There are many different intralogistics solutions on the market solving the problems of moving payloads quickly and efficiently around the industrial process floor. However, many have the inherent disadvantage that they consume floor-space and create barriers to other personnel and goods movements.
Multicar is an innovative monorail solution manufactured by Telelift Logistics in Munich and distributed in the UK by Quirepace. Multicar is able to route payload transportation at high level, clear and away from the operational floor, and descend only in the vicinity of the process area that needs to be served by a transportation system.
Multicar is a network monorail system, which can be configured to travel both horizontally and vertically (and at any gradient) throughout a building or facility. On this track network, autonomous ‘trolleys’ can carry payloads up to 40kg from anywhere and to anywhere. Each transaction can be initiated either through an HMI, via a payload ID# (e.g. RFID or Barcode) or through an interface with a WMS, ERP or other external system.
The ability to travel vertically is a key feature of the Multicar system and allows payloads to be carried between different floors without introducing dedicated lifters. This flexibility also means that the building layout can be optimised, opening the possibility of using high-level space that might otherwise be inaccessible or not cost-effective to use.
The throughput capability of the Multicar network is dependent on both the track layout and the number of the trolleys. High throughputs can be obtained with trolleys operating in close sequence. Multicar is a modular, expandable and scalable solution. The track network can be extended whenever required, and the layout can be as complex as the application requires. Throughput can be scaled by the addition of additional trolleys, which are all able to operate on the network simultaneously.
The control architecture of the Multicar system divides the network into track segments, with each segment controller handing over traffic to adjacent segment controllers as operational demand dictates.
Payloads are carried by a load-handling device designed to suit the application. The load handling device usually keeps the payload horizontal throughout the transaction journey either through a gravitational pendulum effect, or through dynamic rotation by dedicated motor drive. The load-handling device can be configured for automated load-unload if required and can, for example, interface with buffer roller conveyors for loading and offloading crates and cartons.
Applications within industry are, for example collecting output from manufacturing processes and delivering to storage and delivering components to the production line. Multicar is a very smooth transport and is ideally suited for sensitive payloads.
A unique feature of the Multicar monorail system is the ability to operate on both horizontal and vertical track. This not only allows Multicar to service different levels and floors within a facility, but allows payloads to be transported across a facility at high level, keeping production areas and accesses clear. This enhances the health and safety of operatives since it reduces the interaction between personnel and intralogistics systems.
Multicar is a mature product developed over more than 30 years of Electric Track vehicle systems and is a development of the lighter duty Unicar system (with maximum payload 15kg). It has been proven in operation within automotive manufacturing (BMW, VW) and within the UK for specialised nuclear applications.
The Multicar standard specification provides for comprehensive inputs and outputs with external systems, including fire-door and fire-door control system which are also part of the Telelift equipment, ensuring that Multicar can operate within any building environment.