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Warehousing systems technology

Digitization now in train

In a recent study, researchers from the Technical University of Munich's Institute of Materials Handling, Material Flow and Logistics examined potential uses of tugger train systems and identified which sub-processes need to be digitized more intensively to ensure demand-based and high-frequency supplies.

23 Aug. 2017
TU München Routenzüge

"The growing drive toward digitization and advances in automation technology are increasingly influencing the development of tugger train systems," note the authors in the foreword to the recent study titled "Use of tugger train systems for production supplies - study on planning, control and operation" and now published by the Institute of Materials Handling, Material Flow and Logistics (fml) at the Technical University of Munich. In it, researchers from the institute worked with 241 participants to examine how high the level of automation already is and what developments in tugger train-specific technologies the participants identify as offering potential for further cuts in process times and greater error resistance, for example.

The core messages from the study include the findings that the “trend toward cross-sector use of tugger trains is continuing” and the “application scenarios for tugger train systems are becoming more diverse.” The researchers also note that the level of automation in tugger train systems is low at present and that, although dynamic control concepts offer flexibility, they also require increased IT outlay. The researchers forecast that “tugger trains will also be used for production supplies in the future.” They formulate the vision that tugger train systems will be better integrated into the value chain in the future and will thus be focused even more strongly on production so as to “ensure demand-based and high-frequency supplies.” The researchers have these reassuring words for anyone who fears this development will marginalize humans: “Humans will continue to be involved in tugger train processes in the future, as certain process steps and circumstances do not support cost-effective and flexible automation.”

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