The oldest printing machine manufacturer in the world, Koenig & Bauer Group in Würzburg, Germany, is now using 70 new Hyster forklift trucks in their plants.
An in-house guidance system enables trucks to drive around 200 different stations in the operation – from the production areas for sheet, web offset and digital printing machines, plus special machines for the production of banknotes, through to the warehouse, and from the in-house foundry up to the administration area.
"We cannot afford to make trips without loads," says Olaf Wittmeier, Transport Manager at Koenig & Bauer. "Our goal is to use the right forklift truck for all in-house transport, picking up urgent shipments and delivering them to the required work station on time, as the employee will already be waiting there for the components."
To help achieve this, the robust Hyster forklift trucks have a display in the cabin, which shows the next job directly to the driver. Intelligent software for the truck control system also calculates the optimal route and keeps the number of empty runs to a minimum.
While part of the Hyster fleet is managed by the control system, the rest of the trucks are used within the production process or for loading and unloading lorries. The range of trucks in use includes reliable Hyster P1.8AC electric powered pallet truck, the Hyster S1.6AC pedestrian stacker, both with and without the initial lift option, the Hyster P2.0SD platform double stacker truck and the Hyster S1.5S stacker with folding platform. The fleet also includes both 48V and 80V Hyster electric counterbalance forklift trucks and robust diesel Hyster® forklifts, such as the Hyster H3.0FT and H5.5FT Advance.
Koenig & Bauer invented the first cylinder printing machine in the world
In 1812, Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Bauer invented the world's first cylinder printing machine in London, creating the foundations for industrial printing. Five years later, the pioneers created the first fast press printing factory in Würzburg, Germany - Koenig & Bauer – where today, inkjet and offset rotary machines are being developed for commercial, decorative, functional, packaging and newspaper printing.
Koenig & Bauer is the world leader in sheet-fed offset printing and newspaper printing. The company's largest sheet-fed offset presses, for example, can handle up to 18,000 sheets per hour and have six printing units.
In recent years, Koenig & Bauer has had to adjust its capacities due to the advances in digitalisation and declines within the advertising market, with consequences for their intralogistics operations. In the year 2000, a fully automated small part warehouse and a pallet depot were placed into operation. Parts up to 2.2m long can be kept in the pallet storage area, from where they can be transported by forklift trucks to the nearest station in the production department.
Four-wheel electric forklift replaces standard diesel forklift truck
"In order to reduce operating costs, we decided to modernise our forklift fleet," says Hermann Schätzlein, Logistics Manager for Koenig & Bauer in Würzburg. "Wherever possible, we replaced existing diesel trucks with modern, zero-emissions, electric Hyster® four-wheel counterbalanced forklift trucks, which are better for the environment."
A number of electric forklifts with load capacities from 1.8 to 4.5 tonnes are now at the heart of the operation, including those from the Hyster J1.6-2.0XN truck series, which offer an especially small turning circle.
The powerful Hyster J3.0XN counterbalanced forklifts also have a minimal turning circle, alongside superior energy efficiency. Thanks to their powerful three-phase current technology for the drive and lifting mechanism, these robust machines are particularly suitable for demanding applications over long shifts. Koenig & Bauer has also equipped several of the 3-tonne capacity forklift trucks with an integrated fork positioning device and side thrust adjusters, as well as KOOI telescopic forks, which enable loading and unloading of the trucks from one side. In addition, some machines have been equipped with 360° rotatable fork clamps to allow metal boxes to be transported and then emptied directly from the truck.
Forklift for indoor and outdoor use
"At our plant in Frankenthal we use Hyster J4.5XN for heavy loads," says Hermann Schätzlein. "This powerful truck not only has a lifting capacity of 4.5 tonnes but is also suitable for both indoor and outdoor use."
Despite a low level of energy consumption, this electric forklift achieves performance comparable to a truck with an internal combustion engine. Like the Hyster J3.0XN machines in the application, these trucks have a rotatable fork clamp attachment for handling metal containers but also transport heavy components required for the printing presses.
Forklift fleet successfully modernised
Almost one year after the changeover to Hyster trucks, Hermann Schätzlein can see the benefits.
"We have succeeded in significantly reducing overall operating costs. The purchase of new, low-maintenance, Hyster equipment allowed us to reduce our use of a technician to three days, instead of the whole week," says Hermann Schätzlein.
"At the beginning, it wasn't clear that Hyster would win the tender," he continues, explaining that it wasn't until nearly the end of the tender process that Hyster dealer Jochen Kotschnereuther, CEO of Kotschenreuther Stapler- und Dystemtechnik GmbH, provided a proposal.
Due to the standardisation of the 3-tonne forklifts and the best full-service offering, Kotschenreuther was ultimately able to beat the competition, convincing not only the managing directors, but also the operational team and the drivers.
"Everything falls within the service agreement," explains Olaf Wittmeier. "For us, this was the most convincing reason to use Hyster forklift trucks in all our plants in the future."
"Everything had to be done very quickly," explains Jochen Kotschnereuther. "The first 50 forklifts were replaced within just three months and it was a challenge for us to deliver so many machines in such a short time. In fact, in order to temporarily meet the customer's needs, we used our company's own rental fleet."
"However, in the end everything worked very smoothly, thanks to the professionalism of the specialists at Koenig & Bauer," Jochen Kotschenreuther concludes.