Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics

Dortmund, Germany

Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics

Dortmund, Germany

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Geis I.,Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics | Schulz W.H.,Zeppelin University
Transportation Research Record | Year: 2016

The past decade has been characterized by a substantial increase in transport volume. In particular, road networks have reached their limits. Increasing emissions, congestion, and accidents have signaled a need for action. Besides technological innovations and behavioral change due to regulations, incentivizing voluntary modal change is increasingly becoming important for European policy makers. The deployment of a multimodal information and ticketing system (MMITS) is considered an appropriate incentive to facilitate intermodal trips by reducing transaction costs and uncertainty (the system provides pre- and on-trip information and a booking option for one ticket for the whole intermodal trip). This study analyzed travelers' willingness to accept such a system and the impact of the intention to use an MMITS on travelers' modal choice, especially for medium and long distances. From a sample of six European countries, multiple regression analyses reveal high acceptance of the MMITS but a low impact on the intended behavioral change. Remarkably, for frequent car users, a reverse relationship is identifed. The results give empirical proof that an MMITS has an impact on travelers with weak habits and an empirical basis for the political decision whether to promote the deployment of an MMITS.


Kamagaew A.,Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics | Stenzel J.,Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics | Nettstrater A.,Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics | Ten Hompel M.,TU Dortmund
ICARA 2011 - Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Automation, Robotics and Applications | Year: 2011

The proposed concept of a Cellular Transport System shows the possibilities to increase the flexibility and changeability of facility logistics systems and enhances the ease of use of complex decentralized control systems. This contribution shows how to enhance these issues compared to conventional facility logistics systems, e.g. static conveyors, by using an autonomous vehicle swarm. Cellular Transport Systems are based on dedicated (cellular) material handling entities. Generally, these cells consist of autonomous transport vehicles (ATVs) or autonomous conveying modules. Various functions such as advanced sensor/actuator interoperation, highly reliable communication, localization and energy management are implemented in each of this cells, facilitating different forms of adaptive, anticipatory and collective behavior. Furthermore, Swarm Intelligence enables the creation of a collective that interacts and cooperates amongst each other in order to solve complex tasks. © 2011 IEEE.


News Article | April 25, 2016
Site: motherboard.vice.com

Military drones, sheep herding drones, delivery drones—a lot of game-changing tech has emerged out of the recent drone boom. And it’s only beginning. Now, drones are being outfitted with radio frequency identification (RFID) to help businesses track inventory. Picture this. A few times a week, a sales manager grabs a clipboard and walks around a car lot to see what is on the ground. That information is then entered into a computer and managed through an auto dealer’s software, which maintains data on everything from the car model, to price, and market value. That's the old way of taking inventory, and it is time-consuming and inefficient. Now, with the advent of drones, a fleet of airborne assistants can automate the drab inventory process. These drones whiz through outdoor yards to collect information about what items are available, and where. AGE Steel, a supplier in the United Arab Emirates, started using RFID drones in 2015 to locate pipes, coils, hot-rolled bars, and plates. Since then, according to managing director Asim Siddiqui, its ability to locate items in a 950,000-square-foot outdoor lot “jumped from around 70 percent to 99.8 percent.” “Our main issue was matching the system’s inventory to the physical inventory,” Siddiqui told me, speaking over the phone from his office in Dubai. “Often times, our computers would show that we have a particular part, but we couldn’t locate it when we needed it.” Locating items more quickly means it can them send out faster, too. The average loading time decreased from nine minutes to around four minutes after the RFID tag reader was introduced, according to Siddiqui. The AGE Steel drones were created by Exponent Technology Services, a UAE-based company that also has an office in Montreal. Its model mounts an RFID reader on a small, unmanned aerial vehicle. The RFID-equipped drone flies above goods, which are marked with active RFID tags, and collects data. The drones are functional in up to -35°C, making them capable of weathering a harsh Canadian winter—and torrid desert heat. Maroun Hannoush, CEO of Exponent North America, says this technology could transform the steel, oil and gas, lumber, retail, transport and construction, which are all big business here in Canada. According to Hannoush, who is based in Montreal, inventory problems are common in a number of industries. “One American transport company told us that they have had cases where inventory is loaded onto the wrong truck, and what is supposed to leave California for Florida ends up in Texas. Things get misplaced all the time. These kinds of errors cost companies a huge amount of time and money.” So just how much does it cost to purchase your very own flying robot? Hannoush says the cost can vary for different jobs in different industries.Each drone is “uniquely designed” for the buyer. The price varies according to “how many products require scanning, how often the customer needs the item scanned, the distance between each item,” as well as a number of other factors, he said. Some are skeptical that RFID-outfitted drones are the way of the future. Michael Carmichael, president of City Buick Chevrolet Cadillac GMC and regional vice president of the Humberview Group, one of the largest auto groups in Canada, says that for the auto industry, inventory management is critical because “used car inventory is perishable as it ages.” While a solution to speed up the dull and time-consuming inventory process sounds ideal, Carmichael says it’s not that simple. As a business, there is a lot to consider: “Will I have to replace the drone every six months? Can it truly handle a Canadian winter? Do we have to keep the cars completely clear of debris or snow? Because I know if I send my auditor out, he will touch every car and he will scrape off the car to check the VIN.” ADASA, an Oregon startup, has been developing its own RFID tag-reading drones. Founder Clarke McAllister said the goal is to “have push button inventory which is to know exactly what you have in store at any time.” Both Exponent and ADASA only offer outdoor models for now, but they say they are working on an indoor one. The Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics in Germany has also been working on a project that would overhaul the way inventory is tracked inside warehouses. InventAIRy’s goal is to create “flying inventory assistants” to replace people having to walk around and collect information about what’s in stock. Whether or not RFID drones become the norm in Canada, Carmichael believes that “precise inventory management” is the key to growth for a business. “In the old days, you just put a sales tag on a car and waited for someone to buy it. That day is gone.”


