Three-minute truck unloading tech comes to US through acquisition

by MM&D Online Staff

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS—The Heico Companies LLC has acquired Ancra Systems BV. Ancra Systems is a leader in the field of automatic truck (un)loading systems also known as ATLS. Headquartered in Boxtel, Netherlands, Ancra Systems is one of only a few global specialists in its field and expands Heico holdings of cargo management entities.

“This acquisition will bring advanced loading system technology to the North American trucking and material handling sectors and extend the advantages of automation throughout the warehouse, to the docks and into the trailers,” Steve Frediani, president and CEO of the Heico’s Ancra platform, stated.

Loading and unloading a 53-foot trailer with palletized cargo can commonly take between 30 and 45 minutes using a forklift. By contrast, loading and unloading a trailer using one of several automated systems from Ancra Systems can be accomplished in about three minutes.

Traditional forklift-based cargo movement within a warehouse or on a dock can pose safety risks. OSHA statistics indicate that there are roughly 85 forklift-related fatalities and 34,900 serious injuries each year. Precision automation significantly reduces the opportunity for human error to adversely affect cargo movement within a facility, including its impact on the loading and unloading process.

“Automation and the efficiencies it brings has already permeated many dimensions of manufacturing and warehouse operations in Europe and North America,” Marc Hezemans, managing director for Ancra Systems BV, said. “The difference is that many European operations have been enjoying the additional benefits of our automated truck loading and unloading systems for more than 20 years.”

Recognized as an innovator in material handling and ATLS in Europe, the Middle East and South America, Ancra Systems has helped many multinational blue chip customers realize dramatic improvements in efficiency, equipment utilization gains and reduced product damage. The application of its automated systems has translated directly to cost reductions and increases in average 18-month ROI. Customers have also benefited from improved working conditions and safer working environments.

The company offers six distinct systems with custom design capabilities that are constantly pushing the envelope of what is technically possible.

Solutions include a Chain Conveyor System and Skate System for palletized freight, a Roller Conveyor System for air cargo, a Slat Conveyor System for mixed and palletized freight, a Plastic Belt System for mixed and palletized freight, and a Belt Conveyor System for loose loaded parcels.

The company also offers two systems that require no trailer-mounted equipment interface. The Skate Loader and Load Runner Plus enable users to gain the advantages of ATLS without any need to upfit or retrofit trailers.

The most likely candidates for the company’s system applications are manufacturers or distributors of high-volume, relatively standardized products operating in closed-loop environments, JIT scenarios and certain one-way loading applications. Industries include trucking, logistics, material handling, food, beverage, cold chain and a wide variety of manufacturers, particularly tier-one and tier-two suppliers in close proximity to customers.

“We are excited to bring our automatic loading and unloading systems to the North American market, and we expect to have our North American sales and technical support in position by the end of the first quarter of 2017,” Marcel Berkers, sales director for Ancra Systems BV, said. “We’ve watched these systems positively change industries around the world, and we expect the same thing to occur here in North America as well.”