The European Distribution Centre (EDC), the new logistics centre of the HARTING Technology Group, is opening in June 2019. In the future, 20,000 customer order items will be commissioned and packed daily and 10,000 packages will leave the building either as "secure air cargo" or by sea and overland route. tec.news spoke with Achim Meyer, Managing Director at HARTING Logistics, about modern intralogistics solutions, their significance for the customer as well as the significance of artificial intelligence for logistical processes.
tec.news: Which requirements does the new logistics centre meet and which ideas were realised?
The EDC is equipped with ultra-modern intralogistics solutions which are used in different areas. We have always kept our goal of attaining the highest level of automation in mind. The focus of our digitalisation efforts is on intralogistics processes. In the process, many in-house solutions are implemented, especially in the areas aligned with RFID technology. This starts with automated processes just in front of the building: To ensure a smooth process with deliveries from the outset, access control for the internal fleet of vehicles is automatically done with an RFID solution. This objective also continues with process of loading and unloading. The flow of goods through the distribution centre is completely paperless using barcodes and RFID. To ensure this is done with the lowest resource efforts, energy and machine data are recorded with MICA®, evaluated and then used to control the processes as well as for preventive maintenance.
tec.news: What does this orientation mean for the customer?
Our EDC enables us to accelerate the speed of the entire logistics process significantly. Our goal is to commission and pack order items individually according to customer requirements in the shortest time. Goods should leave our distribution centre on the same day of the order.
tec.news: To what extent will artificial intelligence play a role with regard to logistics solutions in the future?
From my point of view a potential use of AI in logistics technology lies in more intelligent storage and retrieval control. This means: The order load and capacities must be controlled in such a way that the technological potential of the system is fully exploited to the greatest possible extent. This line of thought runs through the entire logistics technology. Examples of this include autonomous route optimisation of automatic guided vehicles (AGV), the storage and retrieval controls for shuttle warehouses as well as intelligent palletising solutions for shipped items of different sizes and weights. Currently, we are still in the middle of the implementation process. Nevertheless, we wish to exploit its full potential and take these important steps into an automated digital future.