AKL-tec: Invention of pallet measurement more than 20 years ago
AKL-tec GmbH is a family-run company based in Alsdorf / Sieg, whose core business comprises of measuring devices for logistic objects. With the global sale of its systems, the company has secured a leading international position in a niche segment over the years.
The measuring systems from AKL-tec are used by logistics providers such as parcel services, mail-order companies, airfreight and forwarding agencies. In focus here are tailor-made solutions for the determination of geometric data such as length, width and height as well as the weight. In addition to software development for multi-sensor systems, the company offers everything. Thus, the mechanical and electro-technical construction also belong to the company’s expertise.
Today AKL-tec is a leading expert in the field of measuring pallet freight. The general cargo measurement is a market, that the company was not only allowed to characterize, but also had to be reinvented over and over again. To understand this, we turn back the clock more than 20 years ago.
In the early nineties, the combination of a partner’s rather coincidental information, that objects can be measured with infrared scanning technology and the existing affinity for digital image processing, helped AKL-tec to develop a niche product. The small business was supported in its work by a development grant of 18,000 marks. The first prototype was designed and the innovation received the name: “APACHE”. The freight volume metre, which sounds like an Indian tribe, stands for automatic pallet characteristics detection. The first unit was purchased in 1996 for the use at Berlin Airport. In airfreight, the need for such a measuring device was obvious, as volume and weight are equally relevant in charging for freight costs. Soon after, other international customers, such as the airports in Singapore and Miami, were additional customers.
The further development of the concept moved forward continuously. In 2001 a flexible and mobile measuring device was sought. The “APACHE portal movable”, which was developed in cooperation with the logistics company Dachser, met the needs of precision and adaptability for many forwarding companies.
Shortly after the turn of the millennium, the European Measuring Instruments Directive (MID 2004 / 22EG now 2014/32 / EU) came into force. Since then, type examinations have been completed in almost all regions of the world for the “calibrated” use of the measuring systems.
In 2005, AKL-tec joined forced with then US competitor Quantronix in order to found a strategic alliance which pooled the core competencies of both partners. Logistics takes place globally per se. For a small company, this was a Herculean task that could be shouldered with an agile network of international and regional partners by AKL-tec. Four years ago, according to the motto “team players around the globe”, a network of manufacturers and integrators of multi-dimensional measuring instruments emerged – the Global Dimensioning Alliance (GDA). The members are characterized by a high level of service, expertise and, last but not least, by excellent access to the measuring systems of CubiScan and AKL-tec. A continuous exchange of experiences and views creates an innovative environment. Another milestone in the company’s history is the development of the “APACHE flying forklift”. The system saves time for logisticians, as the pallet is measured and weighed without stopping the forklift. The ever-increasing demand allows production to increase to several hundred measuring devices per year. Well over 1,000 installed systems are used around the globe. Using to the innovative invention of pallet measurement, logisticians and freight forwarders are able to bill the freight charges precisely.
1995: Prototype pallet measuring device
1996: First APACHE system sold
2001: Customers in the area of general cargo forwarding agent
2004: Freight measurement becomes verifiable
2005: Strategic alliance with CubiScan
2013: Association with manufacturers and integrators of multidimensional measuring instruments
2016: Development “APACHE flying forklift”
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