MAN auto­mates pro­duc­tion logis­tics with 12 Mag­a­zino SOTO robots

Press releases

22. February 2024


Automa­tion of mate­r­ial sup­ply at the engine plant in Nuremberg

Munich, 22 Feb­ru­ary 2024 — The Munich-based robot­ics com­pany Mag­a­zino, which belongs to Junghein­rich, has won the MAN site in Nurem­berg as a fleet cus­tomer for the SOTO robot. The SOTO mobile robot auto­mates mate­r­ial sup­ply between the ware­house and assem­bly line, trans­port­ing small load car­ri­ers (SLCs) com­pletely autonomously. Fol­low­ing a one-year pilot project, the entire small load car­rier sup­ply process for engine assem­bly and future bat­tery pro­duc­tion will be auto­mated with twelve SOTO robots start­ing in autumn of this year.

Mag­a­zino and MAN have been work­ing together closely and in an appli­ca­tion-ori­ented man­ner in the field of logis­tics automa­tion since 2019 and have already pooled their spe­cific exper­tise dur­ing the devel­op­ment phase of the SOTO robots. The func­tion­al­ity of the robots was exten­sively tested and opti­mised in live oper­a­tion dur­ing a one-year pilot phase. Based on this pos­i­tive trial, the MAN site in Nurem­berg decided to deploy a fleet of twelve SOTO robots for the com­plete automa­tion of small parts logistics.

Simon Becker, project man­ager at MAN, says: “The intro­duc­tion of SOTO marks a fur­ther step towards the future of logis­tics in the lat­est devel­op­ment of our plant in Nurem­berg. Thanks to SOTO, the pro­vi­sion­ing process with small load car­ri­ers is now also fully auto­mated. These robots are, there­fore, also exem­plary for the ongo­ing dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion and automa­tion of our plant logis­tics and thus con­tribute to our over­ar­ch­ing strat­egy. It is impres­sive to see how effi­ciently and har­mo­niously humans and robots can work together. The deci­sion to intro­duce the SOTO robots is the result of many years of trust­ful coop­er­a­tion with Mag­a­zino, which reflects our com­mit­ment to tech­no­log­i­cal excel­lence and con­tin­u­ous improvement.”

Markus Ruder, Magazino’s project man­ager for the joint project with MAN, describes the tar­get process as fol­lows: “The SOTO robots pick up the small load car­ri­ers inde­pen­dently at the auto­mated miniload ware­house and each robot brings up to 18 con­tain­ers at a time to the indi­vid­ual assem­bly lines. They work in the same envi­ron­ment as humans and other mobile robots. At the assem­bly line, the SOTO robots place the con­tain­ers, which cur­rently weigh 12kg, directly onto the shelves. The worker can then con­ve­niently access the indi­vid­ual parts for assem­bly on the oppo­site side of the rack. The SOTO robot also picks up emp­ties autonomously and takes them to the cen­tral col­lec­tion point.”

The plant in Nurem­berg uses stan­dard con­tainer for­mats by the VDA stan­dard, the Ger­man Asso­ci­a­tion of the Auto­mo­tive Indus­try. The robot’s adap­tive grip­per auto­mat­i­cally adjusts to the cor­re­spond­ing con­tainer size and, like humans, also flex­i­bly moves to dif­fer­ent heights of the trans­fer racks. The robot uses machine-read­able codes on the shelves and labels on the con­tain­ers for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. It receives the trans­port orders directly from the ware­house man­age­ment system.

While assem­bly lines in the man­u­fac­tur­ing indus­try are highly auto­mated today, replen­ish­ment in the vast major­ity of ware­houses still takes place man­u­ally. Pre­vi­ous solu­tions, such as tug­ger trains or sim­ple auto­mated guided vehi­cles (AGVs), do not fully auto­mate the process, as man­ual labor is required for load­ing and unload­ing. At MAN’s Nurem­berg site, the small load car­ri­ers are already auto­mat­i­cally de-pal­letised after deliv­ery and stored in the auto­mated miniload ware­house. With SOTO, MAN is now automat­ing the “last mile” in the small load car­rier pro­vi­sion process with the aim that the first human action in the process is the trans­fer of the empty small load car­ri­ers from the full load chute to the emp­ties chute of the rack by the assem­bly work­ers, from where the robot col­lects the small load car­ri­ers again.

The SOTO robot com­bines these ele­men­tary logis­ti­cal process steps in a sin­gle, fully autonomous solu­tion: pick­ing up small load car­ri­ers of dif­fer­ent sizes from a ware­house, autonomous trans­port of sev­eral small load car­ri­ers from source to sink and deliv­ery to flow racks close to the line at dif­fer­ent heights. Its capa­bil­i­ties include col­lect­ing emp­ties and rotat­ing small load car­ri­ers. In exist­ing envi­ron­ments, the robot works safely in the same area as humans. These capa­bil­i­ties clearly set the SOTO robot apart from the mar­ket envi­ron­ment and enable gen­uine end-to-end automa­tion in mate­r­ial sup­ply with small load car­ri­ers for the first time.



About Magazino

About Mag­a­zino

Mag­a­zino GmbH devel­ops and builds intel­li­gent, mobile robots that can per­ceive their envi­ron­ment, make their own deci­sions and grasp objects. The autonomous robots work in par­al­lel to humans and make processes in the areas of e‑commerce, fash­ion and pro­duc­tion logis­tics more flex­i­ble and effi­cient. With 130 employ­ees at its Munich site, Mag­a­zino is one of the largest advanced robot­ics teams in Europe. Mag­a­zino has been part of Junghein­rich AG since 2023.

About Junghein­rich

As one of the world’s lead­ing providers of intral­o­gis­tics solu­tions, Junghein­rich has been advanc­ing the devel­op­ment of inno­v­a­tive and sus­tain­able prod­ucts and solu­tions for mate­r­ial flows for 70 years. As a pio­neer in the sec­tor, the Ham­burg-based fam­ily busi­ness is com­mit­ted to cre­at­ing the ware­house of the future. In 2022, Junghein­rich and its work­force of about 20,000 employ­ees gen­er­ated rev­enue of 4.76 bil­lion euros. The global net­work com­prises 12 pro­duc­tion sites and ser­vice and sales com­pa­nies in 42 coun­tries. The share is listed in the MDAX.

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