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AGVs increase efficiency at mineral water company

AGV Food industry

The cooperation between Solving and the long-established Austrian beverage manufacturer Vöslauer Mineralwasser GmbH was initiated in 2021. After the project planning phase, Solving installed two identical fully automated counterbalance forklift AGVs in spring 2022 for operation in the production area. The two Solving Movers were affectionately given the Finnish first names “Kimi” and “Enni” by Vöslauer and were inaugurated on 13 May 2022 at a launch ceremony. The AGVs increase efficiency and automatically supply the new high-bay warehouse.

“During the high season, we fill up to 2 million bottles a day, which is equivalent to around 140 trucks. Solving’s automated guided vehicles, together with our new fully automated high-bay storage, ensure that our capacity meets this demand,” says Reinhard Deimel, Supply Chain Manager at Vöslauer Mineralwasser GmbH, summarizing the handling requirements.

Precise navigation with magnetic spots

The control system sends the fully automated Movers to a transfer station with a conveyor belt, from which pallets with mineral water bottles are picked up and transported to a similarly automated 25 m high high-bay storage. Magnetic spots embedded in the floor are used for navigation. Antennas on the Movers detect the spots, and the positions of the AGV are updated using these measurements. In this case, magnetic spot navigation provided the highest precision and safety in the block storage, as the environment and contours in the storage are constantly changing.

Flexible and safe

In addition to their impressive height of over three meters and a load capacity of 4000 kg, the AGVs have four 1650 mm long forks. This means that four euro pallets can be transported at a time. Since the center of gravity can be at a maximum of 850 mm measured from the fork root, the forklift must also have a corresponding weight to compensate for this. Pallets can be picked up both from floor level and from a maximum height of 1.65 m.

In addition to the normally required safety equipment, “Kimi” and “Enni” are also fitted with bluespot and object scanners that further increase safety. Furthermore, the transfer stations are equipped with stationary warning lights that visually announce the arrival of the Mover and warn personnel and manual forklift traffic in narrow passages.

Specific customer requirement

The AGV Movers are equipped with hard rubber tires instead of the frequently used vuIkollan wheels to enable Vöslauer to use their existing asphalt floor, which is in good condition. The wheels are gentle on the floor but develop higher friction, which is compensated by stronger drives. The large battery of the AGV Mover compensates for the higher energy these require and the dead weight of the battery also serves as a counterweight. During the realization of the project, the batteries and charging system already installed at Vöslauer were taken into account. After successful cooperation in recent years, an expansion of the fleet is planned. The next stage will take place at the beginning of 2024 when another three identical forklift AGVs will be integrated into the existing layout to join “Kimi” and “Enni”.

We appreciate the cooperation with Solving, firstly thanks to their good technical solutions, and secondly thanks to the attention they have given to our requirements”, Mr Deimel summarizes.

Reinhard Deimel, Supply Chain Manager at Vöslauer Mineralwasser GmbH

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