22 February 2019, 13:23
Step-by-step automation of vehicles handling long loads
One of the most complex tasks in the intralogistics sector is handling long loads. That's why for manufacturers of forklift trucks and special-purpose vehicles, vehicle automation is a top priority. The handling of long, heavy and bulky loads is an area that Hubtex Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG excels in. In autumn this year, the company is for the first time planning to showcase an automated guided vehicle (AGV) tailored for handling long loads. All recently developed multidirectional sideloaders will form the basis of this vehicle. Hubtex has already planned the step-by-step automation of these sideloaders with assistance systems. The basic design of the vehicles includes cable runs, brackets and sensors with which the vehicles can be retroactively automated.
An increasing number of companies from diverse sectors are turning to driverless goods vehicles in a bid to make warehouse processes more efficient and economical. The aim is to maintain a high supplier performance while contending with a lack of skilled workers and increasing requirements in terms of quality and speed of turnover. When it comes to handling long loads, there are, as yet, no fully automated goods vehicles in which safety functions and drive kinematics can be adjusted to the various loads and their resulting dimensions. "One of the biggest challenges of automation is being able to identify the centre of gravity of long and bulky loads so that they can be retrieved and transported safely," explains Frank Knurr, a sales engineer at Hubtex who is responsible for expanding the company's portfolio of driverless goods vehicles. "Our electric multidirectional sideloaders can already be automated gradually and individually, in accordance with customer requirements."
Hubtex uses a modular system design with automated functions and assistance systems which can be integrated step-by-step into series-production vehicles. For example, an automated rack-positioning system directly navigates the operator to the correct rack after the warehouse position has been entered. The Hubtex Load Manager can also be integrated into electric multidirectional sideloaders, ensuring that preprogrammed lifting heights can be reached automatically. Using the assistance solutions, the partially automated vehicles can already perform steering, driving and lifting movements automatically. Hubtex integrates all systems into one single platform. This means that the various solutions can still be extended and combined with each other retroactively. In May, Hubtex will present its latest generation of electric multidirectional sideloaders for the first time. The company consistently focused on the aspect of automation when designing the vehicle series: cable runs and sensor positions have been planned in such a way that the vehicle can be gradually automated beyond its basic design.
Source: HUBTEX Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG