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Use Case: How Würth Austria is using its Open Shuttle to automate internal transports

08. July by DIGITAL2GO in Use Case

3 minutes

Constant growth presented Würth Austria with a major challenge: Its warehouse resources were reaching their limits and the system concept no longer met the logistical requirements. This meant that it was time to work with KNAPP to find suitable ways of optimizing processes to be able to continue guaranteeing customers maximum quality and best service. In addition to the expansion of the logistics center, the company decided to invest in flexible and innovative solutions such as the Open Shuttle. This autonomous mobile robot is responsible for internal transports, supporting its human co-workers. 

Würth has been specializing in trading assembly and fastening materials for almost sixty years. With a product range in excess of 125,000 items, the company based in Lower Austria’s Böheimkirchen also supplies its approximately 55,000 customers with tools, chemical and technical products as well as goods related to occupational safety. Its comprehensive portfolio is available in more than 55 Würth stores across Austria as well as through its online store, generating sales of EUR 220 million in 2019 for the company that employs some 900 people. In order to efficiently meet the high demands on productivity and service performance, it was in need of appropriately optimized intra-logistics processes and the smart automation of certain processes.

Open Shuttle: Autonomous mobile goods transport robot

In the course of expanding and modernizing its logistics center, various stand-alone solutions were implemented that complement each other in a meaningful way, thus greatly increasing the efficiency of the entire process. One of these tools is the Open Shuttle, an autonomous mobile robot that transports goods across the warehouse or production hall, so that employees don’t need to take unnecessary trips. The Open Shuttle independently and safely transports containers from point A to point B along the fastest route, detects obstacles and navigates through narrow aisles thanks to contour detection. If several robots are used, they are linked with each other and distribute the tasks optimally. That way, the Open Shuttle with the shortest way to travel always receives the respective transport job.

Faultless delivery thanks to Open Shuttle

In the case of Würth Austria, the Open Shuttle is used whenever faultless deliveries to customers are required. Ready-packed boxes that show a discrepancy when weighed have to be taken to another control workstation and the order is being double checked there. The Open Shuttle takes care of this task so that the employees are free to really concentrate on their work and don’t have to take unnecessary trips: The driverless, smart robot picks up the boxes that need to be checked and takes them to an employee from the shipping line. On its way, the Open Shuttle needs neither visual nor physical aids and specifically avoids people and other vehicles. This not only makes this robot particularly safe, its automated transport tasks also take physical strain off the employees, increasing workplace satisfaction.

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