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The realisation of safe, economical and low-emission processes for cargo handling in ports requires a variety of technical systems. The Port Technology Group deals with the analysis, modelling, evaluation and optimisation of such port technical systems. We support our customers in identifying automation potential. We develop corresponding automation and robotics concepts and support the development and testing of prototypes for customer-related use cases.

Mobile Robotics in the Port Environment

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Mobile robots (MR) are robot systems that act independently in their environment and can realize complex tasks. Mobile robots are already being used in some industries. In the port environment, the use of mobile robots is particularly promising in zones with a high risk potential for people and in repetitive activities. Exemplary applications include picking and transporting spare parts and tools, inventory, mapping, and monitoring activities.

We help ports and terminal operators to identify potentials for the use of mobile robots in given structures and processes.

Furthermore, we offer our customers consulting in the design of customized mobile robotics applications and prepare the implementation phase.

Port Technology Laboratory

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In the new building of the Fraunhofer CML, a versatile laboratory is being created on an area of approx. 250 sqm. The components of the laboratory include mobile robots, various sensors, a motion capture system for precise object location and a control station system for data analysis. The robots, some equipped with gripper arms, replicate the material handling system in port terminals by autonomously navigating, handling and transporting cargo items. The aforementioned laboratory components form an expandable test and development system that serves to design robotics applications, study human-robot collaboration, and explore automation potential in the port environment.

The test and development system is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2023. With the commissioning of the laboratory, the Fraunhofer CML will receive a modern research infrastructure for customized project processing through the use of powerful technologies.