During the past years, L’Oréal has automated the internal logistics of several of its production sites. The multinational manufacturer of cosmetics and beauty care products contracted the Belgian company Egemin Automation to automate six of its sites in Europe and the US, among which two in France and one in Germany. Egemin delivered several state-of-the art AGV systems consisting of over 100 automated guided vehicles (E’gv®’s) for these six sites which makes Egemin the premium supplier of AGV systems worldwide at L’Oréal. Thanks to the introduction of E’gv® systems the production sites have increased efficiency, safety and comfort in their operations.
All of Egemin’s projects at L’Oréal are based on a similar concept solution: E’gv®´s transport packaging materials such as jars, bottles, flasks, boxes, lids, caps and labels from the warehouse to the filling lines and back. When the filled boxes are all stacked onto a pallet, an E’gv® is sent to the filling line to pick up the pallet and bring it to the wrapper line.
Even though the tasks assigned to the vehicles are very similar in all production sites, the vehicles are multi-deployable. The production staff can also give other assignments to the E’gv®´s: arrange removal of packaging materials that are no longer needed to the warehouse, supply of empty pallets to the line or pick up cardboard that can still be reused. For the transport of large and heavy IBCs (Intermediate Bulk Containers) L’Oréal has deployed heavy-load E’gv®’s capable of lifting loads up to 1,200 kg. At some production sites the E’gv®´s also take care of the transport of the finished products to the warehouse and even the storage and retrieval process inside the warehouse.
Safer and smoother transports
The vehicles are compatible for lifting heights up to 2.4 meter. Thanks to the built-in laser the vehicles are capable of navigating and manoeuvring very accurately. “The introduction of E’gv®’s in our operations has increased operator comfort and safety”, says Markus Moch, project manager at L’Oréal Karlsruhe. “Because of the standardisation we now have a much more regular transport flow and our warehouse with packaging materials looks a lot neater. To avoid accidents, the E’gv®´s always follow the same route which is clearly marked, and never operate outside the programmed zones. Moreover, they automatically stop when obstacles are detected or when people would walk into their operating range. The work is also more enjoyable for the operators working on the production line, as they don’t need to call a colleague for help. The E’gv®´s are not necessarily faster, but they perform the tasks smoother and safer.”
In nearly all sites, the E’gv® systems at L’Oréal have been equipped with an automatic battery exchange system. This system in-house developed by Egemin Automation exchanges a vehicle’s battery fully independently, without operator intervention. Combined with the maintenance-free batteries the vehicles are equipped with, this leads to a virtual lights-out AGV system.