Ultimation Industries LLC launched a new range of specialty automated delivery systems for the automotive and e-commerce industries. The specialty systems build on Ultimation’s success in providing conveyors for sequenced tire and wheel assemblies that can be directly unloaded from the trailer to the plant’s assembly line.
The first application for the new specialty automated delivery systems is a fleet of trucks that deliver oversize and performance-style tires for a major automotive manufacturer. “These mud-style tire and wheel assemblies are enormous and don’t fit inside existing delivery systems,” said John Daugherty, vice president of Engineering and Projects for Ultimation. “We had to develop a new, automated delivery solution that would protect the wheel surfaces at all times.”
Ultimation’s fully automated system utilizes a continuous loop of conveyors inside the trucks. Motor driven roller (MDR) conveyors move the tires during loading and unloading. For example, when Ultimation’s truck system is backed into a delivery dock, the conveyor inside connects with the supplier’s shipping conveyor. The tires enter the truck and loading continues with the required number of tire and wheel assemblies for each delivery. Once the truck arrives at the assembly plant, it backs into the dock and the unloading process begins. Most importantly, the entire process is automated.
“Avoiding forklift movements for loading and unloading wheel and tire assemblies has major value for the auto companies as well as suppliers,” said Daugherty. “Each forklift movement in a busy assembly environment carries safety risks. The efficiencies and productivity gains are significant, as well.”
Ultimation believes that many more commodities in the e-commerce segment will soon use similar specialized automated processes to drive efficiencies. Moving tire and wheel assemblies along a mobile conveyor delivery system is challenging. Ultimation is now using their experience in delivering these automotive products to customers in broader industry segments. In the e-commerce segment, Ultimation is working on various motorized driven roller (MDR) systems for automated loading and unloading of commercial vehicles. These systems can load and unload individual carton/package loads or alternatively mini-container or tote loads of products.
Similar to the way the cargo holds on aircraft are loaded and unloaded, Ultimation’s systems can provide motorized or gravity (hand push) loading systems. Each application is developed specifically to suit the end customer’s requirements.
Ultimation’s goal is to help improve the efficiency of “last-mile” delivery operations. “We have decades of experience understanding the lean manufacturing methods and just-in-time processes of the auto companies,” said Daugherty. “Now it’s time to bring lean supply chain conveyor technology to the mobile parcel and freight delivery industries.”