N20 with SA option from Linde Material Handling in use in the warehouse
Automatically more efficient

The semi-automated option for order pickers N20 and N20 C

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Digital process and supply chains and the growing individualisation of products require greater automation of intralogistics processes. Horizontal order picking offers significant optimisation potential in the warehouses of retail chains, logistics service providers, supermarkets and pharmacies. This process largely involves employees walking around the warehouse and manually picking and placing goods. These process steps become much more efficient with the help of the semi-automated option of the Linde N20 SA and N20 C SA order pickers, whilst also significantly increasing productivity and throughput in the warehouse.

Higher performance at every turn

As the interface to the human workforce, the industrial trucks play a central role in optimising order picking. It is one of the most strenuous and time-consuming tasks in the warehouse with 30 to 45 percent of the working day being taken up by employees walking through the warehouse, and another 30 to 45 percent is spent manually picking and placing goods. It's clear to see that the optimisation potential can be tapped into with the help of automation.


This is where the semi-automated operating modes of the N20 SA and N20 C SA order pickers come into play. They significantly reduce walking distances and the need to step on and off the truck, which has a direct impact on handling performance and productivity in the warehouse. Every step that the employee doesn’t take increases their performance and picking frequency. Tests using different picking methods showed around 20 percent higher performance with the semi-automated Linde order pickers compared to manually picking orders. One major advantage of the automated functions is that they can be seamlessly integrated into the customer’s processes, allowing employees to keep their usual picking routine but making it significantly faster and safer.

The N20 C SA by Linde Material Handling

More efficient order picking

Linde conducted a performance test using three common picking methods to demonstrate the high optimisation potential. The results showed that compared to purely manual order picking, efficiency was increased by around 20 percent.

Runs along and drives ahead

Semi-automated operation offers two modes for the most common customer applications. One of the most frequent processes carried out in high rack warehouses is picking on one side of the rack, with an operator walking through the aisle in a U-shape; the ‘walk-with-me’ mode is ideal for this process. In this operating mode, the truck follows the operator’s walking path: If the operator stops, the truck also stops and if the operator continues walking, the truck continues. The operator can stay at the rack and collect the goods making the constant walking to and from the operator’s platform and the end of the forks a thing of the past. The onward journey is triggered by the employee passing a certain point known as a “virtual wall”, and this can be set via the remote control.

In smaller warehouses, the “continuous” mode is ideal as the truck travels through the middle of the aisle and can be loaded from both sides. This will require the operator to walk a Z-shaped path between both sides of the rack to pick up and place goods. The operator benefits from the Stop & Go function by sending the truck ahead while staying on the fork side, thus shortening walking distances. However, if necessary, the operator can simply operate the truck themselves.

Safety at the highest level

To ensure that semi-automated operating does not pose a safety risk, a high-performance safety scanner is integrated at the front of the trucks. This scanner detects people as well as other trucks and even obstacles that suddenly appear in front of the truck, in turn avoiding collisions and accidents. The position of the operator can be determined with centimetre precision via the remote control, which communicates via ultra-wideband technology with four antennas mounted on the truck. The semi-automated operating modes also lower error and accident rates by reducing the risk of injury from constantly getting on and off the truck. Special protection at the front of the bumper prevents the operator’s feet from getting run over by the truck. Several lights mounted on a pole indicate the current operating mode with different colours. They also illuminate when the truck is in the semi-automated mode and warn when the remote control is not paired with the truck. To ensure a safe and comfortable working space for the operator, the truck automatically maintains a minimum distance of 50 centimetres from the rack and stops at the end of the aisle to avoid collisions with other trucks on the main drive path in the warehouse.

Safety scanner

Order pickers available with SA option

N20 – N25 order pickers

The N20 B, N20 – 25 and N20 – 25 HP low-lift order pickers from Linde Material Handling enable a highly efficient and safe order picking process thanks to their unique truck architecture with the battery located between the operator platform and forks: With a maximum fork length of 2,400 mm, various types of loads up to 2,500 kilograms can be transported.

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N20 – N25 C order pickers

The Linde N20 – N25 C low-lift order pickers are all-rounders in the warehouse thanks to their high loading capacity and dynamic operating characteristics. The long forks allow up to three pallets or four roll cages weighing with combined lifting capacity of up to 2,000 or 2,500 kilograms to be picked up simultaneously.

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The advantages of the semi-automated order pickers at a glance

Safety

High-level safety scanner as well as several safety features minimise the risk of accidents and injuries during automated mode.

Performance

Semi-automated driving modes help increase picking efficiency.

Integration

The N20 SA and N20 C SA order pickers’ semi-automated option can be seamlessly integrated into existing processes.

Cost efficiency

Due to the higher picking performance and handling capacity, the return on investment of the new truck option is very short.