Hub2Move: the transhipment centre of the future?

Project partner present their findings with regard to flexible warehousing.

On 28 January 2016, the affiliated partners of the “Hub2Move” research project presented their project findings regarding the relocatable transhipment centre. “Thanks to new more flexible, mobile and more easily adaptable handling, conveying and warehousing technology, the transhipment centre of the future is to a certain extent packed up and ready to go: all systems and processes can be adjusted to suit new requirements within just a few days,” explains project manager Guido Follert of the Dortmund Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and LogistikIML. Logistics companies would thus have the ability to regularly revise ad optimise their transport network. Material flow systems could also be implemented several times at current points of use.

Companies are getting on board

At the same time, companies could respond more quickly to customer orders or seasonal fluctuations on account of the newfound capacity of innovative plants and systems to adapt. The financial expense associated with the “change of scenery” is also reduced. Some of the project partners from the business sector – Lanfer Automation, Logata Digital Solutions, Ryll, Still and Stute Logistics – have also brought their own development projects to Hub2Move and are already implementing some of the solutions.

Internal adaptability

Within the context of the closing event, the scientists from the Fraunhofer IML summarised the research findings regarding continuous conveyor technology, industrial trucks and control technology in a demonstrator and made this accessible. Three different scenarios explain how an intelligent technology and the IT-based networking of machines and systems enable the so-called internal adaptability of a transhipment centre.

As such, continuous conveyor systems are flexibly and quickly put together from individual conveyor modules. Each conveyor module is fitted with a control unit, which is self-configuring.
Furthermore, mobile transport robots organise their routes independently thanks to a decentralised and manufacturer-neutral traffic management system. Thus, the user can decide on the level of automation – manual, assisting or fully autonomous – at all times (the “Automation on Demand” principle).

The transport order management is integrated into the “Logistics App Store”, the Logistics Mall. The entire system can then be controlled via mobile apps.
The Hub2Move research project is one of the 30 joint projects of the EffizienzClusterLogistikRuhr, which received support from the German Federal Government within the scope of the Top Cluster Competition. It views itself as a pioneer for Industry 4.0, on account of having used and tested corresponding technologies. “We are convinced that the experience acquired within the scope of the project will result in the establishment of numerous new products on the market,” says Thorsten Hülsmann, Managing Director of EffizienzCluster Management GmbH. “At the same time, here we have a project with which the benefits of Industry 4.0 can be successfully conveyed to even small and medium sized companies.”

LOGISTIK HEUTE (Logistics Today) – A forum on the topic

LOGISTIK HEUTE had already addressed the topic in the forum entitled “The distribution of tomorrow – transhipment in the Hub2Move”, which took place in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics on 7 May 2015 at the transport logistic exhibition. Discussions centred on the advantages, but also the challenges that go hand in hand with the so-called adaptable warehouse. The initial ideas developed within the project have already been presented here (as reported by LOGISTIK HEUTE).


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