Project Description

Project Goals:

The goal of the Pin-Handling-mR research project is to develop an autonomous robotic system for handling foldable pins on container carrying wagons. The project includes the design and construction of the mobile robot and the subsequent demonstration of its functions in a seaport on a container train.


Manual pin insertion on container carrying wagons (pin handling) at seaport rail terminals, which is common today, is dangerous, costly, and causes delays in container train handling. Automating pin handling can improve workplace safety and jobs in perspective, reduce overall transportation costs in seaport-hinterland traffic, and optimize terminal processes. In this project, mobile robotics serves as a technological solution approach that is novel in the port environment, but holds promise for success.

Role of CML in Pin-Handling-mR:

Fraunhofer CML designs the mobile robot for pin handling according to the requirements to be determined, develops the corresponding software for its sub-functions and supports the connection of the mobile robot to a control center system. Furthermore, we are responsible for the construction of a demonstrator as well as comprehensive system tests and will closely accompany its testing in the field.

Project Consortium:

The consortium consists of HHLA AG (coordinator) and Fraunhofer CML.

Associated partners are the CT terminal operators Neska Schifffahrts- und Speditionskontor GmbH, KTL Kombi-Terminal Ludwigshafen GmbH and Hafenbetriebsgesellschaft Braunschweig mbH.

Pin-Handling-mR is funded over two and a half years by the IHATEC II - Innovative Port Technologies II funding program of the German Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport. The duration of the project is October 2022 to March 2025.