DS Smith deploys AGV fleet at major UK paper mill

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Sustainable packaging company DS Smith has invested in 10 automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to increase sustainability and efficiency at its Kemsley Paper Mill in Kent.

The all-electric Rocla vehicles, supplied by Mitsubishi Logisnext Europe Oy, operate 24/7 and perform a variety of tasks around the fully automated warehouse, including collecting reels from the production conveyor, storing them and picking them for orders.

When the AGVs aren’t tasked with work, they automatically switch to ‘housekeeping’ mode, rotating stocks in order of age to maximise warehouse capacity.

The robots, which have an average lifespan of 12 years, can transport paper reels safely around the warehouse at speeds of up to 8mph.

They operate with zero local emissions and when their battery level drops to 30%, they complete their current task before going to the Automated Battery Exchange Station where they choose the optimum charged battery as they get ready for another 10-hour shift.

DS Smith has replaced forklifts with 10 Rocla AGVs for a fully automated warehouse

Reportedly the largest mill for recycled papers in the UK, the Kemsley facility has an annual production capacity of over 840,000 tonnes.

Ben Jennings, mill manager at Kemsley Paper Mill, said: “The recent boom in e-commerce has increased the demand for our papers and packaging.

“Every day, around 2,200-2,400 tonnes of paper leaves the Kemsley mill and so it’s critical that our talented team has the latest innovations to benefit our people, customers and the environment.”

Last month, DS Smith announced it had partnered with global industrial technology company Trimble to advance digitalisation at its paper mills across Europe following a successful trial at Kemsley of its data mining platform, Wedge.

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