GEORG and HIT agree on strategic cooperation

by David Fleschen

Heinrich GEORG GmbH Maschinenfabrik and Hafen- und Industrietechnik GmbH as well as their sister company HIT Machine Technology GmbH have concluded a cooperation agreement for the use of autonomous industrial trucks. HIT's move-e-star low-floor transport vehicles can be used in future for in-house transport to and from the GEORG production facilities.

In the production of strip in the steel and aluminum industry and of cores or laminated cores for transformers, the transport of incoming material and discharged product repeatedly binds resources and delays processes. The same applies to mechanical engineering: When large and heavy workpieces are machined, for example aluminum ingots or turbine runners, unproductive waiting times arise time and again as means of transport are required for other tasks.

In cooperation with HIT, GEORG is now presenting a solution that corresponds to the trend towards the digitization and networking of production processes: The autonomous move-e-star low-floor transport vehicles from HIT automatically transport payloads between two and 120 tonnes - for example, coils or stacks from transformer sheets - inside production halls. They drive under the load lying on racks, take them on their own, navigate autonomously to the destination and put down the load again.

The heart of the vehicles are the drive axles, in which the traction drive, the steering and the lifting system are integrated. They make the move-e-star extremely manoeuvrable: It is freely movable in the surface, can move longitudinally, transversely or obliquely and turn "on the plate". So he can move safely even in confined spaces or driving lanes. With the dynamic level compensation he manages thresholds and gradients.

Andreas Thölke, Managing Director of HIT Machine Technology GmbH, explains how the platforms autonomously navigate: "The system is based on laser scanners in the production hall, gets an idea of ​​the current environmental conditions and determines the optimal route. We call this "natural navigation": the transport platforms do not require any rails or wires laid in the ground, nor do they place high demands on the evenness of the hall floor. "

In cooperation with GEORG, HIT supplies the vehicles, the automation technology and the interfaces to the user's control system. This issues the transport requests and receives the finished messages.

Bernd Peter Schmidt, Head of Transformers at GEORG, sees significant advantages in autonomous transport: "Cranes have a wide range of tasks to accomplish in our customers' plants and are often at full capacity. The industrial trucks create a high level of flexibility, because they act autonomously and do not bind any other means of transport - optimally controlled by software. In addition, they are ideal for retrofitting in existing plants, since no special structural measures, such as the installation of rail guides, are necessary. "

With the move-e-star, GEORG is taking another step towards digitization: the new transport platforms can easily be integrated into digitally networked environments, paving the way for Industry 4.0.

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