Automated dispatch assistants at BENTELER

Paderborn/Salzburg, January 18, 2020. BENTELER is increasingly driving the digitalization of production sites as part of its own Industry 4.0 strategy. In the dispatch center at the Schloss Neuhaus site, intra-logistic operational processes are automated and made even more productive by the use of automatic guided vehicles (AGVs). This automation also reduces transport damage and increases occupational safety.

"The automatic guided vehicles are completely automatically controlled forklifts. Without the intervention of an employee, they take over the transport of dispatch units and the lifting of loads into our rack storage," explains Thomas Michels, Head of the Schloss Neuhaus and Paderborn Plant Network. This saves waiting times at the machines, increases productivity and improves the safety of our employees. With the automated dispatch assistants, BENTELER is taking a big step towards a digital future.

Optimization of operational processes

Following a successful test phase in 3-shift operation, the system has proven itself in everyday usage. The scope of application of the AGVs has been extended with new functions: Production scrap is now disposed of fully automatically. The AGVs pick up containers containing scrap metal, empty them into the waste container and then place them back at the starting point. The completely shielded station reduces the noise level and improves work safety.

Unique in the industry

Thanks to optimized traffic management, the availability of the entire system has been significantly increased. At peak periods, up to 250 trips are made per day and 100 tons are moved. The vehicles can even lift loads of two tons at heights of up to five meters automatically. This is unique in the industry.

"We have continuously improved the system over the past months. At locations susceptible to failure, the AGV's track guidance is now provided by magnetic points," explains Felix Schmidt, project manager for the introduction of the AGVs. "This type of navigation is new and much less sensitive than the optical version."

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