Movexx in the media: Hydro Extrusions and Movexx have developed an ideal logistics solution


In issue 3 of Metaal+Techniek, the newspaper of the Royal Metal Union, in the article “TOGETHER,” the focus is on how Hydro Extrusions, a leading company in aluminum and energy, employs a Movexx AGV for transportation between the press department and the saw department. Below the full article.

The AGV shuttles back and forth 24/7 between the press department and the saw department

The transportation of meters-long profiles from one hall to another was initially carried out at Hydro Extrusions in Harderwijk using a small truck. However, this couldn’t be continuously manned, sometimes leading to storage buffer overflows in the “packing department.” In collaboration with logistics specialist Movexx, an unmanned transport solution was developed based on an electrically powered Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV).

Hydro is a global aluminum and energy company with 140 locations in 40 countries and a total of 32,000 employees. In Harderwijk, around 100 people work. The factory operates 24/7 except for planned maintenance stops and produces customer-specific extruded aluminum profiles up to nearly 48 meters in length. The maximum delivery size is 22 meters because that length can be transported over the road without additional provisions. The profiles can be hollow or solid, thin- or thick-walled, and have complex cross-sections. A key advantage of Hydro is the speed at which profiles are produced and delivered “on demand” to the customer. Thus, Hydro also provides perfect service in terms of logistics.

Sustainable solution

“At the Hydro location in Hoogezand, they already had experience with a transport solution in the form of Movexx’s ‘smart electric tugs,’ which gave us an idea,” says Arnold van Loenen, Maintenance Engineer at Hydro. “The truck made short trips, but that meant a ‘cold diesel start’ every time. The halls are large and high, so that wasn’t a problem in itself, but it obviously wasn’t very environmentally friendly. In winter, we also lost a lot of heat through the large overhead doors that remained open for some time to move the profiles safely. Another factor is that we’re dealing with an aging workforce, so we have to pay more attention to workload and ergonomics. If you can safely and sustainably automate certain tasks, you relieve the staff and improve productivity and the working environment.”

Structural waste

“If people are constantly moving materials back and forth, it often comes at the expense of productivity,” says Marco Sales, Sales Engineer AMR/AGV at Movexx. This Veenendaal-based company, currently employing around 60 people, has been active for about 15 years in developing sustainable solutions for horizontal movements. Movexx’s ‘smart electric tugs’ are used worldwide in airports, distribution centers, factories, warehouses, laundries, hospitals, retail, etc. “We started with the development of a ‘follow-me tractor,’ and from there, a whole program emerged, including unmanned solutions based on AGVs. If you can automate (internal) transport, you eliminate the ‘structural waste of productivity.’ This obviously also played a role at Hydro. Detouring the profiles to other halls took a lot of time, and there were also problems with intermediate stocks in the buffer zone due to limited availability of the truck driver.”

Safety first

At Hydro, safety comes first, and that was also the challenge for Movexx to develop a safe unmanned logistics solution based on an AGV. “We determined the route over which a transport cart loaded with long profiles can safely travel from one hall to another,” explains Sales. “A white line with a black stripe is traced on the floor, which the AGV scans and precisely follows with a camera. RFID tags on the route activate specific functions. The tug moves to the correct side of the transport cart and automatically couples to it. Looping back at the ends of the route allows the AGV to be returned in the correct direction. Sensors and cameras ensure optimal security. If something is in the way, the AGV stops immediately. Operation is via remote control or via a touchscreen on the AGV.”


“This solution has brought benefits on several fronts,” says van Loenen, who implemented this project together with colleagues Robert van Emmerik, Peter van Keulen, and Movexx experts. “The AGV is available 24/7, meaning that extruded profiles are transported directly from the AGV to the saw/packing department after stress-relief annealing and cooling, without the need for buffering, creating more space. We’ve said goodbye to the diesel truck, and because the route is entirely internal, the overhead doors can remain closed. The mission is a success, and there are already plans for new applications of AGVs at this location.”

From left to right: Arnold van Loenen, Robert van Emmerik and Marco Sales.



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