In order to pick heavy and bulky sheet materials without suffering any damage, manufacturers and distributors require an order-picking system tailored to the individual requirements of each respective warehouse. Platform solutions such as the EZK series from specialpurpose vehicle manufacturer Hubtex are enjoying increasing popularity. With the aid of a vehicle concept specially aligned to the needs and requirements of the client, all areas of application – from manual to fully automated picking – can be tracked by the order-picking platforms.

In its basic version, Hubtex’ platform solution is ideal for purely picking wood panels and plastic sheets on both sides of an aisleway. Two operators stand on the platform and pick the sheet materials by hand. In this scenario, the materials are stored using multidirectional sideloaders.

The next model up features telescopic forks as an optional extra. These forks enable the storage of entire packages in the shelving system as well as the direct transfer of packages to the next stage of production. This ensures that no additional forklifts are required for unloading goods, meaning the aisleways can have a particularly narrow design if necessary. The vehicle achieves the highest level of automation to date through the use of vacuum suction technology, which completely replaces the manual order-picking process. This means that a maximum of just one operator per vehicle is required – this person’s only task is to manage the storage process, meaning they avoid having to do any major physical activities. This solution is also particularly material-efficient, since the wood panels are evenly stored.

The line between partially automated EZK order picking platforms and fully automated stacker cranes is becoming increasingly blurred And this is down in no small part to the various assistance systems that can be integrated into the vehicle. On-board and laserbased personal protective equipment is already fitted as standard in EZK series vehicles. An additional automated shelf-positioning system ensures the platform navigates the operator to the correct shelf in a direct and precise manner after the warehouse position is entered.

Hubtex also integrates the orderpicking platforms into existing logistics processes. Prior to implementing a platform solution, the manufacturer’s material flow experts analyse the entire logistics concept of each respective user, examining interfaces with the warehouse management system as well as the synergy potential for interfaces with additional production processes.