Global logistics company relies on systems from AKL-tec

Efficient and correct distribution of goods in warehouses saves time and money. In the course of the construction of a new distribution center in the Netherlands, a large, globally operating courier and logistics company started looking for solutions to optimize its own goods traffic and logistics processes in the future. The parcel and express service provider quickly became aware of AKL-tec GmbH, located in Alsdorf (Rhineland-Palatinate), which was available from then on with advice, action and individually suitable solutions. For the logistics company, moving and sorting palletized goods is part of their daily business. The particular challenge is, among other things, to detect under-declared freight and thus to increase the commercial profitability and efficiency of the processes.

Flying Forklift records data as it passes by

In the new transshipment hall, two APACHE Flying Forklift IMO (in motion only) systems and an APACHE p8 Dual Zone system from AKL-tec GmbH are therefore now used for freight processing and measurement. The basis for the distribution system to be used is formed by forklifts equipped with an industrial-grade tablet, a long-range barcode hand scanner and a corresponding weighing system in the form of weighing forks. “We have developed an app or rather a graphical user interface that maps the entire process directly on the forklift and leaves no room for logistical errors. In this way, we are aiming for a holistic approach, which is what the customer wanted from us,” explains AKL-tec Managing Director Rüdiger Elben. When the freight is picked up, the freight label is first read by means of a hand scanner and the freight is weighed so that this data can be stored for the vehicle. Finally, the expected destination is determined from the barcode. In addition, the driver can see on the tablet display which measuring system he should use. “The forklifts move around the warehouse in an internal traffic circle that passes both the unloading point and the staging point. In this traffic circle, the Flying Forklift IMO systems, which can measure goods dimensions of maximum 210 cm x 210 cm in length and width in a legally relevant way, are integrated on two opposite sides,” Rüder Elben explains the setup of the distribution system. The forklift traveling to its destination usually automatically passes a Flying Forklift checkpoint and has the transported object measured here. The intelligent system relies on an uncomplicated and uninterrupted measurement process that records the dimensions of the freight as it passes by. The forklift driver only has to slow down. Once the speed has been adapted to the measurement speed, three laser probes detect the cargo in terms of its length, width, height and volume. At the same time, the camera detects the forklift. Once the forklift has been identified, it is hidden during the measurement so that only the relevant freight data can be determined. At the same time, two photos of the freight are taken. The background, which does not belong to the freight, is faded out or blurred by means of blurring. Once all the defined values have been successfully recorded, the completed data record is transmitted to the customer’s archiving systems and IT system. Subsequently, all values can be used for further optimization and planning of the processes. Since the systems from AKL-tec are ‘legal-for-trade’, there is also the advantage that the collected data can be used for billing, should the transport costs be quantified by weight, for example. “The APACHE Flying Forklift is a very fast and effective variant for recording freight data in a legally relevant way,” AKL-tec Managing Director Rüdiger Elben explains the system, adding that freight data collection here takes place without any time delay.

Double is better

If an object cannot be measured dynamically during passage, Plan B comes into the game – the APACHE p8 Dual Zone. Here, all goods are recorded that prove to be too large or cannot be transported stably when passing through the Flying Forklift. In this case, the driver is sent directly to the fast large goods measuring system for measurement. If the measurement is already judged to be oversized at the staging point, the forklift operator can also drive directly to the dual zone for static measurement. As soon as the weighing and measuring is completed, the employee receives the information of the target location, since all data is also recorded simultaneously here and, as with the Flying Forklift, fed directly into the customer system. A particular advantage of this system is that the freight can be measured in almost any shape and size. As the name already suggests, the Dual Zone involves two independent measurement zones. While, for example, object A is placed in a free measuring zone for the purpose of determining values, the next oversized object can already be placed in the second zone. In this way, the throughput in the process is significantly increased. If additional requirements arise, the measuring area can also be extended individually and flexibly: for example, both measuring zones can be combined to form one large area if long products are involved. Here, too, all measurement data is legally relevant due to the conformity assessment of the measurement system and can be used for billing.

For the express service provider, it is all about speed, accuracy and efficiency – requirements that are fully met by the systems of AKL-tec GmbH. “Intensive discussions took place in the run-up and the solution was worked out together. It was very important to us that our customer is prepared for all challenges in terms of freight measurement, that the processes flow and that there are no hiccups anywhere,” says company boss Rüdiger Elben and adds: “The local conditions as well as the common freight characteristics have a great influence on the optimal equipment of the freight measurement system. Responding to this appropriately and creating optimal processes is our profession.” By combining the two Flying Forklift systems with the APACHE p8 Dual Zone, an overall solution was implemented that ensures smooth processes.