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Jungheinrich ERC 215a
Jungheinrich arculee

The future of automation

With the integration of arculus, a company active in the field of autonomous mobile robots (AMR), Jungheinrich has further expanded its offering in its position as a pioneer in automated intralogistics. In addition to autonomous mobile robots, new software solutions for mobile automation complement the Jungheinrich product portfolio and improve its market position in fast-growing segments such as e-commerce.

In this interview, Jungheinrich managers Dr Markus Heinecker, Vice President Automated Systems Mobile Robots, and Markus Skof, Vice President Technics Digital Products, explain what other opportunities the acquisition offers and how the automation sector at Jungheinrich is developing.

Jungheinrich has done pioneering work in various areas. To what extent does this apply to automation?
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Dr Markus Heinecker: Back in the 1960s, Jungheinrich was one of the first companies to drive automated intralogistics forward. Especially in the past few years, the trend towards automation has continued growing, partly because efficiency and safety are occupying a greater position in the warehouse.
Markus Skof: Today, we are pioneers when it comes to end-to-end solutions. Our customers can get everything they need from Jungheinrich: We offer manual, semi-automated and fully automated systems and optimise the mix of trucks based on the respective warehouse sizes and requirements of our customers.
What are the biggest advantages for Jungheinrich stemming from the acquisition of arculus?
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Dr Markus Heinecker: In the Strategy 2025+, we identified automation as a central field of action and decided to expand the “Mobile Robots” division. To this end, we have strengthened our portfolio by adding UPC shuttle solutions for transport tasks and goods-to-person order picking. The AMR and software expertise held by arculus is a perfect fit for Jungheinrich.
Are there any early reference projects?
In which industries do you see the greatest future potential for mobile robots?
Markus Skof: The additional offerings in the field of automation consolidate our position as a “one-stop-shop” provider, enabling us to access additional customers and industries. This access would not have become possible so quickly without the technology and expertise of arculus – both in software and robotics.
What are the main factors driving the trend towards even more automation in intralogistics?
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Markus Skof: There is potential for automation in intralogistics wherever manual work is carried out. But the question is always whether the effort and cost of an automated solution is worth it? In some applications, it is currently not yet economical to use technology to replace manual work, either fully or in part. There are still many other possibilities that are currently being researched and worked on in order to support the people who work in intralogistics as best as possible.
Does this mean that in the near future there will only be fully automated warehouses without people?
Dr Markus Heinecker: No, because the most powerful automated system always consists of the interaction between man and machine. Sensible automation can involve machines taking over tasks where their strengths come into play. There will, however, be areas where humans are simply superior to machines.
Markus Skof: We get the best result when we use automation in places where it can replace manual work in a process-safe and cost-optimised way, and thereby support people. We want to keep pushing the boundaries of automation and play a pioneering role in driving growth in this area.

Our Automation Portfolio