Jungheinrich’s logistics systems account for a quarter of new business – from entire warehousing systems to process optimisation. In 2015, this prompted the company to create a new board division. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Rosenbach, Member of the Board of Management Logistics Systems, talks to Hamburg News in an interview.
A bust of founder, Dr. Friedrich Jungheinrich, and an adjacent golden forklift decorate the lobby of Jungheinrich’s headquarters in Hamburg-Wandsbek. Designed by executives during a conference in 2015, the artwork is synonymous with corporate culture and the transformation that Jungheinrich AG is undergoing. The company is aiming for EUR 4 billion in turnover by 2020 – an ambitious 33 per cent in growth over four years. In 2015, group sales came to some EUR 2.75 billion. Rosenbach, 57, noted: “The forecasts for 2016 are between EUR 3 billion to EUR 3.1 billion. Today, we are number three worldwide in intra logistics. We want to keep this position and become Europe’s number one intra logistics brand.”
Intralogistics 4.0 already a reality
Jungheinrich has always been likened to an ant which is now syonomous with forklift trucks. Jungheinrich is one of the leading providers of integrated intra logistics solutions such as large automated warehouses with stacker cranes and 40-metre high shelving, driverless vehicles steered by software and only a few people.
“The keyword Industry 4.0 usually refers to dreams of the future. At Jungheinrich, Intralogistics 4.0 is already today’s reality,” Rosenbach stressed. The speed of innoviaton is rising continually. Digitalisation and automatisation of entire value chains and the intelligent networking of man and machine are at the centre of events. Apart from technical developments, customers’ expectations are driving the rapid trend. “In the era of ecommerce, keywords like ‘same day delivery’ are presenting traders and logisticians with big challenges.“ Fully and partially automated warehouses are an effective response. “We have noticed a disproportionately rising demand for intelligent logistic systems,” said Rosenbach.
Huge optimization potential in assistance systems
Not surprisingly, fully or partially automated forklift trucks hold huge optimization potential for drive and pick times. “During practical tests, software-backed, warehouse navigation for narrow-aisle trucks lead to a 25 per cent increase in efficiency,” said Rosenbach. Warehouse navigation ensures that the pilot reaches a certain storage spot along the aisle, aided by the software, and can take corners easily. “The assistance system also helps avoid errors – finding a displaced palett takes time and effort. Rosenbach completed his Ph.D., entitled “Driverless Transport Systems”, in 1988.
Ideal strategy for customized logistics systems
Regardless of the forklift truck, the aim is always to find the right system for the customer, Rosenbach stressed, adding, “Every warehouse is different. Thus, each logistics system is customized to meet the customer’s requirements. The number of aisles, the height of the shelves, the measurements and weight of the stored goods some of which are commissioned individually or per pallet and have a high or low inventory turnover frequency – all that goes towards developing an ideal strategy for the customer. And that is all steered by the software or ‘brain’. That is one of the particularities of Jungheinrich’s offer.” To achieve this, Jungheinrich bought Austria’s ISA GmbH, which specialises in intralogistic software, in 2013. Meanwhile, the firm has been integrated into the company under the name Jungheinrich-System-Lösungen. Then in 2015, MIAS, a leading provider of shelving systems was added.
Key issues of energy efficiency in intralogistics sector
Jungheinrich’s innovations include the latest generation of driverless vehicles such as the EZS 350a electric tow tractor or adding three modules to improve security, maintenance and battery management to the fleet management system ISM Online. The company is also researching electric mobility. “Energy efficiency is a key issue in the intra logistics sector,” Rosenbach believes and points to the outstanding energy efficiency of Jungheinrich’s forklift truck. He added: “At the moment, Jungheinrich is the only producer offering everything from the loading station, energy storage to the driver units.” The company is also striving to expand its leading position in lithium ion technology. And In 2017, almost all new vehicles will be available with the technology.
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