Audi has built a new €34m ($48m) logistics centre to support increased output at its Neckarsulm assembly plant in Germany. The facility, which is built on a 12,000m2 site, features automated small load carriers for the handling of parts that the company says is more ergonomic than the previous manual system.


“The new building provides us with the security we need to ensure the supply of parts,” said Dieter Braun, head of Plant Logistics at the Neckarsulm site.
The site is managed by Operational Logistics, a division of Audi, and it supplies all of the production lines at the plant, including the A4 sedan, A5 cabriolet, A6 and A7 models, as well as the top-end Audi A8 and R8 models. In 2010 the facility produced more than 335,000 units including 118,760 CKD/SKD kits.
The company said the numerous production starts and model variations have nearly doubled the number of small load carriers in Neckarsulm since 2008, something that will continue to increase. An average of 1,300 containers will be handled each hour in the new facility, which is known as AKL.
As part of the new automated process at AKL four robots lift containers of incoming goods onto conveyor belts with the remaining material received by logistics technicians on adjustable lifting tables.
The containers are stored by fully automated loops in the 19.5-metre high-bay racking units and 15 fully automated rack feeders drive up to the 160,000 storage slots where they are stored on a first in-first out basis.
“The equipment is intelligent,” said Andrea Barth, head of the AKL centre. “It stores containers of the same stock at various locations so that if complications arise there is no interruption in production.”
According to Audi, the building is designed to conserve resources and is equipped with the latest environmental technology, saving up to 500 tonnes of CO2 per year through innovations such as redirected waste heat from the utility supply buildings and recuperation and drive switch off technology.