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Supply Chain

Open Road For KNAPP’s Open Shuttles

Open Shuttles, the latest innovation from KNAPP, are driverless transport vehicles that have been developed to find their way through warehouses safely and quickly. The vehicles are successfully operating at the Grene central warehouse in Denmark.

In July 2012, Grene decided to undertake a comprehensive expansion and retrofit of its existing warehouse system, to keep up with growing market demands and to become equipped for multichannel. Along with the heart of the solution, the goods-to-person picking system OSR Shuttle, Open Shuttles are now independently handling complex transport jobs.

Flexible In Every Situation

Grene was looking for a flexible, space-effective opportunity to connect different warehouse areas. In this case, a static conveying system was out of the question – there were long distances to be covered, and the space had to remain clear for personnel, forklift trucks, and other transport vehicles.

The Open Shuttles by KNAPP were the perfect alternative to a static conveying system. For more than six months now, three of the automatically guided vehicles have been on the job more than ten hours a day, quickly and flexibly handling transport orders.

Open Shuttles are used for a variety of tasks in the warehouse, from supplying the workstations with replenishment to transporting completed parts for storage in the OSR Shuttle. The integration of the shuttles into the existing warehouse was efficient and easy. Start-up, including training and on-site assistance, was handled within just two weeks.

“The transport processes could be set up very quickly and flexibly with the Open Shuttles," said Dennis Pallesen, head of the Grene Denmark warehouse. "This saves us time, and we can work much more efficiently. Our warehouse workers view working with the Open Shuttles very positively.”

Fast, But Safe

Open Shuttles are distinguished, above all, by their intelligent and safe vehicle movement. Through their innovative dimensions scanners, Open Shuttles detect static as well as moveable objects and react intuitively. They independently plan the fastest route and find alternative routes when blocked by an obstacle, without optical or physical aides.

This guarantees a safe and flexible interaction between people, other transport vehicles and the Open Shuttles. The free-moving vehicles work according to the principle of 'swarm intelligence'. The Open Shuttle fleet precisely adjusts to the work requirements and takes care of tasks independently in the different areas of the warehouse. The 'swarm' is where the work is.

The user interface for monitoring the Open Shuttles is designed to be especially intuitive and user-friendly. In keeping with the easyUse principle by KNAPP, the customer can configure everything easily and independently. This configuration includes activating or deactivating shuttles, making changes to the layout, changing paths, locking warehouse areas, and much more.

For more information, visit www.knapp.com.

© 2015 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones.

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