging station. The five-year program has authorized up to $30 Million for forklifts specifically.

These are the main criteria for program eligibility, applicants must:
• be within the SCE service territory;
• purchase or lease two or more electric forklifts within 18 months of signing the agreement;
• procure, own, install, and operate the charging stations for 10 years;
• an easement will be required.

These are the zero-emission voucher incentive benchmarks for clean off-road equipment projects:

Forklift lbs. Lift CapFunding
8,001 – 12,000$15,000
12,001 – 20,000$20,000
20,001 – 33,000$50,000
> 33,000$150,000

 

Electric Forklifts Have Lower Operating Costs

Electric forklifts cost less to own over their lifetime than comparable internal combustion engine (ICE) forklifts. A typical ICE forklift is about 3-5 times more expensive to operate than its electric counterpart. And with fewer tune-ups, a reduction in engine parts and no tank refills, electric forklifts are also more productive than legacy forklifts. Lower operating costs, reduced maintenance and improved safety make electric forklifts a better investment.

Electric Forklifts Are Just As Powerful

Modern electric forklifts perform side-by-side with their ICE counterparts while being safer and less expensive to operate under most circumstances.

Electric Forklifts Reduce Pollution

With virtually no fuel expenditure, electric forklifts fit modern “earth-friendly” initiatives. With manufacturing trending green, electric forklifts are a smart, cost-efficient option. Plus, workers are not exposed to harmful tailpipe emissions with electric forklifts. The bottom line: less carbon footprint, and a more healthy work environment.

Electric Fleets Don’t Require Space-Wasting Battery Changing Rooms

Fast chargers eliminate the need for battery-changing rooms. Batteries are charged during scheduled breaks and shift changes without ever leaving the vehicle.

Fast Charging Won’t Harm Batteries

With unique algorithms, battery monitoring and heat management technology can actually extend the life of your batteries by almost 40% and reduce your battery inventory by 50%.

Energy Security

Energy efficiency and security are perhaps the most underrated of all the advantages of electric forklift trucks. The U.S. still imports millions of gallons of oil on a daily basis. Slowly and surely, electric forklifts (along with electric cars) are helping reduce the need for the U.S. to rely so much on foreign imports. Electric forklifts are helping to fill the void with reliable, safe, and efficient transportation – all with a better overall economic benefit.

Additional application requirements apply.
Visit: https://www.sce.com/crt

Source: OneCharge and ECOTEC

New Konecranes technology brings lift trucks customers into the future

Konecranes

 

Here Konecranes presents four of the latest technical advances: increased reach stacker capacity, empty container handlers with triplex and free-lift mast, new lighter Konecranes Liftace models and Ecolifting features for greater eco-efficiency.

Reach stackers get stronger

The new, specially-designed top-pick spreader has given impressive abilities to the full range of Konecranes reach stackers for standard container handling. All three rows have one metric ton of additional capacity each, with a fully-laden maximum of 46 tons in the first row. The heavy-duty SMV 4646 TCX5 even allows 46 tons on all three rows. Every one of these more powerful reach stackers adds strength and flexibility to meeting the needs of each customer’s specific operating conditions. Higher capacity also leads to higher productivity as bigger loads can be moved in less time.

Empty container handlers go triplex

Some customers need lift trucks for low-ceiling warehouses. To address this directly, Konecranes has added a triplex mast and free-lift option to empty container handler model SMV 6/7 ECC 100DS. With this new feature, customers can use the same lift truck to move containers both inside and outside a storage building. The truck has a total lifting height of 7,650mm, allowing stacks up to 7 containers high out in the yard, and free-lift means container handling is manageable indoors, keeping the total mast height under set limits. The Smart Lift feature uses lasers to automatically select lifting height based on container size and stack position.

New Konecranes Liftace for lighter loads

Renowned for its productivity, easy-to-use features and small turning radius for tight maneuverability, the Konecranes Liftace range of forklifts now has two options for even lighter loads. The latest addition includes two new models with a load center of 600 mm: the F10-600 C for 10 tons and the F12-600C for 12 tons. Designed for extra visibility, easy maintenance and low fuel consumption, the Konecranes Liftace product family offers a durable lifting solution for operating areas with low-weight requirements and limited space.

