Panasonic Energy Belgium nv started with the production of zinc/carbon batteries in 1970 and began developing alkaline batteries in the 1980s. Since then, the factory has grown to become one of the world’s largest plants of alkaline batteries.
The development, production, and packaging of alkaline batteries are the main activities within the site. More than 400 employees are committed to producing alkaline batteries utilising the latest technologies. A focus on quality is present throughout the production process.
"Safety, health and the environment are our main priorities, followed by the quality of our products," says Eric Mertens, Project Manager at Panasonic. "Efficiency and production volume are also very important. Together, these priorities form the basis of our decision-making with a permanent emphasis on sustainability,” he continues.
“That is why Panasonic opted for automated guided warehouse trucks 15 years ago. Today we operate three Toyota automated stackers and one automated counterbalanced truck. The vehicles work alongside new conventional pallet racking from Toyota.
"We are very happy with the solutions that Toyota has offered us. This project has also been well received by our employees, " says Eric Mertens. "We have been involved from the start of the automation process and we find that Toyota’s solutions enrich the work of our employees. Labour-intensive tasks are now being taken over by the AGVs. In addition, this level of automation reduces the risk of human error and minimises potential damage to goods."
"Toyota has ensured a very smooth integration. The application engineers helped us tremendously from initial enquiry, through to installing the vehicles in our facility. For every obstacle, they provided an efficient solution with a highly professional approach and excellent support, "says Eric Mertens.
"We are constantly looking for opportunities to make improvements in our warehouse. We have automated our entire production process. There are still three manual reach trucks driving around, that we would like to replace with AGVs in the long term, as we are very satisfied with Toyota's automated solutions. We have already placed an additional order for two automated stackers to automate new flows in our production process. "