Augmented Reality and Wearable Computing with Hänel Storage Systems

Alliance with the innovative start-up nxtBase

Traditional supply chains are undergoing fundamental change as a result of Industry 4.0. Efficient intralogistics solutions and the optimization of picking processes are decisive factors that are having an impact in this era of change.

Hänel was among the first business enterprises to recognize the potential benefits that Augmented Reality and Wearable Computing could bring to logistics and manufacturing processes. Hänel also took the lead by adding these innovative technologies to its product portfolio in 2016. The information technology specialists at MAN collaborated with Hänel experts in one of the first projects that linked two Hänel Lean-Lift® systems to SAP and also enabled storage system operation via smartglasses. This project, conducted in collaboration with nxtBase, was the first solution of its kind worldwide which enabled the operation of a vertical storage system with an optical augmented reality device. This solution has been in productive operation ever since.

It marks the arrival of a new era in terms of digital warehousing technologies – and Hänel’s advanced control systems already provide the ideal basis for operating and managing industrial storage systems directly with augmented reality devices.

In its role as technology leader, Hänel has formed a global alliance with nxtBase, a specialist when it comes to AR products and voice recognition. The start-up has already contributed to several successful Hänel projects.

nxtBase offers a product known as “Q” which is the world’s first augmented reality solution “To go.” Q is a combination of hardware and software which enables system operators to autonomously perform and document logistics processes, follow step-by-step instructions, and conduct QM/maintenance processes using an optical AR device with voice control. The process does not require a manual scanner or data input via keyboards. When using Hänel controllers equipped with an integrated SOAP interface, system operators can perform all warehouse and storage transactions via augmented reality in combination with voice control – the process even includes automatic booking in the ERP system. Voice control is available in many languages. The AR device displays all order picking information within the operator’s direct fi eld of vision. Direct visual control of the picking process prevents errors or mix-ups while also accelerating operations considerably.

Ongoing further development of Hänel control technology and the innovative augmented reality concept support the implementation of this future-centric intralogistics solution without complexity and without additional middleware in nearly every kind of warehouse environment.

Hänel offers solutions today that support the intralogistics of tomorrow – and the alliance with nxtBase is another step that demonstrates our leadership!