Flow Drive leads Ecolifting

Still relatively new to the market, Konecranes lift trucks with Ecolifting features are making an impression as customers move towards more eco-efficient equipment. Power Drive, the first Ecolifting feature, reduces CO2, fuel consumption and costs by up to 15%. Flow Drive, the second, does the same thing up to 25%. Hybrid Drive, the third, gives reductions of up to 40%. Currently, the most popular feature is Flow Drive, with its innovative hydromechanical variable transmission and unique engine compartment design. Five reach stackers with Flow Drive were shipped to Australia this year, with more orders in the book to locations in the Netherlands and Thailand as well.

“From the very start, Konecranes Lift Trucks has always invested in research and development, and we continue to do so today,” says Patrik Lundbäck, Director and Head of Sales and Distribution at Konecranes Lift Trucks. “Technology never stops advancing. New products and upgrades improve the safety, productivity, and cost-effectiveness of our equipment. Our aim with this new technology is to give every one of our customers exactly what they need for their own particular set of circumstances – in other words, for their own worlds.”

Source: Konecranes

New Cab Launches for Hyster® Big Trucks

Hyster Company is rolling out a new cabin and controls on its Big Truck range.  The industry-leading design will first be available on new 8 to 18-tonne capacity Hyster® H8-18XD lift trucks.

“We have made the best lift truck cab in the industry even better,” says Chris van de Werdt for Hyster Europe. “For many years, the Vista cabin on our Big Truck range was considered the leading cabin design with around 20,000 units shipped. The latest cabin sets high industry standards.

To make work even easier for operators, the new Hyster® cabin provides a “cockpit-style” workplace, positioning all truck information and controls at the driver’s fingertips. The high-quality interior finish features a seven-inch touch screen display complemented with rotary button controls on the armrest, while low in-cab noise levels also help drivers to keep concentration during long shifts.

“Operators can expect to be comfortable all day long in the spacious cabin due to the seating design and large floor space, as well as heating and ventilation options to suit the climate,” Chris says. “A comfortable operator is a productive operator whether handling steel in the heat of the summer or empty containers in the icy Scandinavian winter.”

“For instance, there is a quick de-misting function for fast start of your operations even during cold/wet weather conditions,” Chris continues. “Or with climate control, direct airflow onto the operator helps provide extra comfort and cools the cab down quickly.”

Thanks to an adjustable control arm that includes a wrist cushion and Touchpoint mini levers (or ergonomic Joystick option), operators will experience optimal comfort and reduced fatigue when operating the hydraulics, even in tough applications. A forward/reverse switch is also available on the control arm/joystick to further simplify the operation.

The cab offers excellent all-round visibility with curved front- and rear windows, armored glass top window and toughened glass doors, with a slimline steel frame. All glass is scratch-resistant. To achieve the best visibility of the fork tips, a unique lateral sliding seat enables the operator to change the line of sight, while the dashboard does not limit visibility in the front of the cabin.

“With the new cabin, operators can lift high with minimal obstruction to visibility due to the tall front window and full glass panel overhead,” Chris says. “The cab is designed for excellent visibility during driving, reversing and maneuvering.”

With the largest doors in the industry and class-leading headspace, operators can also get in and out of the cab easily, even when wearing a hardhat.

“There are so many features and options to suit each application. At night, for example, the display can automatically dim for less distraction and the control arm panels all have backlight options, so the switches illuminate when active or an option is present,” Chris explains.

Automatic Truck Shutdown functions are available to save energy when operations are paused. Lights can also be included in the shut off in order to prevent battery drain. Other customization options include the monotrol pedal, optional trainer seat, automatic park brake, blue LED Pedestrian Awareness Light, load weight and height indication, tyre pressure monitoring system, telematics and more.

The new cabin has been introduced on the new H8-12XD6 / H190-280XD, H13-16XD6 / H300-360XD, H6-7XDEC3/4 / H150XD-EC4, H16XD9/12 / H210-250XD48 and H18XD7.5/9 / H360-36/48XD trucks series’. These replace the current Hyster® H8-16XM range and provide a choice of 14 models in total, including lift trucks and empty container handlers.

For more information, contact your local Hyster® distribution partner or visit www.hyster.com.

Source: Hyster

Automated Guided Vehicle system for Arvato

  • Arvato Supply Chain Solutions continues to advance the automation of its locations
  • Driverless handling of all floor-level pallet transport jobs in the Harsewinkel distribution center
  • Six Automated Guided Vehicles from Jungheinrich deliver around 400 pallets a day
Arvato Jungheinrich AGV

Photo: Left to right: Klaus Ochs, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration; Matthias Anders & Martin Döltgen, LE; Fabian Generotzky, Director Operations; Erich Berg, Project Manager; Kai Lienemann, IT

Harsewinkel/Hamburg: Among other things, Arvato uses its Harsewinkel location to deliver logistics services for customers in the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries, with 31,000 square meters available for this purpose at the site. To cope with the increasing volume of internal pallet transport tasks while also countering the shortage of skilled labor, the site has invested in six automated guided vehicles developed by the specialist Jungheinrich.

