Siemens Nederland and VDL strengthen partnership for second-generation Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)

This fall, Siemens Nederland and VDL Automated Vehicles will launch the second generation of their automated logistics platform based on Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) for industrial firms with mixed-traffic sites. To further boost this intensive partnership, Siemens Nederland CEO Dirk De Bilde, Edwin Willems, Senior Vice President VDL Groep and Karel Smits, Business Unit Manager VDL Automated Vehicles signed a partnership agreement at the Hanover Trade Show.

This combines the expertise and experience of Siemens and VDL to further develop the required infrastructure, such as the power supply and network, as well as virtual simulations (“digital twins”) for the second generation of electric AGVs.


VDL: from ports to industrial applications

VDL has been building AGVs for use in port environments for years. These operate at the world’s biggest and most advanced container terminals. In 2017 VDL began developing smaller AGVs for industrial firms with “mixed traffic” at their plants. This hybrid automated/non-automated transportation is gaining ground on the European market thanks to its wide range of applications.

With the second generation of AGVs, VDL and Siemens will deliver even better solutions to the current challenges companies face. One of these is the increasingly tight labor market and the driver shortage. Available drivers can take on more “outbound” shipping, while automated vehicles, with an availability of 95%, can handle trips onsite. Their main benefit is greater process stability and continuity.

Electric transportation also helps companies meet energy targets, boost sustainability and lower CO2 emissions. Pilot studies also point to a reduction in injuries and damage.

Siemens: from drive units to digital twins

Siemens will supply all of the drive units, automation and digitization – from electric motors to visualization software. The Siemens software consists of tested and certified modules that can be deployed for a variety of vehicle functions. Siemens will also provide the safety solutions needed in an automated system.

First they will build the entire system in a virtual environment. They will then use this “digital twin” to simulate the logistics process. This environment features everything from circulating pedestrians and charging stations, to simulated vehicle speeds for specific performance levels.

Dirk De Bilde, CEO of Siemens Nederland: “We are delighted to strengthen our intensive partnership with VDL today. Our combined expertise and the platform approach – or ‘ecosystem thinking’ – can further accelerate innovation in the area of automated transport for industrial applications.”

Karel Smits, Business Unit Manager at VDL Automated Vehicles: “The state-of-the-art technology of these second-generation AGVs will help industrial firms make their onsite logistics safer, more efficient, more reliable and more sustainable. Over the coming years, we look forward to further developing this technology in close collaboration with Siemens, for a wide range of successful applications in a variety of sectors.”