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Facility for loading 10,000 beverage crates per hour

South Korean bottler Login Beverage commissioned Vollert Anlagenbau to deliver a semi-automatic loading station for trucks. The special-purpose loader can move up to 180 pallets carrying 10,000 beverage crates per hour and does the work of three forklift trucks. Twenty different types of truck are serviced.

It was not only important that the facility have fast turnover times (4 pallets can be loaded per minute); it also had to overcome the heavy weight involved and be able to navigate in tight quarters. The pallets can carry 1.5 tons each. Four pallets are moved in each run, which equates to a per-hour capacity of 270 tons. The bottling plant used by Login Beverage is located in Goyang, 20 km north of Seoul, and is designed for round-the-clock operation (3 shifts). The company was ultimately looking for a space-saving, high-performance loading solution to replace the need for conventional forklift trucks.

Semi-automatic operation accelerates the loading process

Sixty percent of loading occurs automatically to achieve a high turnover. Four fork prongs receive the pallets from a chain conveyor, which transports the water crates out of the warehouse. The pallets are then lifted, moved, and placed onto the truck by the crane operator who is assisted by two camera systems (one to the left and right of the forks) to ensure optimal positioning. Pressure sensors automatically detect when the prongs have been unweighted as the forks descend and make it possible to reverse at exactly the right lift height. This saves time and rules out damage, since the operator does not have to make any manual adjustments. The loader returns to its starting position fully automatically and the entire process is repeated. The controller that manages these activities also comes from Weinsberg.

Especially unique: wing-body trucks with folding doors

The facility was designed as a flexible mobile solution, which enables different types of truck to be loaded efficiently. Loading compartments up to 15 metres in length can be serviced. Hydraulically adjustable fork prongs can only move two pallets at a time. "Our Truckloader replaces three forklift trucks when operated under normal conditions. Not only does it save space, but is capable of lifting 6 tons and is much faster thanks to user-friendly automation", explains Lars Strobel, project manager in charge at Vollert. "We had already developed a similar unit for loading pallets of fertilizer onto freight wagons for BASF." Another special feature is the custom hydraulic system that allows the forklift arm to be pivoted forward by 18 degrees for loading wing-body trucks with hinged side doors, a frequent sight in Korea. An automatic levelling mechanism ensures that the forks always remain horizontal with no manual adjustment being required. The pallets can thus also be easily manoeuvred onto trucks with restricted side access. The running gear spans approximately 10 metres.

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