The time window for delivery was clearly defined from the time the order was placed. For the installation and commissioning of the new AGV M4s, which were purchased to replace the aging M2 fleet, the summer shutdown of the plant was announced. This was scheduled for June, so the end of May was set as the time window for delivery of the new robots. Accurate planning of ordering, manufacturing, packaging, loading and freight routes was therefore of utmost importance. As early as February 2023, some of the material was sent on its way by ocean-going container. For the most part, these were WALA industrial floor panels, which were required for the order. Of the 206 m² that had been scheduled, about 160 m² were sent across the pond by cargo ship. The rest of the material and the AGVs followed in the hold of four American Airlines flights from Munich to Charlotte.
Excellent teamwork in manufacturing and packaging
The production of the AGVs was scheduled close to the planned shipping date. Within four weeks, our manufacturing team assembled 86 mobile transport robots, followed by quality control and pre-packaging. The assembly process of the subassemblies once again clearly demonstrated the advantages of our series production. All available spatial resources were used to store the finished AGVs. The internal logistics behind this were immense, as ongoing operations could not be impeded by the assembled units already lashed to floor plates. Our assembly team did an excellent job here. On time for the agreed pickup date, 100 boxes were ready for collection. Within only nine hours, the accessories had been safely stowed in specially manufactured transport boxes (LxWxH: 180 cm x 80 cm x 100 cm). The greatest achievement, however, was the packing of the 86 transport robots. The AGVs were packed within 32 hours and provided with air freight and dangerous goods labels. The finished boxes were numbered consecutively and, in order not to interfere with day-to-day business, were not deposited in the warehouse until the day before delivery.
Off to the airport
The transport to the airport was handled by two semitrailer trucks. Loading the crates required all the experience and manpower of our warehouse team. In order to be able to place the crates precisely on the tail lift, first one side of the trailer was completely loaded via the loading ramp with the help of a lifting ant. Then the second side could be loaded with the forklift. The AGV crates had been pre-stacked flush in packs of 4 for this purpose. After two hours, the 100 crates with a total weight of 28 tons were loaded, secured and ready for the trip to the airport. After the sniffer dogs had conducted their sniffing test, the crates could be taken to the air freight terminal at Munich Airport.
Across the pond by American Airlines
For the transport to the USA, the export department booked sufficient capacity in the cargo hold on three American Airlines flights to bring all 100 crates to Charlotte. Another flight with the remaining AGVs, which weighed a total of about 10 tons, took place a short time later.
To save time during handling in the USA, a so-called wheels-up clearance was carried out after takeoff. This means that customs clearance of the goods began immediately after the aircraft took off from Munich Airport, in order to receive them from customs as quickly as possible for onward transport in the USA. This worked excellently for all four flights, so that the equipment and accessories arrived on time at the customer’s premises.