Fraunhofer IPK

Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology

Reliably getting work pieces to their destinations

The smooth running of job shop production does not only depend on intelligent tools controlling the individual production steps. How the routes between the steps are organized is just as important. 

It is relatively easy to reorganize transports between machining stations within a production area, which so far are ensured by the links. These transports can be carried out manually by the machine operators on the shop floor. Separate transport-management systems are not necessary here, because the transport requirements may be drawn from the scheduled production flow: Once the staff have been informed that after machining on machine A an order needs to get to machine B for further processing, they will be able to arrange the required transport between the two machining steps by themselves.

iWePro additionally factors in the longer transport routes between production areas – in other words from soft machining to hardening, from there to hard machining and finally to the end-of-line buffer. Transportation along these routes is currently often organized with fixed route plans. At Station 4 of the exhibit, SAFELOG GmbH is presenting an intelligent transport-management system that could be used for the adaptive organization of transport. The system does not only emphatically organize the transportation required between the production areas to ensure that nothing can be forgotten, it also provides for optimum logistics planning that utilizes the available resources – staff and vehicles – in the best way possible. The final decision about the implementation details, however, is left to the staff with responsibility for production logistics. 

The system informs logistics staff on mobile devices about the type, scope and deadlines for upcoming transport jobs while also handling basic organizational tasks for each transport job. The most suitable means of transport is initially chosen from those available depending on the route, distance and scope of the transport job. These may include manual carts and trolleys, but also automated guided transport systems or trailer units that can be coupled and towed by powered vehicles. For jobs where a non-automated means of transport – i.e. transport by a member of the logistics staff – is selected, the system provides the appropriate member of staff with instructions similar to those familiar from navigation systems.