The largest automated, pallet-free car park in Europe has opened its doors in Aarhus, Denmark, as part of the city's new library, citizens' advice bureau and "Dokk1" cultural centre complex. Behind the project is Lödige Industries GmbH from Warburg, Germany, which supplied a car Park System turnkey solution including the car park storage construction, mechanical engineering, electrical, IT control and payment system services.
The automated, pallet-free system offers some 1,000 parking spaces spread across three floors below the new building. "Drivers park their car at ground level in one of 20 booths and receive a ticket. The booth is the interface between the driver and the car park. From the moment the driver parks his car, everything is automatic", says Philippe De Backer, CEO of Lödige Industries GmbH. The booth's rolling gate closes and the car is transported below ground in a lift before it is collected by one of 24 horizontal transfer vehicles and brought to a free parking space."
The Lödige Shifter as an efficient alternative to the pallet
The real innovation is not simply the size of the car park - automated car parks rarely exceed 300 parking spaces - it's the absence of pallets that are traditionally used as carrier units. This makes the whole system much quicker and more efficient, as no empty pallets need to be transported between car movements.
In Aarhus, the Lödige Shifter does the heavy lifting. This is an ultra-flat robot that drives underneath the car and lifts it up at the wheels to take it from the lift to the transfer vehicle and transport it to the parking space. The robot is controlled via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, a world first in an industrial application. The Shifter is also an adaptive system - in other words, it can accommodate cars of any type and size.
Redundant technology - safe and innovative
System failure, in which the driver doesn't get their car back, has been eliminated thanks to redundancies. The car park can also be switched to partially automated or manual operation as and when necessary, such as for maintenance work. Lödige staff and maintenance technicians are always on hand, as Lödige concluded a 20-year full-service agreement for the car park. In addition, the system is also connected to the 24/7 Lödige helpdesk to provide additional support to drivers. One special feature of the car park is the "shopping drop-off", as Philippe De Backer explains: "If you simply want to put your shopping in the car but are not yet ready to drive home, you can call for the car, put the bags in the boot and leave it to be parked again - without having to pay again, of course."
Convenience for the customer
For drivers, an automated car park is extremely convenient - no need to navigate through the busy and congested streets looking for a space, no need to have to remember on which floor and space you have parked your car. The time it takes to park is a fraction of the time normally spent in conventional car parks. In addition, vehicles are better protected from general Car Park damages i.e. scratches or dents. Parking prices are in line with Aarhus' price structure, in other words the automated service is no more expensive for the driver than normal parking. In terms of urban planning, the minimal amount of space the automated car park takes up is particularly important to note. Compact construction is the key, especially in city centres. Parking systems must fit into a limited space, which is why automated solutions are so attractive.
Efficient transport times
The statistics speak for themselves when it comes to this automated car park, says Mr. De Backer: "In the first month of operation, 16,200 cars were parked in the new car park. 60 percent of these were a first-time user, which shows how simple and accessible the car park is. We can handle an average of 235 cars per hour using our system."
• Average duration of the parking procedure from the driver's point of view (parking the car in a booth to requesting a parking ticket): 60 to 120 seconds
• Return time (from payment to receiving the vehicle): 60 to 120 seconds, in 85 percent of cases
Lödige Industries has over 60 years of experience in logistical transportation systems and lifts and has already implemented countless compact parking solutions in line with the "Lödige Park-and-Hide" principle. Further projects are already in the pipeline, such as the automated car park for the new Danish architecture centre "BLOX" in Copenhagen.
About Lödige Industries Group
Headquartered in the German town of Warburg in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Lödige Industries Group was founded in 1948 and now has an international presence with sites in Asia, the Middle East, the United States and all over Europe. A family-run enterprise, Lödige Industries employs more than 1,000 people worldwide. Lödige Industries supplies materials handling solutions for a broad range of industries and specialises in providing complex material flow systems for logistics tasks.