Loading and unloading trucks is a time-consuming process that is mostly carried out manually. Truck drivers spend a significant amount of time every year waiting at warehouses to load and unload. For shippers these processes are seen as a necessary evil. VIL worked out the project ‘OptiCharge’ to see how automation can make loading and unloading more efficient.

status: Closed | theme: Digital transformation | type: Regional

The project ‘OptiCharge’ looked for more efficient loading and unloading processes through automation for both shippers and transporters. The complete process of loading and unloading was analyzed at the participating companies (including related processes like pre-sorting, checks, storage,…). The different kinds of automation available today and state-of-the-art solutions in the pipeline were examined. 


  • lower transportation costs (fewer waiting lines)
  • optimal deployment of manpower and assets
  • lower personnel expenses
  • optimal use of warehouse space
  • fewer damages



  • VIL conducted a market study into the state-of-the-art loading and unloading solutions that can further automate the logistics chain.
  • The systems can be categorized into three types:
    • Automated Guided Vehicle or AGV based systems: industrial robots that can move around independently .
    • One-shot based systems that can load and unload a full load in and out of the trailer in one go.
    • Semi-automated systems where human interaction cannot fully be eliminated.
  • VIL developed a successful business case and Proof of Concept at the chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut. A shot-shot based skate system was able to unload 26 pallets in 10 minutes, without hitch or damage. This provides a clear time saving compared to the 45 minutes that manual unloading currently takes.
  • This project shows that there is an automation solution for every type of load and warehouse.



Start: November 2018
Total lead time: 28 months

Participating companies

Thirtheen companies: Atlas Copco Airpower, Barry Callebaut, Blue Projects, Group GTS, H.Essers, Ontex, Scania, Spadel, Stelrad Radiator Group, Tenneco, Vario Food Group, Volvo and Yusen Logistics (Benelux).

Project partner
Universiteit Antwerpen





Would you like to know more?

Contact projecten@vil.be

Press (in Dutch)

24/02/2021 – VIL persbericht – Enorme tijdswinst dankzij geautomatiseerd laden en lossen

27/11/2018 – VIL persbericht – VIL zet in op automatisering van laad- en losprocessen


VIL stands for strong logistics in Flanders


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