Glud & Marstrand is a global leader in packaging solutions for the food industry and is owned by the Mexican Envase Universales Group. Glud & Marstrand's factory in Odense comprises 85,000 m2 of production, warehouse and administration, divided into several buildings with long transport distances that contain a mix of corners, narrow passages and outdoor stretches.
Glud & Marstrand supplies customers all over the world with modern packaging solutions. This requires efficient and safe internal logistics, confirm logistics managers Nikolaj Sonne and Claus Graff Gade. "Our transport routes were too long and required more efficient internal logistics between printing and production." The company has not only experienced positive growth for the last couple of years. At the same time, there was also a need to improve safety to avoid accidents at work. The logistics managers contacted a number of AGV suppliers and eventually chose to partner with Toyota Material Handling, which they both already had a positive experience with.
Toyota delivered a comprehensive solution that consisted of two automated stackers, a reflector-based route and runways that act as storage of pallets with plates. The AGVs automatically collect the plates and transport them to the desired locations. The AGV implementation, a so-called A-to-B solution, consisted of two phases. Early 2017, two AGVs were deployed to handle part of the transport internally in the printing industry. "Many security measures associated with handling and transporting the sharp-edged plates on heavy pallets had to be taken into account," says Claus Graff Gade.
In the second phase the printing area was connected to the finished goods coming from the can production. This resulted in a total driving distance of 565 metres, not only indoor but also outdoor over the loading bay, crossing the traffic of lorries that pick up or deliver goods to the factory. "An extra layer of asphalt on the outdoor driving range of the AGV ensures a surface that is even, stable and at the same level as the indoor areas. We have also installed light signals to ensure that AGVs and lorries do not collide."
The logistics managers confirm that the AGVs work both technically and safely in an excellent way, which proves to be a major improvement in internal logistics efficiency. "The biggest challenge the AGVs bring has not been technology but behaviour and culture on the work floor. As logistics managers, we have both emphasised in our communication that the target is not to make any redundancies and that we take things step by step," says Nikolaj Sonne.
"These are merely our first steps in the automation journey, and the experience we have so far is valuable to us since we're planning to automate more and more in the future," says Nikolaj Sonne. The employees can see that it creates high workplace safety, eliminates repetitive workflows and contributes to efficiency. So, instead of posing a threat to jobs, Glud & Marstrand sees automation as a protection for the workplace in the increasing business competition.