Arvato drives automation in Landsberg forward
Landsberg - Arvato SCM Solutions has started a pilot project to automate its sites. Since the beginning of October, a driverless transport system has been handling the waste disposal at the Landsberg distribution center. Thereby Arvato has invested in four autonomous vehicles that can move freely and are no longer being navigated by induction loops.
In the 50.000-square-meter logistics center, Arvato SCM Solutions provides comprehensive services to customers in the consumer goods industry. Every day, the site produces between eight and ten tons of foil and paperboard, which corresponds to the volume of about 250 large waste containers. Up until now, the employees have had to cover around 15.5 kilometers every day in order to ensure that they are properly disposed of. This task is now taken over by the four driverless transport vehicles developed by Toyota Material Handling. They navigate using laser technology and a systemically stored spatial plan. For this purpose, Arvato SCM Solutions equipped the site in advance with cylindrical reflectors installed on the walls, shelves and pillars along the transport routes. They serve as navigation points and are detected by a laser scanner on the vehicle. This allows the autopilot system to be precisely navigated down to a millimeter.
Smart technology increases efficiency
The waste containers were built on Euro pallets so that they can be picked up by the autonomous forklift trucks. As soon as a container is full, the employee requests a vehicle via a button. This then travels to the container space, picks up the Euro pallet carrying the container and transports it to the predetermined storage location. In doing so, the vehicle places itself to ground markings and even uses the existing pallet lift to transport the load carriers to the ground floor. There, the container is met by another vehicle and brought via autopilot to the disposal station.
The operation of the vehicles and the system software are controlled by specially trained employee on a computer via a graphical user interface. Not only does it provide real-time information about whether the vehicle is loaded or unloaded, it also indicates possible obstacles. If a road is blocked, the vehicle also gives an acoustic signal, so that the obstacle can be removed manually and the transport can continue. Thanks to their powerful and maintenance-free lithium-ion batteries, vehicles can drive for 22 hours without interruption before they need to be recharged. However, the vehicles do not make full use of this period, but drive independently to the charging stations as soon as all orders have been completed. Compared to conventional battery systems, the energy savings amount to up to 50 percent.
Project supports Arvato SCM strategy
"The driverless transport system is not meant to replace our employees, but to support them," says Jörg Schulze, Operations Director at Arvato SCM Solutions. "Thanks to automation, our employees can devote themselves to value-adding activities, which increases the efficiency of our site while at the same time minimizes costs." The pilot project is already entering the next phase in the coming year: In the first half of 2018 the clearance of incoming goods are to be automated, followed by phase three in which the replenishment of the high shelves with around 20.000 pallet spaces is being automated. This howver requires the systematic integration of the autopilot system into the internal SAP system, which is currently being worked on. "Our distribution center in Landsberg is considered a pioneer in this area," explains Carsten Coesfeld, Managing Director of the Telecommunications division. "We are evaluating the practicability and should the project prove to be a success, it is conceivable that this type of automation will also be implemented in other Arvato SCM sites."
About Arvato SCM Solutions:
Arvato SCM Solutions is an innovative and international leading service provider in the field of supply chain management and e-commerce. Partners come together with industry specialists in the fields of Automotive, Bank, Insurance, Consumer Products, Healthcare, Hightech, Entertainment, Publishing and Telecommunication. More than 14,000 employees work together to provide practical and relevant solutions and services worldwide. Using the latest digital technology, Arvato develops, operates and optimizes complex global supply chains and e-commerce platforms, as the strategic growth partner for its customers. Arvato SCM combines the know-how of its employees with the right technology and appropriate business processes to measurably increase the productivity and performance of its partners.
Arvato SCM Solutions is part of Arvato, a leading international service provider. Approximately 70.000 Arvato employees in more than 40 countries design and produce innovative solutions for business customers from all over the world, covering a wide range of business processes along integrated service chains. These include financial, CRM, SCM and IT solutions, as well as digital marketing services. Arvato is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bertelsmann.
For more information, please visit scm.arvato.com.