The facility is part of an integrated storage and transport concept that BASF is using to improve customer service and significantly reduce logistics costs at the same time
“The fully automated tank container storage facility and the autonomous transport vehicle demonstrate the high degree of innovation in the automotive and logistics industry," said Dr Volker Wissing, Minister for Economic Affairs, Transport, Agriculture and Viniculture, Rhineland-Palatinate.
As previously reported, the facility is operated with heavy duty AGVs supplied by VDL navigating SIL2 safety level (TÜV) routes with embedded with Götting transponders. The buffering stillages for the rail-optimised 45ft and 52ft long tanktainers built for BASF by Van Hool and Magyar (which replace conventional tank wagons), were also built by VDL. The rail-connected depot is equipped with two Künz automated stacking cranes with an SWL of 75 tonnes, for which the spreaders were supplied, again, by VDL, in close cooperation with Künz.
Flexibility in supplying customers and logistics costs are significantly influenced by the internal transport routes at the Ludwigshafen site. With the commissioning of the tank container storage facility, BASF has now implemented the last element of the integrated storage and transport concept.
Dr Wissing said: "Automation and digitization are not dreams of the future but open up new opportunities and possibilities. The further development of logistics is a central task for our internationally operating companies in order to succeed in global competition. BASF is open to innovative technologies. I want this to set an example in Rhineland-Palatinate and we want to establish ourselves as a location where new vehicles or drives can be developed, tested, produced and used.”
Michael Heinz, Member of the Board of Executive Directors, BASF SE and Site Director of Ludwigshafen, said: "A well-networked, efficient infrastructure is of central importance for our competitiveness. It supports our growth and thus has an impact on jobs. Of course, this applies not only to BASF, but to all companies, especially the manufacturing ones.”
Site Manager Dr Uwe Liebelt added: “We will be more flexible and significantly more competitive in customer service by rail in the future. We are making an innovative leap forward in logistics at the site and are setting an example for the entire industry.”
The new tank containers were developed by BASF together with Van Hool on the model of 20ft and 30ft tank containers. The B-TC (BASF Class Tank Container) allows a maximum payload of 66 tonnes and can be transported by rail or by AGV in the factory by road. The use of the AGV reduces the time required to deliver a tank car from BASF’s railway station to one of the more than 150 loading points at the site from around 22 hours today to around one hour in the future.
The tank container storage facility is a fully automated outdoor storage facility for tank containers for the storage of liquid substances and liquid waste. It is designed for a capacity of 2,000 standard containers. Goods can be handled by AGV, truck and rail.