Thome A.M.T.,Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro | Scavarda L.F.,Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro | Pires S.R.I.,Methodist University of Piracicaba | Ceryno P.,Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Production Economics | Year: 2014

Over the past two decades, the scope of some key subjects in operations management has extended beyond the single company to include supply chain (SC) partners and their interactions. One example of such an extension is the contemporary concept of supply chain flexibility (SCF). Although there has been considerable academic progress on SCF, most of the previous studies on this topic have been confined to a single firm, thereby neglecting other important aspects of a supply chain. Therefore, the development of empirical multi-tier studies capable of investigating the inter-organisational components of SCF is required. Within this context, this paper has the purpose of exploring the main effects of flexible SC capabilities or their lack at various tiers that limit the SC's ability to provide products to end-customers. The research design was a multiple case study with internal and external validity checks, within-case analysis and cross-case comparisons, based on a research framework that scrutinises the relationships between SC contextual constraints and flexibility types. The study took place in three representative SCs of the Brazilian automotive industry and sought mainly to identify and compare SC contextual constraints that hinder product delivery to end-customers. Constraints such as suppliers' capacity, diversity of suppliers, suppliers' cooperation, trust and commitment, tariffs, exchange rates and inventory were identified in different supplier tiers of the OEMs as the main factors influencing the observed volume and mix flexibilities. Additionally, SCF types such as sourcing, relational, delivery, postponement, new product and responsiveness influenced the SC's flexibility provided to the end-customers. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Weichert F.,Sudan University of Science and Technology | Mertens C.,Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics | Walczak L.,Sudan University of Science and Technology | Kern-Isberner G.,Sudan University of Science and Technology | Wagner M.,Saarland University
Journal of Biomedical Informatics | Year: 2013

In this paper an approach for developing a temporal domain ontology for biomedical simulations is introduced. The ideas are presented in the context of simulations of blood flow in aneurysms using the Lattice Boltzmann Method. The advantages in using ontologies are manyfold: On the one hand, ontologies having been proven to be able to provide medical special knowledge e.g., key parameters for simulations. On the other hand, based on a set of rules and the usage of a reasoner, a system for checking the plausibility as well as tracking the outcome of medical simulations can be constructed. Likewise, results of simulations including data derived from them can be stored and communicated in a way that can be understood by computers. Later on, this set of results can be analyzed. At the same time, the ontologies provide a way to exchange knowledge between researchers. Lastly, this approach can be seen as a black-box abstraction of the internals of the simulation for the biomedical researcher as well. This approach is able to provide the complete parameter sets for simulations, part of the corresponding results and part of their analysis as well as e.g., geometry and boundary conditions. These inputs can be transferred to different simulation methods for comparison. Variations on the provided parameters can be automatically used to drive these simulations. Using a rule base, unphysical inputs or outputs of the simulation can be detected and communicated to the physician in a suitable and familiar way. An example for an instantiation of the blood flow simulation ontology and exemplary rules for plausibility checking are given. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


Li C.,Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics | Fang D.,Tongji University
WIT Transactions on Information and Communication Technologies | Year: 2014

