EPOLOG relies on multi-dimensional measuring system from AKL-tec

EPOLOG Exportverpackung und Logistik GmbH has been the specialist for the individual building blocks of the shipping chain since 2002 and maintains packing stations at important transport hubs. In addition, a comprehensive service package in the field of packaging and shipping is part of the portfolio of the medium-sized company. The focus is on the packaging of machinery and equipment and their worldwide shipment by road, sea, rail and air. With packaging teams operating throughout Europe, EPOLOG carries out packaging at its own facilities in Germany, throughout Europe and at the suppliers and manufacturers of the machinery and equipment. In Hamburg, the service provider operates a container packing station where packed and unpacked goods are stowed and loaded in containers for sea shipment.

Different product dimensions as a challenge

Every day, 70 to 150 trucks arrive in Hamburg, and their goods have to be stowed efficiently in several hundred containers per week to save space. “At no other of our locations is such a high number of different goods delivered. The challenge here lies in the different product dimensions, as we transport everything from individual special machines to complete factory plants, such as gypsum works, plasterboard plants or solar factories. From small cardboard boxes weighing less than five kilograms to machine or plant components up to 30 meters, a diameter of 4.50 meters and a weight of up to 180 tons, anything is possible,” explains Stephan Wiegers, Managing Director of EPOLOG Exportverpackung und Logistik GmbH. To minimize the risk of transport and damage, the company focuses on direct transport routes with few reloads or onward shipments. For this reason, the loading of the respective containers must be planned precisely before shipment. Previously, each incoming shipment was measured with a scale and folding rule, recorded and then a loading plan drawn up. Given the large number of deliveries, this is a very time-consuming process in which errors can also creep in. “I wanted to optimize the process and was looking for a secure, faster way to process the data, which is transferred directly to our ERP system. We then made contact with AKL-tec at a trade fair,” says the managing director. A short time later, the responsible persons from AKL-tec visited the container packing station at the Hamburg Sea location and submitted an individual offer, which was immediately accepted. In addition to the direct data transfer after the measurement, the packaging expert also attached particular importance to photos of the condition of the goods upon delivery. The aforementioned requirements are met by the compact yet flexible APACHE measuring system, which is used in the goods receiving department.

Measurement up to 12 meters

APACHE is used as a double system so that either smaller goods can be measured in parallel on two zones of 6 x 2.50 x 2.80 meters each and weighed up to ten tons each. For larger objects, the length to be measured can be doubled to twelve meters and the weight to 20 tons. This makes APACHE particularly suitable for machine and plant components, some of which are bulky. For measurement, the freight is placed on a scale embedded in the floor and then recorded by two laser measuring heads attached to a driven measuring beam. In parallel, a camera photographs the freight. “Immediately after completion of the goods receipt, the measurement data and weights as well as the photos taken are available in our ERP program. This has significantly accelerated data entry and made the process more secure by eliminating manual data entry,” Wiegers is pleased to report. All measurement data is legally relevant due to the conformity assessment of the measurement system and can therefore be used for billing. This is important because, according to the managing director, deviations are actually normal. However, if they are too large or jeopardize container stowage because the goods may no longer be containerizable, a second measurement is arranged. Serious deviations are then clarified with the customer. “We are very satisfied with APACHE and the cooperation, which was very cooperative and competent. The company also responded to requests for changes and adaptations, as optimizations had to be made due to our specific application purpose, which were solved and implemented quickly and without complications. After a familiarization phase, my employees confirmed that APACHE is user-friendly and that the processes have improved considerably,” concludes Wiegers with satisfaction.