For this purpose, around 300 reflectors were installed on the walls and shelves along the transport routes in the summer of 2019. These serve as navigation points for the vehicles and are recognized by a laser scanner on the vehicles. This enables the automated guided vehicles to navigate with an accuracy of up to two millimeters using triangulation.

During the implementation phase, a new conveyor technology control system was installed, floor markings were applied in accordance with 5S standards, and turning stations, as well as buffer racks, were set up on the central travel track to automatically buffer pallets and map out longitudinal and transverse transport operations.

The new technology is rounded off by system interfaces with the warehouse management software and the conveyor technology control system, plus new DTS-specific scanning dialogs. Employees working in Goods Receipt, Outgoing Goods, and Internal Transport were informed about the concept and the corresponding rules of conduct at the beginning of the year.

AGVs named after superheroes

The six vehicles, named after famous superheroes such as Hulk, Batman or Superman, drive to all the site’s warehouses, Goods Receipt, and Outgoing Goods, and also stop at the disposal area to empty the waste containers.

Driving jobs for the DTS are generated based on the transport jobs generated by the warehouse management software. The source and destination for the automatic system are generated via the respective source and destination storage locations. The DTVs navigate independently around the warehouse, open gates, and put pallet conveyor systems into operation.

“Thanks to the interfaces between the DTS, the warehouse management software and the conveyor technology, each pallet movement has an integrated status upgrade. This enables us to track the current position of a pallet in real-time,” explains Erich Berg, Lead Project Manager at Arvato.

In addition to this, the system also transports finished shipping pallets. The warehouse management software verifies whether there is already a loading row for the carrier or opens a new loading row and submits it to the control software.

“We can also provide the system with manual support at any time. With the help of a master computer, we can block off certain areas or hall sections in order to keep mixing between the traffic from the automated and manual halls to a minimum,” explains Matthias Anderson from the Logistics Engineering business unit. If an obstacle is in the way, the vehicle comes to an immediate stop and does not continue its task until the obstacle has been removed. The vehicle is also connected to the personal protection system, the high-speed doors, the fire protection doors and the fire alarm system. In the event of an alarm, the Automated Guided Vehicle exits the danger zone independently.

Powerful, zero-maintenance lithium-ion batteries

Thanks to their powerful, zero-maintenance lithium-ion batteries, the vehicles can run under full load for up to eight hours before they need to be recharged. At the end of the day or once all their jobs have been completed, the vehicles automatically return to their charging stations. These on-the-fly charging sessions enable the system to work around the clock without having to take special charging breaks.

“Driverless transport systems are the cornerstone of automated intralogistics. Based on tried and tested standard industrial trucks supplemented by automation components and controlled by intelligent software, they perform recurring transport tasks for high handling volumes extremely safely and efficiently. The EKS 215a, which Arvato is currently using, is an Automated Guided Vehicle based on the EKS vertical order picker. The EKS 215a can transport loads of up to 1.5 t in weight and automatically store them at lifting heights of up to 6.0 m. In the process, the vehicle can reach maximum speeds of up to 2.5 m/s.

At Arvato, the vehicle travels at a speed of 1.7 m/s and the lifting height is 2.5 m. The elimination of the driver’s platform makes the EKS 215a particularly maneuverable, even in confined spaces. The self-supporting forks of the EKS 215a enable it to transport special load carriers and closed pallets, as well handling stations that we can’t drive vehicles under,” says Dr. Markus Heinecker, Project Sales Manager at Jungheinrich.

“The implementation of the Automated Guided Vehicle systems provides optimum support for our employees,” said Fabian Generotzky, Director of Operations at Arvato Supply Chain Solutions. “They can devote themselves to more value-creating activities and put their energy into tasks such as stocking the reserve warehouses so that goods can be retrieved more quickly.

As well as being innovative, this also increases the level of quality in the warehouse. Damage to pallets is minimized because the system works with millimeter precision.  Alongside VVA in Gütersloh and the Arvato logistics center in Landsberg, the Harsenwinkel facility is one of the pioneers in this field. “Given the great depth of integration into the processes and the associated complexity, I am sure that this project can be used as a prime example for the further expansion of automation at Arvato,” Project Manager Berg says.