- Digitalization enables significant cost savings
- Shunting to be replaced by fully automated transport
A new integrated storage and logistics concept will help BASF significantly reduce logistics costs. The transport volume at the Ludwigshafen site is around 20 million metric tons per year. Since the transport links at the Ludwigshafen site account for a considerable share of costs, this is the focus of the concept.
The most important components will be automated guided vehicles (AGVs), new optimized-for-rail tank containers instead of railway tank cars, and a new tank container depot. This combination will lead to a considerable improvement in terms of competitiveness. “We are launching this innovative leap in logistics at the site and we are a pioneer for the entire industry,” said Site Manager Dr. Uwe Liebelt.
Deliveries in record time with driverless vehicles
The AGV is a worldwide first. Together with the VDL Group, BASF developed this autonomous vehicle which is 16.5 meters long and has a payload of 78 metric tons. With its 32 wheels and eight steerable axles, it is maneuverable and does not cause any damage to roads even though it can weigh as much as 100 metric tons. The AGV is steered via transponders embedded in the road surface. It currently takes around 22 hours for a railway tank car to be delivered from BASF’s train station to one of the more than 150 loading stations at the site. With the AGV, this time will be cut to just one hour.
During the current test phase, which runs until July, the prototype only operates within a limited area, where it carries empty containers or containers filled with water and is monitored by a control center. Until now, similar vehicles have only been used in international ports, where they use routes exclusively reserved for them.