Audi said its new 34 million euro logistics center in Neckarsulm, Germany, can save up to 500 tons of CO2 a year.
The premium carmaker, a member of the Volkswagen Group, said the new building is designed to conserve resources and is equipped with the latest environmental technology. Waste heat from utility supply buildings provides heating, whileintelligent systems in the storage and retrieval devices ”“ such as recuperation and drive switch-off ”“ also help save energy.
Audi needed better logistics management to deal with a multitude of new models and numerous model variations. Those increases have nearly doubled the number of small load carriers entering the Neckarsulm plant since 2008. An automated small load carrier storage facility will be able to process 1,300 containers and hour.
Audi's new facility employs about 140 people in a 12,000 square-meter building.
When entering Neckarsulm, truck drivers unlock the gate with a chip and drive into a secure area that contains four parking spaces for unloading. Employees at three control stations inspect the incoming goods, enter the new items or file claims for any incorrect deliveries.
Four robots lift most of the containers that need to be stored from the pallets directly onto the conveyor belt. The remaining material is received by the logistics technicians on adjustable lifting tables. “The employees used to have to place the containers into the shelves by hand,” said Andrea Barth, head of the new small load carrier storage facility. "Today the workflow is much more ergonomic and more productive as well,” she said in a press release.
Small containers holding items such as control units are stored by fully automated loops in the 19.5-meter high-bay racking units until they are needed. Fifteen fully automated rack feeders drive up to the 160,000 storage slots.