The Autopilot RAE 200 reach truck from Toyota Material Handling has been helping to organise the Rhenus warehouse in Dortmund since the end of October. The forklift can be used up to a height of 10.80 metres and is therefore the automated reach truck with the highest lifting capacity that is currently in use at a logistics warehouse in Germany.
Within a two-year project phase, the navigation and sensors have been tested, the unit has been programmed and an interface between the automatically operated reach truck and the merchandise management system has been established. Tests have also been completed during 1,000 operating hours. The technical purchasing department at Rhenus Contract Logistics, to which Rhenus Warehousing Solutions belongs, has been supporting the introduction of the project at the site. The automated reach truck initially learned how to put pallets into storage at the incoming goods area. It then handled the automatic transfer of pallets to other shelf areas during the next stage.
“The incoming goods area is the bottleneck at the warehouse. We receive a large number of full pallets at the multi-user warehouse in Dortmund. By using automated forklifts, we can increase the safety level for employees at the warehouse and achieve greater operational capacity. The automated reach truck therefore supports our employees as they perform their daily work,” says David Labusek, Technical Purchasing Project Manager at Rhenus Contract Logistics.
So far, Toyota is the only manufacturer of an automated reach truck, which can put goods into storage at a maximum height of 10.80 metres. The automated forklift, which operates around the clock, can move as many as 30 pallets every hour. The Autopilot RAE 200 has a 360-degree personnel protection system to guarantee safety.
“The vision system also checks whether the planned storage site is suitable for a pallet before it is placed in storage. The combination of the sensor logics enables smooth operations between people and the machine,” adds Günter Simonis, a Key Account Manager at Toyota Material Handling Deutschland.
The Rhenus logistics centre in Dortmund has already been expanded on several occasions and now measures 160,000 square metres. It has covered storage space measuring 85,000 square metres. This is used to store high-tech products, archived documents, window technology, audio systems, car parts, football fan items, paints and varnishes – as well as hazardous goods up to class 3 of waterpolluting substances.