Frequently Asked Questions
1. What type of logistics are suitable for automated truck loading?
The ATLS (Automated Truck Loading Systems) can operate in all kinds of industries. Seen from a perspective of logistic supply chain optimization and costs efficiency, the ATLS system contributes the most to those applications that meet 3 following criteria:
- high volumes ( >6 shuttles per day)
- shuttle transportation on short distances <1 hour drive time)
- little to no product overhang (width of the goods within pallet dimensions)
We have developed a ROI calculator to get a first indication if an investment in ATLS systems is justified.
2. What are the benefits of automated truck loading?
The main benefits of ATLS are:
- Truck (un)loading time reduced from about half an hour to 3 minutes;
- Reduced manpower due to loading process automation;
- Fewer docks due to higher trailer loading capacity;
- Fewer trailers, trucks and drivers due to increased fleet utilization;
- Fewer or no forklifts and other equipment needed due to mechanization of process;
- Less warehouse space due to more concentrated flow of goods;
- Less buffer stock due to quicker inbound and outbound transportation of goods;
- Less space outside needed due to quicker turnaround times of trailers;
- Reduced damage of goods and equipment due to a controlled loading and unloading process;
- Safer working environment.
3. What typical industrial sector uses the Ancra ATLS?
Ancra Systems BV has installed systems in a wide range of industries: postal & parcel, FMCG, automotive, consumer durables, Health Care, industrial paper and airfreight sector. To get more detailed information concerning individual projects please check Ancra’s reference projects
4. What type of goods can be loaded automatically?
The Automated Truck Loading System allows handling of a wide range of products from palletized goods to non palletized ones. The Ancra ATLS is used for loading and unloading of among others: beverages, wheels, parcels and packages, fresh and frozen vegetables and other frozen products, consumer durables and electronics, even ducts or clothing for medical industry that requires special solutions due to Ethylene Oxide sterilization use. These systems can successfully manage heavy weights, large diameter materials, products subject to fragility or special temperature conditions.
5. Can non palletized goods be loaded automatically?
Yes, The Ancra Automated Truck Loading System allows loading and unloading of products either on or without pallets, slip sheets, racks or containers.
6. What type of systems are available?
Ancra Systems BV with more then 20 years of experience on the ATLS market specializes in engineering, designing and manufacturing of the following systems:
- Chain conveyor systems
- Belt conveyor systems
- Slat conveyor systems
- Skate systems
- Rollertrack systems
- Specials: systems engineered customer specific
To get more detailed information click on the system that are you interested in.
7. What is the typical Return On Investment time?
The ROI depends mainly on the driving time and the volume of goods that get shipped. The shorter the driving time and the higher the volume, the shorter the ROI. If these criteria are met, the typical ROI time is usually one to two years. To check your ROI please fill the ROI calculator.
The ATLS loading and unloading time is less then 5 minutes. Conventional loading or unloading with a forklift or hand pallet truck takes 30 – 45 minutes on average. The main savings therefore are the dramatically reduced ‘truck turnaround time’. This can be compared with airlines that try to minimize the time an airplane is docked at the gate, or a Formula 1 car that can do a full pit stop in less then 10 seconds.
8. What type of modifications to trailers are required?
To get the most out of your ATLS, three separate systems are required: one system in the trailer and a ‘fixed’ installation inside the loading dock and a fixed installation at the unloading dock. This configuration ensures maximal efficiencies both at the loading and unloading side.
Sometimes a fixed system cannot be installed at the loading or unloading side, because of lack of internal space, or due to multiple loading or unloading point. If this is the case, significant savings can still be realized by index loading or unloading by forklift truck. In case of index loading the forklift can place the pallets at the back of the trailer and the system will index each row of pallets into the trailer. This way, the forklift does not have to enter the trailer, which is a time saver. The same saving applies when unloading without a fixed system.
9. What about safety with regard to the Ancra ATLS?
The Ancra ATLS is designed and built according to the highest safety standards defined in the European Machine Guideline.
By automating the loading and unloading process, both damage and injury rates will fall drastically. The commonly used 13,6 m trailers are automatically loaded within 2,5 minutes. The tractor unit will usually stay connected to the trailer. Therefore, securing a trailer for tilting is not necessary. As forklift trucks no longer enter the trailer anymore, there is no risk of falling off the loading dock. Nor the trailer or the loaded product will get damaged by a forklift truck.
10. What are the leasing possibilities?
Ancra has developed financial lease options both for ‘fixed’ dock and trailer systems. Furthermore, Ancra is able to provide trailers with systems installed in full operational lease. You can contact us for more detailed information.
11. How does Ancra provide after sales services?
First of all, the systems are engineered in such a way that very little service and maintenance is required, Ancra has a team of 10 mechanical and electrical trained technicians that can provide all aftermarket services. Ancra has developed both maintenance and service contracts and has a 24hour hotline. To efficiently organize service and maintenance abroad, we use a multiple tier approach.
All systems are designed for ease of maintenance, in order for customer technical staff to be able to service the majority of minor technical issues, based on the training and documentation provided by Ancra Systems.
If the customer accepts Ethernet access, Ancra is able to monitor the systems and diagnose possible issues real time. Ancra is available for 10X5 (Monday - Friday / 8:00 AM – 18:00 PM) on call support. If required, 24X7 on call support can be organized.
Given the nature of the systems, a local service organization can be trained to provide on site technical support. Ancra has developed relationships with such service partners in most of it’s main markets.
In case of major technical failures, Ancra technicians can be on site within 24hours. We expect these situations to be highly incidental .
12. How does Ancra operate abroad?
In the most important markets outside of the Benelux, Ancra has appointed representatives who can look after local contacts and can provide local technical and administrative support. For an overview, go to ‘Ancra World Wide’.