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Automated car parking set to transform carpark design

MHE-Demag is introducing proven automated technology that will help designers slash space requirements for carparks.

Cars and the space they take up are a major challenge for city designers, who often need to sacrifice space for roads.

In some cities, such as Stockholm and London, measures are being introduced to reduce the number of cars on the road to regain space for citizens to live and mingle.

MHE-Demag, a manufacturer of industrial cranes, hoists, warehousing equipment and compact construction equipment aims to help designers with its automated car parking solutions.

The system makes use of Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) to park cars, reducing the amount of space required as there is no longer a need to allow for space to open car doors. In addition, the AGVs can go in all lateral directions, reducing the need to turn and position cars.

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Vince Di Costanzo, Managing Director of MHE Demag, says the company’s automated car parking system allows city planners and designers to make car parking spaces much more effective.

“Additionally, car parking spaces can be designed without the headroom required for human access. All in all, automated car parking allows us to park cars more efficiently by an order of magnitude and thus helps us to regain much needed space in urban area,” he says.

The AGV car parking system was first launched in 2018, at Robinson Towers in Singapore. Since then, the company has secured more projects across the Asia-Pacific region and is about to begin installation of a similar system at Castle Residences – a new development in the Sydney CBD.

This technology has been around for more than 30 years in warehouses, ports, hospitals and even in-home vacuuming.

Di Costanzo says there are two distinctions to be made when comparing AGV to other car parking systems.

“The first is comparing AGV to conventional car parking where people drive in and park by themselves. The second comparison is between AGV and mechanical car parking systems,” he says.

“Mechanical systems are usually integrated steel structures with a lot of moving parts, that are all interconnected. This means the car and the system will go through endless ‘clunky’ movements and a constant start/stop. In case the mechanical system runs into an issue, the whole operation stops, which leaves people exposed to the risk of not being able to access their vehicles.

Di Costanzo says AGVs, in comparison, operate in a considerably smoother way and are less susceptible to system breakdown.

“The smooth operation stems from the AGV being driven by two centrally located wheels and run on a concrete slab. The AGV in fact is so silent that we had to add music to the machine to avoid alert maintenance personnel when they access the car parking area,” he says.

AGVs can also operate redundantly. Because of the size of a car park, it is highly likely there will be more than one in operation, so in the case of a breakdown, another unit can take up the workload.

MHE-Demag’s AGV at Robinson Towers has been working smooth and without any problems. This has made the company confident that it can offer a car parking solution to other markets using the technology.

It is also planning to explore possible ways to retrofit the system into existing car park infrastructure.

“We see urban hubs in Australia becoming more and more densely populated and developed,” Di Costanzo says.

“Regardless of whether the goal is to fit more cars or to regain space for other purposes, one thing is clear: The way we are currently parking our cars is highly inefficient. With that in mind the potential is yet to be uncovered.

“We strongly believe that AGV car parking systems will play a significant role in future urban developments in Australia.”

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