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Survey reveals scope for further automation

12 May 2020

An Interroll survey has revealed there is still a high potential for increasing productivity and automation in medium-sized German manufacturing companies.

Not even one in five manufacturing companies in Germany achieves a degree of automation of more than 75% in internal material flow. At the same time, end-users attach particular importance to simple and robust systems for pallet handling. These are some of the findings of the Production Logistics in Medium-Sized Businesses survey, which Interroll conducted in Germany in 2019 to identify what users want in terms of appropriate solutions.

The average degree of automation of internal material handling at the companies surveyed is only 53%. Nearly one in 10 companies (9%) has been very reluctant to invest in automated processes and has an automation level of just under 25 percent. In the case of handling processes, this even applies to every fifth company. This situation in the companies suggests that there is a backlog demand for the appropriate equipment. If this reluctance to invest is not broken, these companies are likely to face competitive disadvantages in productivity.

Easy operability of conveyor modules also plays an important role for the survey participants in pallet handling. 61% of production planners even consider this feature to be the most important factor in these processes. Across all those surveyed, the durability and robustness of pallet conveyor technology (58%) accounts for the decisive advantage of a solution.

With the results of this survey in mind, Interroll is working on a new solution -  the Smart Pallet Mover, or SPM - to better organise and automate the “last mile” in manufacturing areas.

This new interface will improve the connection between the different phases of the material flow, that is, the movement, organisation, input and output of pallets. The SPM can be deployed not only in proximity of manufacturing machines but also between different production cells within the same manufacturing process.