In today's dynamic market, numerous dynamic influencing factors have seriously aggravated the difficulties of inventory planning of the complex distribution systems. This paper focuses on the decision support system for inventory policies of such complex distribution systems. This decision support system is based on the professional simulation tool OTD-NET, developed by Fraunhofer-Institute for Material flow and Logistics (IML). The special evolutionary algorithm NSGA-II is introduced in the simulationbased optimization model. They function like a black box, which accepts a set of values as the input parameters, and uses the performances collected from simulation to make decisions about the next selection. That means that the metaheuristics start from an initial solution, and then carry out an improving search guided by certain principles. Through comprehensively analyzing the KPIs (logistic service level and logistic costs) of this set of multiechelon inventory policies, their levels of robustness can be clearly ascertained. Based on the simulation results, a metaheuristic-based optimizer regenerates improved (more robust) multiechelon inventory policies, which are once again comprehensively and precisely evaluated through simulation. This closed feedback loop forms a simulation optimization process that enables the autonomous evolution of multiechelon inventory policies of complex distribution systems. © 2014 WIT Press.


Kamphues J.,Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics | Hegmanns T.,Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics
IFAC Proceedings Volumes (IFAC-PapersOnline) | Year: 2015

Distribution networks are subjected to an increasing dynamic. The ability to adapt to dynamic influences is, therefore, of great importance for the competitiveness of companies. This applies both to planning and material flow processes. However, common planning processes are inflexible due to the underlying planning approaches. Against this background, a modular planning approach that is capable of integrating diverse planning functionalities of inventory management was developed. For this purpose, a service-oriented architecture was introduced. In order to demonstrate the applicability, the approach is validated with a use case in the field of inventory management from the wholesale business. © 2015, IFAC (International Federation of Automatic Control) Hosting by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Nopper J.R.,Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics | Ten Hompel M.,Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics
Logistics Research | Year: 2010

Baggage handling at airports is among the most complex tasks for material handling: Baggage handling systems form a large-scale conveying network connecting multiple sources and sinks. Also, they are used in a very dynamic environment: Many airports grow rapidly on average but have to absorb significant variance in passenger numbers at the same time. Therefore, baggage-handling systems that are flexible regarding expansions or modifications are desirable. This can be realized by using a highly modular approach with each module containing its own control. This results in self-organized systems, which are also known as the Internet of Things in facility logistics. However, it is necessary to quantify resulting advantages in monetary terms to compare them with additional costs like necessary RFID tags. In this paper, we analyze a conventional and two possible implementations of self-organized baggage handling systems for a reference airport on the base of all relevant life-cycle costs. To account for thedynamic nature of expansion flexibility, we use a dynamic programming approach. The data for the reference scenario was carefully collected by evaluating public and nonpublic sources and is provided in this paper. Results suggest that self-organized systems can decrease life-cycle costs of typical baggage handling systems, and that savings exceed the costs of necessary RFID tags. © Springer-Verlag 2010.


Stroehmer M.,Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics
18th IAPRI World Packaging Conference | Year: 2012

Global e-commerce sales are heading for the $1 trillion dollar mark. In 2010, 170 million people purchased goods online in the US alone [1]. The growth of world wide web sales results in an increasing number of parcel deliveries. Most of the time a shipment consists of more than one product or the packaging design is not suitable for parcel transport. Therefore transport packaging is used to bundle the products and to ensure safe transport. The volume utilization (product to packaging ratio) of most shipments is poor, 20 percent or less is not unusual. The outcome is a lavish use of packaging and void filling materials which then have to be disposed of by the unsatisfied customer. The impacts on the environment are enormous. This excessive use of material destroys ecological resources. Furthermore, the poor utilization of transport capacities leads to increasing carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, neither the carbon footprint nor the packaging related costs (material, storage and distribution costs) are at an optimum. Triggered by this problem, the research project "repac" (reduced packaging assortment costs) was initiated at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics, Germany. The scope of the project was the development of a tool which carries out computer aided optimization of packaging spectra with regard to volume utilization.


Tavakoli A.,Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics | Biesen M.,Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics
IEEE International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management | Year: 2014

Many multinational corporations (MNCs) generate their revenue abroad and feature different manufacturing facilities in various countries. Within the network of a MNC, each facility exhibits its own functional strategies. Thus, the individual strategic role of each facility has to be considered in performance evaluations. However, popular evaluation and benchmarking methods do not take this adequately into account. Moreover, decision-makers are often overstrained with numerous performance measures, which make evaluations even more challenging. The purpose of this paper is to present a performance evaluation and benchmarking method, which provides the possibility to evaluate manufacturing facilities in networks of MNCs under consideration of their individual functional strategies without overstraining decision-makers with an excess of performance measures. Based on an aggregated single index of overall performance, each facility is evaluated. In this way, operational performance can be easily compared among all facilities in spite of their different functional strategy. © 2013 IEEE.

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