Packaging supplier Wi-sales and semi-conductor manufacturer NXP took top honours at the third annual Magna Logistics Europe innovations awards, held in Leibnitz, Austria. The awards were co-hosted by Magna Logistics Europe, which is responsible for logistics planning and purchasing across more than 120 plants in Europe for the tier supplier, along with AC Styria, an association representing an automotive cluster of suppliers across the Austrian state of Styria.
Bavaria-based Wi-sales won 1st prize in the Logistics Innovation category for its Thorpak modular containers, which are notable for their lightweight, ease in building up and breaking down, and stackability. Magna uses Thorpak across its supply chain as standard containers.
NXP, which is headquartered in the Netherlands but has its Secure Identification Solutions division in Graz, Austria, came top in the category for Connectivity and Electronics for its Ucode DNA smart labels. The labels carry encrypted information that can be read from a distance of around 10 metres away.
Jörg Blechinger, head of Magna Logistics Europe, emphasised environmental and economic sustainability in judging the criteria for the awards. “At Magna, our definition of an innovation for logistics is based on a product or system that is safer, smarter, lighter and cleaner,” he said.
The six winners in total certainly met these criteria. The Thorpak system is made of lightweight, recyclable material that is more ergonomic and easy to handle than plastic or metal boxes. The sleeve connects easily to the pallet and is built up in an average of 15 seconds, compared to 40 seconds for other systems. It can be dissembled in 18 seconds compared to 33 seconds for other standard equipment.
The Ucode DNA label is notable for its ability to combine long-range reading with a highly secure and private communication system. Most readers that offer the same level of security usually have a range of only a few centimetres. Meanwhile, the passive readers require no batteries. Ucode is used for systems like automated toll collection and gate entry, but NXP is also working with companies like Siemens in applying the system in automotive plants and production processes.
Other winners in the logistics category included Graz-based TAGnology, which took second place for its ScMART e-kanban system. ScMART can automatically recognise the types of goods that are being replenished and then communicate information across the inbound supply chain. German logistics consultancy Logsol came 3rd for its Emitman carbon emission calculator, which can be used to measure direct and indirect carbon emissions across inbound, in-plant and outbound logistics. Emitman also accounts for various different national standards and processes for reporting emissions.
In the connectivity category, Austrian semi-conductor producer AMS took second place for its MAGsense sensors, which are up to 20% smaller than other products. The FocusOn Group came in third place for its lean energy and lean production system, which analyses manufacturing equipment and methods for holistic ways to reduce energy and fuel consumption.
The innovations awards were named as part of the 2015 Magna Logistics Days, which brings together logistics managers from across Magna divisions in Europe, as well as some global locations, along with service providers.
An interview will be available soon with Jörg Blechinger and Magna’s vice-president of purchasing and logistics, Klaus Iffland.