Completed WMS projects
Automated guided vehicle system KiSoft AUTOMOVE for SPAR
SPAR, St. Pölten
- Food industry
Parallel to the 30th anniversary of the SPAR warehouse in St. Pölten, a new innovative logistics solution has been introduced: the automated guided vehicle system KiSoft AUTOMOVE from KNAPP Systemintegration, Leoben/Austria.
Due to the constant growth of SPAR's market share in eastern Austria, there is also a corresponding increase in the shipping volume at the regional warehouse in St. Pölten. In light of this growing shipping revenue, the aim of the project was to remove the burden on employees in dispatch preparation at St. Pölten by using automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to carry out transport tasks in the dispatch area.
The idea was to transfer recurring tasks over to the AGVs, thereby covering part of the transport base load. This ensures greater efficiency, particularly with regard to the costly morning and evening hours, because the employees are able to concentrate fully on their core tasks.
Here, the AGVs are used to transport loaded roll cages and Euro pallets from the transfer stations to the HGV loading area after picking. The goods involved are chilled items such as sausage, cheese and milk products, as well as fruit and vegetables. With the AGVs, the process of placing the roll cages in the specified loading line is fully automated and accurate. The carrier company then loads the roll cages into the HGVs taking the products to their destination. Manually operated forklifts have also been retained alongside the AGVs, as this range of options offers greater flexibility in terms of responding to periods of peak demand, which are particularly common just before weekends and public holidays.
Such periods of peak demand present a number of challenges, not least the high volume of traffic and the fact that both the AGVs and manually operated forklifts need to use the transport routes at the same time, which is particularly problematic in the narrow gangways and loading lines.
With this in mind, it was important for SPAR that no structural modifications are made in the warehouse for the use of AGVs. To manage the high shipping volume, either three roll cages, one Euro pallet or one Euro pallet and one roll cage can be carried during each transport. Each of these load carriers can be assigned to a different SPAR store and must therefore be placed by the AGV in the dispatch area for each shipping door or in the specified loading line.
After conducting detailed checks and an in-depth analysis of the situation, it was decided that four vehicles were required. To enable SPAR's own service technicians to make use of the advantages of standard vehicles, namely reliability, robustness, favourable purchase costs and routine maintenance, a decision was made to upgrade 4 standard STILL CX20 forklifts to AGVs.
Furthermore, it was important for SPAR to have the option of operating the AGVs manually, should the need arise.Tried and trusted laser navigation, proven reliable in intralogistics, is used for the AGV navigation. The AGVs orientate themselves on a “digital map”, which was created by importing the warehouse layout into the software and defining the virtual guidelines (the possible routes for the AGVs) in the control system.
Each AGV determines its position in the warehouse using laser navigation based on reflectors, which are simply fitted on the wall or on racks. This ensures maximum precision at all times. Each AGV is fitted with certified sensors for human safety and a sensor to prevent collisions. These ensure that the corresponding safety distances are always adhered to and thus avoid any collisions.
The AGVs move at a speed of 1.5 m/s in forward operation and 1.0 m/s in reverse, which means that orders are processed quickly. Orders are managed/optimised by the central master control station and forwarded on to the relevant vehicle.
The use of a mixture of manually operated and automated vehicles presented a particular challenge, as employees first had to familiarise themselves with the movements of the autonomous AGVs. The small tolerances for the exact positioning of the roll cages on the loading line also presented another difficulty, which was solved by the installation of additional sensors. As a result of the satisfactory integration of the AGVs into its operations, the SPAR regional warehouse in St. Pölten is already looking into additional applications for the system. KiSoft AUTOMOVE is a key factor in improving productivity and making better use of available capacity.
The core business of SPAR ÖsterreichischeWarenhandels AG, the headquarters of which are located in Salzburg, Austria, is the wholesaling and retailing of food, beverages and other day-to-day products. With more than 35,000 employees, SPAR is Austria's largest private employer and approximately half of its circa. 1,400 locations are run by independent traders. Across the whole of Austria, SPAR operates six regional wholesale centres. The St. Pölten warehouse supplies more than 350 stores in Lower Austria, Vienna and the northern part of Burgenland. On peak days, 10.5 roll cages are picked every minute and a loaded heavy goods vehicle (HGV) leaves the warehouse every six minutes, making SPAR the largest local supplier in the region.
Mag. Börge Schlingmann
Telephone: +43 3842 805 firstname.lastname@example.org