Mr. Wack, what role does intralogistics play in the context of digitization (Industry 4.0) and Smart Factories?

Industry 4.0 refers to processes organized in self-controlled networks where decisions are automatically made decentralized and based on automated data exchange. Digitization or Industry 4.0 creates what is often referred to as a “Smart Factory”: machines are talking to machines and, e.g. call for service by themselves. They will also call for replenishment of raw material as well as transport capacity for manufactured goods. Hence, a flawlessly working material flow is vital for Smart Factories.

How can companies enable their intralogistics already today for the fourth industrial revolution?

It is crucial to abandon any manual data collection activities. The flow of data must be automated and digitized (no paper). It also must happen parallel to the physical flow of material. In other words: the production process and process for transportation of goods need to automatically communicate with each other in real time.

What real life solution do you offer for such a requirement?

IdentPro has focused on warehouses that employ lift trucks, tugger trains, underslung cranes and similar. Exactly for this kind of material handling equipment we have developed the 3D Inventory Tracking System identplus®. Based on pinpoint located lift truck positions the system calculates x,y,z-coordinates for goods in the warehouse and placed at production lines. identplus® identifies those loads automatically solely by their x,y,z-coordinates which effectively replace barcode labels and RFID tags. It also communicates automatically with IT systems.

What innovations do you have in the pipeline?

The future of intralogistics is black. In a not too far future all material transports are carried out by AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles) in merely heated, unlit halls. Our next milestone will be an unguided, freely driving AV using our approved laser localization.

How will the cutover to a fully automated intralogistics put into shape?

Many companies will not be able to replace manned lift trucks with AGVs in only one step completely. Instead there will be tasks already today where AGVs come in handy and other more complicated tasks like loading/unloading lorries and railway wagons that are quicker and safer executed by a human being. The 3D Inventory Tracking System identplus® however integrates both resources to allocate transportation orders the best possible manner.

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