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Rocla expands the existing AGV line and introduces shorter automated reach truck – Robotics & Automation News

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Rocla AGV Solutions expands the existing AGV line and introduces ARTsmf, a shorter version of our automated reach truck, offering our customers a more versatile product range to fit their unique needs even in aisles with free space as narrow as 2.85 metres.

Warehouses are designed to maximise storage capacity and support processes as efficiently as possible. Tight aisles and high-racking solutions offer space efficiency, and to maximise that efficiency, your warehouse can also be automated.

Our goal is to offer solutions that are defined by customer needs. No matter how tight the aisles might be, to consider automation in any warehouse, AGVs must be able to perform efficiently within the same space requirements as driver-operated forklifts – and that is what Rocla AGVs are able to do.

For operations to run efficiently without compromising safety or fluency in high and tight warehouses, automation needs to be considered carefully. Now, Rocla AGV Solutions is changing the game in the warehousing industry with the new era of ART.

This new model of our automated reach truck operates in aisles with free space as narrow as 2.85 metres with the same high and heavy lifting capabilities as the original Rocla ART AGV.

A Reach Truck for every need: ART and Short ART

ART (Automated Reach Truck) is a multipurpose solution that is especially suitable for large warehousing operations. The original models, ARTmf and ARTnf, operate in aisles that have as little as 3-metre free space, can handle loads as heavy as 1600 kilograms, and have a lifting capacity of up to 10 metres.

Thanks to the new frame model, the new ARTsmf can operate in 2.85-metre free-space aisles without compromising the lifting capacity.

The lifting capacity and agile turning radius aim to fulfil the requirements of the most common warehouses and make ART a great companion for other actors in the facility.

Rocla AGV Solutions considers the operational environment from the beginning, and our philosophy is to enable work even in tight storage spaces without rack modifications:

“When introducing automation to an existing warehouse where the aisle widths might be narrow from the start, it is a massive advantage for the customer if the layout can stay the same. We keep that as a ground rule at Rocla AGV Solutions – no rack modifications are needed even when automating,” says Kari Johansson, Solutions Management Director at Mitsubishi Logisnext Europe.

In addition to narrow corridors, another aspect of space efficiency is height. Certain requirements for material handling equipment exist, especially where storage heights of 10 metres exist.

This is what our Reach Truck ART is at its best for. Its sister vehicle, short ART, a short-framed yet powerful Automated Reach Truck, brings even more opportunities to customers with very high storage facilities where space optimisation is in demand.

Without compromising the operations’ fluency or efficiency, the short model of our ART can perform high, heavy lifting in aisles with free space as narrow as 2.85 metres wide.

Together, we reach higher

Usually, the most profitable solution for the customer is automating only what is worthwhile and investing in a system where AGVs and driver-operated forklifts work together. This kind of optimal automation combines automation and human flexibility.

Matilda Suonpää, product manager, warehouse logistics solutions at Mitsubishi Logisnext Europe, says: “Mixing the manual and automated functions for optimal automation is usually the best solution for compact high warehouses as well. For example, forklift drivers may only handle goods on lower levels and AGVs on higher ones.

“When dividing the tasks, it is possible to support people’s ergonomics (no need to stare at the ceiling with a stiff neck) and the tirelessness of AGVs, for example, to optimise AGV putaway with slowly moving products around the clock.”

Optimisation brings optimal results

Besides optimal automation, route optimisation brings many opportunities and savings in tight spaces. As part of Rocla AGV Solutions, customers are provided with the Fleet Controller suite that connects with the existing WMS (Warehouse Management System) and keeps the fleet running automatically optimising the orders and routes of the material flow.

FleetController and its Order Optimizer plan the order of task execution according to the deadlines given by the WMS. To keep up with the schedule, FleetController can automatically and actively manage the task allocation between AGVs and forklifts.

This way, the solution adapts to the amount of available transportation resources – AGVs and driver–operated forklifts – always resulting in an optimised investment.

With carefully selected and tailored solutions, we are able to turn many kinds of warehouses – the highest and narrowest – into efficient and flexible places.

With the right partner, even those warehouses where the aisle width has previously prevented the use of AGVs can become more efficient with optimised, profitable operations.

Rocla AGVs cooperate with humans and communicate with them in different ways. They are designed to meet the ISO 3691-4 safety standard requirement through safety features, such as safety scanners and a dynamic stability control system.

Safety is complemented with fluency-enhancing accessories like the Proximity Detection System (PDS), which improves the co-working of AGVs, lift trucks and people in a shared warehouse environment.

The PDS allows AGVs, forklifts and people with tags to detect each other without a direct line of sight, making the AGV slow down and stop if necessary. The AGV will also pause any high-lifting activity if manual operations are handled within a close radius and resume only when it is totally safe to do so.

The efficiency of our Rocla AGVs and their capability to communicate with driver-operated forklifts, creating a safe, smooth and collaborative environment at your warehouse, is what we are after with optimal automation. Are you ready for it?

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