With new trailers and a cloud-based tugger train guidance system, Linde Material Handling (MH) is making horizontal packaged goods transportation even more attractive. Innovative functions for C-frame and Bridge-Frames ensure greater safety and flexibility.
The tugger train guidance system determines the optimal route for drivers, reduces error rates and employee training time, and responds to order-related changes with adjustments in real time. Thus, even complex tasks become manageable and can be reliably carried out.
Horizontal goods transportation by means of tugger trains is particularly advantageous where large quantities of different parts and components have to be delivered over long distances to the right place at the right time. This is the case in the automotive industry, as one example, where each vehicle consists of many thousands of components that are assembled piece by piece until the finished car finally rolls off the production line.
“Here, bundled material transport using tugger trains makes more economic and ecological sense than individual transports and furthermore, they are in line with the Lean philosophy,” explains Mal Rexhepi, Product Manager Automation & Load Train Solutions. Further advantages of production supply enabled by tugger trains include the reduction of in-house traffic volume and the associated lower accident potential combined with plannable processes.
New frame features
From September 2021, Linde MH will be launching new trailer models for the Linde Logistic Train – including the LT-C with C-frame, the LT-B with Bridge-Frame and the LT-BM with Bridge-Frame and movable middle support. The improved frame functions ensure even greater safety and flexibility.
One new feature is the innovative and patented lifting profile mechanism for the Bridge-Frames. It not only enables the transport of a wide variety of rolling racks and trolleys, but also, with the appropriate design, the lifting of pallets without load carriers if these have been placed in the trailer with a pallet truck, for example. For this purpose, the lifting profiles are initially concealed in the trailer frame at the beginning of the loading process so that the operator can push in the trolleys unhindered.
The optional middle support, which can be moved freely against the direction of travel, allows the use of several different container sizes in the same trailer without significantly increasing the train length.
The highlight of the C-frames is the fork stabilisation control. The patented solution prevents the forks from sagging even under the highest possible loads and thus ensures safe transport of the load. The ergonomic ejection mechanism is another helpful feature: When the driver releases the lock using the foot switch, the load is pushed away from the back of the forks, making it easier to pull the load carriers out of the trailer.
All Linde MH frame models are fitted with a mechanical load locking mechanism as standard: As soon as a container is placed in the frame, the lock closes automatically. When the driver gets into the train, the frames are automatically lifted, upon leaving the driver’s platform, the load is lowered. When the tugger train is moving, the lowering of the frames is technically impossible. Conversely, it is impossible for the operator to set the tugger train in motion with the frames lowered.
For outdoor use, the frames can – beside many other options – be equipped with a weather guard to protect the load. The mechanical all-wheel steering ensures the high directional stability of the tugger trains: No matter how many trailers are used, the entire train remains on track. Thanks to a standardised interface, the trailers are even prepared for semi- or fully automated operations. Trolleys have also recently been included in the scope of delivery. They are available in various designs and can be further equipped, for example with modular rack superstructures.
The changeover from individual to bundled material transportation brings with it many advantages – as well as greater complexity with regard to logistical planning for warehouse employees. “It is necessary to organise routes and load carrier changes as efficiently as possible in order to avoid time losses and errors. To accomplish this, the entire cycle from upstream production to final assembly must be carefully planned and coordinated,” explains Oldrik Wagner, Product Manager Software Solutions. “With our tugger train guidance system, we can now provide step-by-step support to operators in carrying out their tasks.”
The tugger train control system receives all relevant information on material transports from the ERP or WMS system without any media discontinuity. From this, it generates individual driving orders and displays them on a large touch screen in the cockpit. Order by order, the drivers are directed to the respective assembly workstations along the predetermined, optimal route.
This process is preceded by the configuration of the tugger trains, trailers, stops, routes and reports by means of multilingual software. Via the dashboard, warehouse managers have an overview of the entire application and can trigger key figures and reports to further optimise its use.