The year 2023 is a special one for Summa. Not only does this innovative Belgian company celebrates its 50th anniversary. But it’s also the year wherein their first AGV is on the road. "The transportation of goods between our production and shipping department is now completely automated. We save a lot of manual working hours and increase safety”, opens Rik Muylle, COO of Summa.
Summa manufactures high-quality vinyl and contour cutters, finishing flatbeds, and laser cutters. Its cutting-edge solutions are targeted at the printing, signage, display, textile, and packaging industries. Summa’s global headquarters is in Gistel (Belgium). With divisions in Boston (USA) and Nottingham (UK), it’s active in more than 70 countries worldwide.
"Our site in Belgium consists of 2 main buildings: a production department where everything is stored, assembled and packed. And a shipping department where all packed goods are prepared and handled for shipping", explains COO Rik Muylle. "The packed goods obviously have to get from the production department to the shipping department. A distance of about 100 meters. In the past, this meant a driver driving almost 3 hours a day back and forth with a puller and trailers. With Movanis’ AGV, we found an innovative, reliable, efficient, and safe alternative.”
After an initial introduction, Movanis took Summa on a reference visit. “At our customer, an international manufacturer of textile machines, we have already realized some great AGV projects. We showed in practice how we design and integrate such a case. And especially what the advantages of our smart AGV technology are”, says Rob Dekkers, project manager at Movanis.
Because Movanis has experience with Still forklifts, their extensive support and quick interventions, and the overall ROI to be positive, we became completely convinced”, adds Rik. “After each shift, the AGV is neatly plugged into the charging station and the next morning it starts the day fully energized”.
After a thorough analysis, Movanis’ Sigma Outdoor AGV turned out to be the best solution for Summa’s request. ”This is a tugger AGV that is used for automated transport with one or more trailers. The robust design allows to pull loads up to 5 tons both indoor and outdoor”, mentions Rob. “Moreover, Summa’s existing trailer system can be seamlessly connected to the Sigma Outdoor AGV”.
Together with Summa, Movanis set up a driving route where the loaded trailers are manually connected at 2 positions and manually disconnected at 2 other positions. “Each transport is fully automatic, as is the return of the empty trailer to the starting point. The two gates on the route are automatically opened and closed again by the AGV”, Rob adds.
“One of our biggest concerns was how we could implement an AGV driving in a mixed environment. The outside area of our site is not exclusively used by the AGV. Other traffic – think of personnel, manual forklifts, delivery trucks, and so on – use the same space. Luckily there were no extensive infrastructural adaptations necessary. We only needed to install traffic lights and clearly mark trajectory lines to create a safe environment”, explains Rik.
Summa is committed to maximum safety with the EasyTrailer safety option installed on the AGV. “First of all, without having to add extra sensors to the trailer system, appropriate safety margins for obstacle detection and turning circles are taken into account. This is crucial for safety, especially with longer trailers and large wheelbases, like Summa's. Moreover, the AGV detects whether the trailer is correctly connected or disconnected. For example, if the safety pin is not properly seated or comes loose, an alarm goes off. Or the AGV will only park if the trailer is disconnected”, gives Rob as an example.
”For us, the AGV is definitely worth the investment. And the cooperation with Movanis went very smoothly. We are even thinking about a future project. All incoming goods receive a quality check and are then stored in our warehouse. After the implementation of a new WMS system, goods will automatically be assigned a place in the warehouse. Again, we could use an AGV to automatically place these goods on the shelves. Possibly even at night. So, together with Movanis, we are looking forward to the future," concludes Rik.
Do you want to find out how Movanis can make your life easier and improve safety at your company by automating your logistics? We’re excited to hear your story and find out how we can meet your needs. Book your consultation today: no strings attached!