World’s first driverless transport system at Oslo Airport

The world’s first driverless transport system started operating at Oslo airport in July. In cooperation with its project partner E&K Automation, the company Gebr. Heinemann designed a custom-made transport solution to supply its shops located at the Norwegian airport. In addition to a high level of efficiency and reliability, the new system ensures compliance with the “secure supply chain” by using a special technology. Thanks to 360-degree light grids, a “secured” automated ground vehicle (SAGV) is thus made possible using laser-guided forklifts (automated ground vehicles) which have been specially configured by E & K Automation.

Large cubic capacity and long distances

“We first developed the SAGV solution for Oslo because the logistical requirements there are demanding and the airport has the structural requirements for such an innovative system,” explains Marco Rebohm, logistics manager at Gebr. Heinemann. A distance of 500 meters on different levels lies between the Oslo Airport’s receiving area for goods and the two Heinemann duty-free shops in the international terminal’s departure lounge. “We’ve tailored the SAGV system to meet this requirement,” says Rebohm. Gebr. Heinemann was hereby able to increase productivity and ensure a secure supply chain from the logistics center to the shops. “At the same time, we were able to help our employees working in this area by relieving them of particularly demanding physical work,” the manager emphasizes. “We have incorporated their know-how into the technical planning. Now they are responsible for new shop-related tasks and the service for our customers.”

Up to nine trucks carrying goods from the Gebr. Heinemann Logistics Center in Hamburg-Allermöhe are delivered to the Oslo Airport on a daily basis. The items are prepacked on pallets, manually unloaded at the airport’s receiving area for goods and then transported to 18 storage areas which are equipped with sensors. These sensors then transmit a signal to the SAGVs so that they can pick up the articles and take them to the shops, where employees unload them on a staging area and then put them on the sales floor. The transport control system maintains constant contact with the vehicles at every point of the system in order to ensure the best transport procedures and the smooth flow of material. A total of six SAGVs are to be used in the final expansion stage.

Sensors report all access during transport

The pallets on the SAGV are protected by an innovative sensor solution, which is surrounded by a 360-degree light grid and which recognizes and reports all access to the goods during transport. In the case of such access, the SAGV redirects to one of the control points on the route so a that a security officer can take appropriate measures. In order to increase reliability (particularly the adherence to delivery dates), priority reservations for certain bottleneck resources in the terminal, such as special elevators and screening gates, are made for the SAGV if necessary.

Text by Tim-Oliver Frische
Photo: Gebr. Heinemann