Business processes are becoming increasingly digitalised, creating a need for autonomously operated trucks. To this end, Linde Material Handling (MH) is looking to the future of intralogistics and reveals what innovations the material handling industry may see in the future. Linde has responded to the future trends of automation and customisation by carrying out research on future models and ideas and is already able to automate several trucks in a multitude of different ways.
By bridging the gap between today’s existing technologies and future developments Linde has already showcased innovations in a range of areas including connectivity, automation, individualisation and power systems.
At World of Materials Handling (WoMH), a recent customer event, Linde revealed what a warehouse of the future may look like.
This included goods that can automatically transport themselves, trucks which generate more energy while operating than they consume, and the creation of a completely networked warehouse through cluster logistics.
Also featured at WoMH was Linde’s Factory Train, which takes pallets to shelves automatically without the need for an operator to control the equipment. The process comprises of an order picking forklift taking a pallet from a shelf, transferring it onto a pallet stacker and then onto a roller conveyor. Once the pallet has passed along the roller conveyor to the other end, it is received by a waiting Linde Factory Train, which takes the pallet to another shelf.
In the future, applications like these will be linked together through a networked system that will connect the warehouse management system. There, the data will be analysed, operating commands generated and employees given an overview of the position of all of the trucks or goods at any time.
Tobias Zierhut, Head of Product & Service Marketing at Linde MH, said: “We are currently developing automated solutions for towing, transporting and storing. The completely automated interaction of various truck models is something we’re expecting in the future, in particular the link between production and the warehouse.”
In terms of mass production, Linde offers the widest range of products and services in the industry. No two trucks are the same and customers can choose from 85 product lines with more than 6,000 variants.
One new truck showcased at this year’s WoMH was the Linde Roadster, an electric counterbalanced forklift truck with a special clear view. The truck’s A-column has been removed to give an unobstructed view of the driving path and surroundings. Forces acting on the mast are absorbed by the overhead tilting cylinders, and directed backwards. The panoramic armoured glass roof also gives a clear view of the load being stored and provides protection against falling loads. The Roadster successfully completed tests at Fraport Cargo Services GmbH. The truck’s clear view meant the operator at Fraport no longer needed a signaller, often required for safety reasons.
The new electric pallet truck with a standing operator is versatile and can be tailored to different applications. With a driving seat to the side of the fork (like the Linde T14 S and T25 S) and steering wheel or in front of the forks (like the Linde T20SF and T25 SF), it can also be made into a double decker vehicle (like the D12 S/SF). Measuring 770 millimetres, the compact chassis can load freight trucks efficiently and transport goods quickly over a long distance. Its fully decoupled workstation has been developed to enhance driver comfort and keep both truck and human vibrations to a minimum.
Energy is also a key focal point for Linde and we’re already developing our own clean, efficient energy alternatives having launched new drive technology systems including lithium-ion batteries and fuel cells.
Charging, maintenance and battery changes on electric forklifts all take time and Linde has developed trucks with alternative systems offering rapid charging and refuelling, in addition to better energy efficiency.
Massimiliano Sammartano, Vice President Sales & Service, Marketing & Operations at Linde MH said: “Data architecture is an exciting new concept for warehouse logistics. We’ll soon be part of an industry where goods will be able to communicate with the equipment that is being used to transport them.”