AUTOMATED OUTBOUND | complex but not impossible
Quite strange really. In a world with such far-reaching automation, one can still not arrange a properly automated outbound process. While it would deliver so many benefits. After all, wage costs would fall, working conditions and safety would improve and it could even perfectly connect with future developments, such as driverless trucks.
For clarification: when I am talking about an automated outbound process, it is about loading trailers with pallets.
Why an automated outbound process is so difficult to obtain
There are quite a number of variables that one must take into account in the design. Some are relatively easy to solve, others demand considerable creativity and innovative thought. In order to gain an insight into the extent of the difficulties, here is a summary of all issues that need to be taken into account:
- The solution must respond to existing and future situations
- There may be large temperature differences: from extremely hot to extremely damp and extremely cold.
- Of course, there already are existing automated systems. An automated outbound process must connect with these.
- Different types of trailers: insulated, plywood and/or canvas lorry
- The distance from the trailer to the dock is not always the same
- There may be a height difference between the dock centreline and the trailer centreline
- There is sideways displacement of the trailer with respect to the dock
- The dock height and the trailer’s floor height may be different
- Trailers have different internal lengths, widths and heights
- Often objects are fixed to the roof
- Trailer floors are not always of the same strength and quality
- Different types of pallets: EURO, Industrial, Chep, Dusseldorfer etc.
- Pallet quality is not always the same
- Pallet orientation has two variables: SSL or LSL
- A pallet may hang over
- The load quality differs greatly
- The film quality differs
- Each loaded pallet exhibits different dynamic behaviour
Loading pattern issues
- There are different loading patterns: 33, 32, 26, 24 pallets or partial load.
The solution should not take too long
We have made a thorough investigation and at the moment no solution can be found anywhere in the world that covers everything, for an acceptable investment. A compromise must always be made: either the investment is too high, or the capacity is too low, or the system is inflexible and only suitable for instance for a particular type of pallet or a particular type of trailer.
We believe that the total solution is within reach. We are now working on two exceptionally promising concepts, which we have given the project names Cobra and Gamba. Two entirely different solutions for different situations, which can deal with all the issues mentioned above. Within a year we expect to be able to invite you to the presentation of the first prototypes.
Want to spar, ask and know how far we are with developments? Contact us.
telephone: 0031 (0)541-521206.