Hendrik Streitferdt, project planner for digitalization and automation at MAHLE explains why the company, located in Neustadt an der Donau in Bavaria, relies on automation with AGILOX automated guided vehicles: “Our goal was to automate logistics processes as efficiently as possible. The big challenge here is our general conditions here at the plant, such as narrow path widths, different load carriers, and a relatively flexible production and storage environment.” And this is precisely where the AGILOX can show off its many advantages. For example, an omnidirectional travel concept enables the AMR to cope perfectly even on the narrowest of travel surfaces. And our Plug & Perform commissioning also allows the vehicles to be deployed in other environments at short notice. Starting with a small and easy testproject with transportations from A to B, we are now having already a so called fleet of AGILOX, where the tasks were expanded a lot. The adaption to Palomats, triggering of workflows by means of glove-scans and follow up jobs are just some exemplary tasks of the now four AGILOX ONEs in operation in Neustadt an der Donau in Bavaria are working on.
MAHLE products installed in at least every second vehicle worldwide
MAHLE is a leading international development partner and supplier to the automotive industry as well as a pioneer and technology driver for the mobility of tomorrow. The MAHLE Group aims to make mobility more efficient, environmentally friendly, and comfortable by further optimizing the combustion engine, advancing the use of alternative fuels, and at the same time laying the foundation for the broad acceptance and widespread introduction of electromobility. With engine systems and components, filtration and thermal management, the product portfolio covers all key issues along the powertrain and air conditioning technology. Added to this is the know-how for electrical and electronic components and systems, so that MAHLE also offers integrated system solutions for electromobility. At the Neustadt an der Donau location in Bavaria, air conditioning systems for premium passenger cars are produced for customers worldwide.
The AGILOX advantage
“Due to the increasing competitive situation, we were on the lookout for solutions and optimizations in order to continue to position ourselves competitively and to always be one step ahead,” says Thomas Oxfort, head of process optimization and logistics at MAHLE. The great advantage of AGILOX equipment in this respect is that “existing processes can easily be taken over and converted into automated processes. That is much more efficient than designing new processes first,” knows Thomas Oxfort. Thanks to the software developed by AGILOX, which is perfectly matched to the hardware, it is easy to create new stations, move stations, or even change or create entire warehouse areas. This makes it possible to automate processes quickly, or to adapt already automated processes very quickly to new framework conditions, projects, and customers. Another advantage: “We don’t have to bring the manufacturer of the vehicles into our company to adapt the processes, our employees simply do it themselves,” says Thomas Oxfort.
The area of application of the AGILOX AMRs is diverse
MAHLE used the AGILOX vehicles in replenishment processes, among other things. This means that employees who supply belts order the next pallet from the warehouse using a simple scanning process. The AGILOX automated guided vehicles (AGVs )make it possible to automate the entire process. So when an employee orders a new pallet, the AGILOX delivers it to him. And the return route of the vehicles has also been optimized in that they then deliver empties to avoid an empty run. An automatic pallet magazine is also integrated into the process. It happens again and again in the MAHLE company that several pallets are finished at the same time and three to four AGILOX have to work together in a very confined space. However, Hendrik Streitferdt explains that this does not pose any challenge to the internal processes: “We are always surprised how the four vehicles independently solve complex traffic situations. The units are even able to pick up slightly twisted or shifted pallets, which ensures that the processes run very stably.” And that’s not all: “We have now been using the devices for a year and a half, and in that time we have been able to establish that the devices are virtually maintenance-free. Except for the half-yearly and annual maintenance, we do not have an AGILOX technician on duty. Should any problems arise during operation, they can usually be solved via remote maintenance, i.e. access by AGILOX from outside. And that is a great advantage.”