INFORM optimizes factory traffic at MAN

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At MAN Truck and Bus, INFORM implements its transport control system for managing internal plant traffic. At its production site in Munich, the global leading manufacturer of commercial vehicles introduced INFORM’s SyncroTESS software to its driver cab division.

The company produces over 40,000 cabs annually for trucks of the heavy TGS and TGX series at its own factory building. MAN wants to control its internal material flow synchronously, using the INFORM system from spring 2019 onwards. The INFORM system ensures an optimized allocation of transport orders for its eight forklifts, which perform hundreds of material transports per day in the hall. In addition, MAN can master the special logistical challenges of the production hall with the support of the system. One issue is that there is still little space for the forklifts in the large hall, so vehicles have to be used in a coordinated manner in the narrow aisles and routes have to be optimized. On top of this, most of the material requirements from fully automated production are short-term and time critical. With the help of the INFORM system, MAN therefore wants to manage all internal material transports according to schedule and transparently, thus guaranteeing a continuous supply of production.

"About ten years ago, we started to convert our cab production hall into an automated production facility, where many production steps are carried out with the help of robots," says Patrick Thalmeyer, project manager at MAN. Until then, MAN organized not only purely manual production but also material supply without systemic support. "In the course of the changeover and the associated higher production volume, the introduction of an intelligent transport control system became indispensable for us. The deciding factor for choosing INFORM’s software was the high flexibility with which the software could be adapted to the special logistical challenges of our production hall. Additionally, we have already had good experience with SyncroTESS at our Salzgitter site," Thalmeyer continued.

In the production hall, all supply and disposal points are connected to the system. As soon as the material is finished there, a robot automatically generates a corresponding message. "The special challenge here is that our robots do not send this message until three minutes before the vacancy. In order to avoid longer downtimes, the new material must arrive at the corresponding installation site within a few minutes," explains Thalmeyer. This message automatically triggers a transport order, which the INFORM software schedules in real time within a few seconds. The system places the order with the most suitable forklift driver. SyncroTESS always takes the entire logistical situation in the production hall into account and considers criteria such as order priorities, distances and delivery dates, as well as the availability of transport aids and the capacity utilization of the forklifts. "In addition, some places in the hall are so narrow that only one forklift is allowed to drive in certain aisles. The software also takes this special requirement into account when allocating transport orders," says Thalmeyer.

The forklift drivers receive their orders via radio data transmission on a touchscreen monitor. They use this to confirm both the start and the end of an order. "Thanks to the software, we know where which forklift is located at all times and with which material. In this way, we are not only able to organize our entire transport logistics efficiently and profitably, we can also guarantee a timely and secure supply of materials for production," says Thalmeyer.


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