Storage, picking, transport: which technology to choose?

Heidelberg - 25.10.2017

Greater product variety and rising cost pressures are placing new demands on storage, picking and transport systems, such as low investment costs and high adaptability. These aspects can be particularly challenging for small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs), who must choose such systems carefully in order to stay globally competitive. In particular, they need to focus on versatility and automation levels, and how these factors affect and depend on each other.

To support SMEs in this situation, the Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover gGmbH (Institute for Integrated Production, IPH) has set up a research project named “Versatility and automation levels for storage, picking and transport systems”, known as WALaTra, an acronym of the German title. The project is being supported by io-consultants with an experienced team of specialists and a range of self-designed tools that can be used to localise conflicts and generate a selection of solution scenarios.

The challenge is to develop a method that helps investment decision-makers to specify the necessary level of adaptability and automation, taking into account the products that need to be stored and how storage is organised. A ‘directory’ of existing storage, picking and transport systems that classifies their adaptability and automation options is essential to the system selection process.
The research team is now developing a ‘software demonstrator’ that will help SMEs find an optimal combination of systems according to the individual needs and specifications. With this information, users can configure the best solution for the respective purpose.

The WALaTra research project, which began in August 2017 and will run for two years, is being funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).

The Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover (IPH) gGmbH researches and develops production technology. It was founded in 1988 as a spin-off from Leibniz University Hanover.

For more information about the project, please visit this site.

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