From intelligent vehicles to fully automated logistics processes

"We drive automated vehicles" – Intelligent automation of material flows with the STILL iGo product range

Hamburg, February 12, 2020 - More and more companies have begun to look into the topic of automation as part of their intralogistics. The reasons for this range from the need to increase efficiency and restructure processes to a shortage of warehouse staff. As a result, the range and market for automated intralogistics solutions is growing continuously. However, not every technically complex innovation is appropriate to every task from an economic point of view. STILL helps companies to avoid getting lost in the maze of complex industry 4.0 offers and accompanies them step by step from potential analysis to concept development and implementation.

With 100 years of experience in intralogistics and electric vehicles as well as 30 years of automation STILL is the expert partner for intralogistic automation projects. For each customer the STILL experts develop a solution individually tailored to the company. This ranges from process optimisation and warehouse planning to automation consulting. The degree of automation is determined by the customer's processes. To this end, the potential is first analysed and then the appropriate level of automation is determined in close cooperation with the customer, followed by a step by step process - manual, semi-automatic, fully automatic - depending on what is most appropriate in each case.

"Together with our customers, we analyse the material flow and determine the requirements and general conditions in order to find the best technology and right level of automation for them. Here it is of great importance that the solution must match the business processes and the future requirements of intralogistics. In addition to STILL's broad portfolio of classic industrial trucks, supporting assistance systems and autonomous and automated vehicles we offer a complete system solution including planning, project planning, all necessary components, implementation and individual service concepts," explains Noë van Bergen, Head of Automated Solutions at STILL GmbH.

Step-by-step implementation of future-proof solutions

As a first step into automation STILL offers a wide range of driver assistance systems and functions for their industrial trucks. Individual tasks are transferred from the operator to the driver assistance system with the aim of improving safety and handling performance as well as taking strain off the driver. An example of this is the STILL iGo Pilot navigation system which automatically directs the vehicle to a previously entered destination or a destination transferred from the warehouse management system as soon as the drive lever is activated. The system is especially useful in narrow aisle warehouses up to storage heights of 18 metres. For maximum productivity, the narrow-aisle truck is automatically navigated to the desired pallet via the ideal route.

A further intermediate step towards fully automated processes is the autonomous assistant. Individual, flexible devices that support the user in what he still does best, such as picking during order picking. An example of this is the STILL OPX iGo neo. An order picking truck that can easily find its way around any warehouse topology, interacting with the operator and following him at every turn. Integration into the customer's software systems is not absolutely necessary. This makes it a stand-alone and autonomous system.

The highest level of STILL automation is formed by fully automated industrial trucks as automated guided vehicle systems (AGVs) with which all material flow processes can be automated from goods receipt, storage, buffering, order picking, production supply and disposal to goods issue. The iGo systems family offered by STILL combines a wide range of automated standard vehicles and various modern navigation types, offering tailor-made solutions for any warehouse architecture. The iGo software takes care of vehicle control and traffic regulation, ensuring effective utilisation of the fleet and monitoring all battery charge levels. State-of-the-art navigation technologies enable the safe and independent movement of vehicles in the warehouse. Equipping the vehicles with pedestrian protection systems and suitable sensor technology guarantees maximum safety and ensures precise pallet recognition. Thanks to the industrialised production of automated series vehicles and standardised automation kits with identical components, controls and interfaces, which turn series vehicles into AGVs in the shortest possible time, automation projects can be implemented quickly.

In addition, with iGo insights STILL offers a cloud-based tool for the evaluation of available data, which filters correlations from the abundance of process information collected over several months and derives concrete recommendations for action on how to optimise the availability and performance of your system. iGo insights uses the principle of machine learning to improve the performance of the system. All data collected by the AGV control system over a long period of time is uploaded to the cloud for analysis and can be accessed online via an encrypted web portal. Based on this data history, the software recognises structures, calculates probabilities and enables proactive action to be taken - for example, with regard to scheduling maintenance or repairs.

Noë van Bergen: "We make vehicle automation accessible and advantageous for all of our STILL customers. At the Hanover Fair we will be presenting our complete range of automatable series trucks under the motto 'We drive automated vehicles'."

Visitors can also look forward to another global innovation in the field of electric forklift trucks, which will be presented at the fair for the first time. Interested visitors will find STILL at the Hanover Fair from the 20th to 24th April, 2020 in hall 2, stand C22.