Smart container management

Foto zum Smarten Behältermanagement; blauer intelligenter Kleinladungsträger
© Fraunhofer IIS/Kurt Fuchs

Containers are a key element of production logistics processes: they are used to protect, transport, and store not only raw materials but also semi-finished and finished products. However, users face the challenge of balancing the necessary security of supply on the one hand with an optimum stock of containers on the other. Indeed, insufficient knowledge of the quantity, stock level, and status of containers can result in costly disruptions and reserve container stocks that are not actually needed. Smart container management – that is, the control, monitoring, and optimization of container cycles – helps to ensure seamless material flows within the supply chain. Fraunhofer IIS and the Fraunhofer Center for Applied Research on Supply Chain Services SCS are therefore developing a versatile and low-infrastructure solution for the identification, monitoring, and positioning of containers and their contents. This involves transposing reusable containers, such as small load carriers, into the digital realm using suitable IoT enabling technologies, giving rise to a system of intelligent and networked containers with new functions and benefits. Equipped with s-net® wireless sensor technology, the containers form a cyber-physical system that automatically records data on environmental parameters, fill level, position, wait times, or incoming/outgoing goods. This allows improved monitoring, more accurate planning and more precise control of error-prone data-acquisition and monitoring activities, evaluations of current stock level, and follow-up processes.

Industry 4.0 in practice

Here you will find further fields of application devoted in the project: