Press release

Neckarsulm, 2012-09-28

Sustainable logistics in the automated small load carriers warehouse (AKL)

  • Up to 27,000 transport boxes handled each day
  • Savings of 500 metric tons (551 US tons) of CO2 each year

Employees packing and checking the small load carriers in the goods receiving area.

From the A4 to the R8 super sports car, from low-volume manufacturing all the way to large-scale production – the Neckarsulm site is home to an enormous variety of product and production types. This complexity poses a challenge for logistics in particular. Every day, automobile suppliers from all over the world deliver a wide variety of parts for the different models. Smooth incoming goods procedures are organized by the employees in the automated small load carriers warehouse (AKL).

Technical details:
The 12,000 m² (129,167 ft2) logistics center handles over 1,800 bins per hour with parts such as door handles, navigation devices or trims. At present, approx. 27,000 of the blue transport boxes pass through the center each day. This is made possible by the 19.5-meter (63.98-ft) high-bay warehouse with some 160,000 storage slots. The individual rows of shelves are reached and loaded/unloaded by 15 fully automated storage and retrieval vehicles. Some 120 employees in the new logistics center ensure that all procedures run smoothly. Audi accorded special priority to workplace safety and ergonomics at all stages including construction of the AKL. Operations began after 14 months of construction. 

Environmental protection:
Audi is setting high standards as a trailblazer in sustainable and resource-conserving automobile logistics. The Group was awarded the international 2012 Logistics Sustainability Prize for its efforts. Environmental protection is also a key issue in the new logistics center at the site:

Exemplary measures:

  • Waste heat from the plant's utility buildings is used to supply the floor heating for the AKL.
  • This reduces the energy needed for the heating system by approximately 30 percent – or 1,600 MWh of energy annually.
  • Intelligent systems in the storage and retrieval vehicles – such as recuperation and drive cut-off – make an important contribution to energy savings as well: the energy they consume while driving is converted into electricity during braking. It is then used to power the devices and feed the supply network.
  • The energy savings are approximately 25% – or 100 MWh of energy annually.
  • In total, all of the resource-conserving measures in the new logistics center save up to 500 metric tons (551 US tons) of CO2 emissions per year.


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