Annual Report 2023

Annual Report 2023


Driverless transport systems move five-metre-long pipes through the warehouses at Group Logistics in Pfullendorf. Procuring these digitally controlled systems was more complicated than initially thought.

Five metres can seem an uncomfortably short distance when faced with a shot from Lionel Messi, for example. However, when pipes of this length have to be transported, five metres can feel very long indeed.

Driverless transport systems are now taking care of this at Group Logistics in Pfullendorf (DE). This is one of several measures introduced to push digitalisation and automation forward. The goal is to have a warehouse management system that largely controls itself.

Special vehicles

“Procurement was a challenge,” remembers Project Manager Manuel Renz. “Long goods like this are of virtually no significance to providers of driverless transport systems.” Moreover, the vehicles also have to be able to transport weights of up to one tonne. A provider was prepared to modify the vehicles for Geberit. “They developed a five-metre-long carrier where our pipes can be set down for transport.”

Manuel Renz and Fabian Hiestand work on the digital settings for the new long goods transporter
Manuel Renz (left) and Fabian Hiestand work on the digital settings for the new long goods transporter.

Over 100 journeys per day

Since then, the new transport systems have been driving up and down the logistics facility. Depending on the amount of orders, they can make more than 100 journeys each day. However, a human hand is still needed. On the one hand, employees have to load and unload the carriers. On the other, the systems are still not able to take care of all journeys. “Mapress pipes can be up to six metres long and weigh more than one tonne when stacked – this is where the transport system reaches its limits,” explains Manuel Renz. This is where the normal forklifts come into play.