Collaboration on automated forklift trucks
Linde Material Handling extends its cooperation with robotics developer Balyo for a further ten years
The German manufacturer and solutions provider Linde Material Handling and the French robotics specialist Balyo are extending their successful collaboration. A ten-year contract has been concluded to seal the deal.
Despite still being science fiction in the automotive industry, once aspect of the internal material flow has long been science fact: in many warehouses, there are no longer any operator-controlled forklift trucks, but instead automated warehouse trucks. “Time is coming where humans will soon not have to do low value repetitive tasks and will focus on higher value creation”,” says Tobias Zierhut, Head of Product Management Warehouse Trucks at Linde Material Handling. The advantages are obvious: robot-controlled trucks do not need to take breaks, always work at the same speed and level of quality, and do not cause accidents.
Linde Material Handling has been working in close cooperation with the French robotics solution provider Balyo to develop and produce automated trucks since 2015. All warehouse trucks from the Linde portfolio are now available as automated variants. Demand on the market is rising all the time according to Zierhut: “We are well beyond the pilot phase and have concluded the first contracts with major clients around the world, who we will be supplying with automated trucks.” He claims that the use of self-driving equipment in multi-shift operation in particular has now become the norm in many places and also quickly pays off for customers.
Together, Linde MH and Balyo have become the technology leaders in the industry. The equipment’s prompt readiness for operation and excellent indoor orientation have above all won over customers. “We are proud to create the most advanced solutions with Linde. Our technology do not rely on reflectors, induction cables or magnets mounted in the warehouse,” explains Fabien Bardinet, CEO of Balyo. During installation, the area of use (usually a warehouse) is first mapped out and the information loaded onto the truck, which is then able to orient itself using invisible, laser-controlled geo-navigation.
The market for self-driving material flow products is growing rapidly. “We expect that by 2025 almost a fifth of our forklift trucks will be automated,” says Zierhut, reporting that in recent years, the demand has more than doubled. A lack of skilled personnel is also said to play a role: “Automated trucks make it possible for employees to focus on demanding tasks, instead of having to carry out the same repetitive processes,” says Zierhut.