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Maximum safety and efficient material flow with AGVs in the beverage industry

High transport capacities, fast filling intervals and demanding environmental conditions are requirements and criteria for automated transport solutions in the beverage industry.

Efficiently and safely operating at high throughput: The automated guided vehicles (AGVs) from ek robotics transport more than one billion liters of beer, juice and milk per year worldwide. The transport robotics specialist also develops customized transport solutions for this industry, which are precisely tailored to the customer's processes and environmental conditions. Companies such as Arla Foods, Gerolsteiner and Royal Swinkels Brewery (formerly Bavaria) have been using the vehicles for many years and have been able to optimize their processes sustainably.


Automated storage and retrieval: Safe and space-saving in block storage

Reduce costs and increase efficiency with automated material flow processes in conventional block storage systems: Warehouse processes in the beverage industry often involve transporting large quantities of uniform and easily stackable goods. These are ideal conditions for the use of automated guided vehicles, which can implement the stacking of beverage pallets without mistakes, further reduce costs through automated processes, save time and reduce possible sources of faults.

For safe and precise storage, ek robotics equips its automated transport robots with innovative 3D object detection. During operation, the vehicle moves to the defined target position, creates a 3D point cloud at the transfer position, analyzes it in real time and adjusts the fork position to pick up the targeted pallets with precision. The software developed by ek robotics is able to classify and simultaneously measure a wide range of pallet and load types. In the beverage industry, this technology allows an automated operation of a block storage system with 10,000 pallets on 6,400m² storage area, where beverage pallets can be stacked safely up to the 4th level at a height of about 5.2 meters. The transport robot fleet of the COMPACT MOVE series is particularly maneuverable and therefore ideal for use in narrow block storage areas.





Automated transport of one billion liters of milk per year

At Arla Foods, the world's largest fresh milk dairy, 90 CUSTOM MOVE transport roll containers loaded with filled milk canisters weighing up to 500kg. In the 9,000 m² block storage facility, the customized fleet of transport robots serves 11,000 ground-level storage locations and transports around one billion liters of milk per year - at an environmental temperature of just 2° Celsius.

Two systems from ek robotics are responsible for the daily coordination of 20,000 transports. The transport manager (TPM) ensures safe navigation of the transport robots to their destinations, while the integrated database system provides optimum warehouse management. For safety in the cold store, all transport vehicles in the Arla fleet are equipped with a personal protection scanner.

The AGVs are equipped with maintenance-free lithium-ion batteries, the fully automatic fast charging technology is part of the standard equipment. The intelligent battery management of ek robotics is responsible for the optimal and uninterrupted operation of the fleet. To ensure fast responsiveness of the transport robots for new orders, the charging stations in the cold store are positioned at selected positions in the driving course area.  

Before planning and designing an automated guided vehicle system, ek robotics creates 2D and 3D simulations, which are used especially in industries with high performance requirements, such as the beverage industry, to illustrate the best possible AGV deployment for operation. After commissioning, ek robotics' comprehensive service offering ensures seamless operation and maintenance of the system.


Discover our AGV solutions


Outdoor AGVs for maximum intralogistics efficiency at Gerolsteiner, Germany

SSince 2012, five outdoor AGVs from ek robotics (until 2021: EK Automation) have been responsible for the line supply and storage of beverage pallets at Gerolsteiner. For outdoor operation with a track length of 400 m, the vehicles are equipped with a weatherproof body with roller shutter and roller conveyors with space for up to six pallets. With a payload of up to 6,000 kg, the beverage pallets are transported between the production lines and the warehouse in all weather conditions.  Even in outdoor areas, the personal protection is always active and prevents collisions in mixed operation.


Outdoor solutions


Would you like to find out more about the success story of ek robotics and developments in the automation industry? ek robotics celebrates 60 years of automated guided vehicles in 2023!

Our History and AGV Developement

For the Royal Swinkels Brewery (formerly Bavaria), we have been automating pallet transport in beverage production since 2011.

28 transport robots of the HEAVY MOVE series, each with two roller conveyors, serve 25 stations on a route length of over 2km and ensure sustainably efficient processes in the second largest brewery in the Netherlands.

Fully automated counterbalance stackers from the COMPACT MOVE series can transport two pallets at the same time thanks to their double forks and fork positioners

Since 2014, 90 customized transport robots are in operation at Arla. The vehicles operate 24 hours a day at an ambient temperature of 2°C

The control system coordinates up to 300 transport orders simultaneously and ensures optimum traffic control for the vehicle fleet. A special feature is the continuous route optimization through the unique "Dynamic Weighting of Transport Route" tool. If a traffic jam occurs on the planned route, the control system calculates a new, free route and reroutes the following vehicles.

For complex automation processes, we develop customized automated guided vehicles, like the outdoor agv at our partner Gerolsteiner