Transport carts move backwards and forwards as if controlled by ghosts over a distance of more than 700 metres in the Y-Hall between the marketplace and the assembly line of the tailgate handle. As soon as the operator presses a button, fully loaded trailers approach the line and the empty ones are transported away.

A sensor transmits the relevant information to the docking station. Magnetic strips and bank card-sized tags control the driving route. A specially programmed software ensures that delays are always reported immediately.

“One big advantage of this system is that the control elements can be easily taped to the hall floor”, reports Volkan Aydinlar, Project Coordinator of DTS Production Services. Tests are currently underway to check whether the DTS is suitable for transporting glass, for example front and rear windscreen trailers, or empty bottles.

Each of the five automatic transport carts can transport a load of 800 kilos and moves at a speed of up to 3.6 km/h. The batteries last up to 16 hours.

“The system is suitable where there are several parking options for the trailers on the line and when a regular rhythm is required, such as for all sequenced parts”, explains Klaus Hartmann from the Material Handling Group Staff.

“The goal is for the DTS systems used to be used flexibly in line with a taxi stand system and for them to be in constant motion. They do not always take the same route, but are always moving from one station to another according to the relevant requirements”, explains Carsten Legner, MP&L -Head of vehicle production in Niehl.

During installation of the system, aspects of occupational safety and ergonomics are also considered. For example, a traffic light signalises when a transport cart has arrived at a crossing. A scanner scans the route two metres ahead, stops the DTS in front of obstacles and transmits a signal. So that no smaller parts such as screws brake the cart, it is always equipped with a brush.

“Occupational safety, particularly operator and collision protection using the integrated scanners, has the highest priority when using the DTS. This is why the speed of the DTS is adapted to the areas of different hazard levels (e.g. crossing, free path) and why the DTS travel path is marked in a clearly visible way”, elaborates Carsten Legner.

Tests are currently underway to check whether the driverless transport system is suitable for transporting glass, for example front or rear windscreen trailers, or empty bottles.

There are major challenges on routes which are used by the fire brigade for access, since the safety margins must be particularly tested here”, says Melanie Marx, Project coordinator DTS.


Original source: Ford