Cooperations

Network for knowledge and innovation

In a globalized, networked world, it is important to be open to the ideas of others and to promote the active sharing of knowledge. That is why we are involved in a variety of collaborations with universities, research institutes, and industrial partners. We bring our strength and our expertise to this innovation ecosystem, and in return we benefit from the perspectives and the know-how of our partners. This ensures a continuous inflow of knowledge in areas that go beyond the boundaries of our own company. By working together, we can examine challenges and possible solutions in a wider context – and set new standards within the sector. Below are some examples of the technological fields in which we work, and the partners we work with.

KION is working with the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML) to industrialize a new transport system called LoadRunner. LoadRunner is an AI-controlled swarm of autonomous vehicles designed to revolutionize sortation and distribution processes in warehouse logistics.

KION and Fraunhofer IML will develop the prototype together with the aim of bringing it to market maturity. KION Mobile Automation and Dematic represent KION in this partnership.

Please read our Story about the LoadRunner
and the
Press Release of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML) [German only]

Together with a consortium of industrial partners, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) is developing the first prototype of an KI.FABRIK (= factory for artificial Intelligance) in Bavaria. With the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI), multifunctional, sensitive robots are to work together with human employees, either directly or over long distances. KION's consortium partner is Linde Matrial Handling.

The KI.FABRIK is being built at the Deutsches Museum in Munich (Germany), works in a network with other locations and serves as a showcase for "AI you can touch".

Press release of the Technical University of Munich

We and our cooperating partners LeddarTech, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the STARS Lab at the University of Toronto have started research project “ARIBIC”.

The acronym stands for “Artificial Intelligence-Based Indoor Cartography”: continuous data evaluation shall make it possible to create a real-time digital twin of a warehouse or a production environment. This is a further step in order to enhance already existing digital twin solutions as well as simulation and emulation platforms of KION Group.

Please read our Story about ARIBIC

At the Center Connected Industry, experts from industry and research work together to find out whether the use cases are technically feasible and also economically viable with the help of agile procedures (for example, "rapid prototyping"). In a real production and logistics environment, the prototypes can then be tested without risk in the CCI test bed on the RWTH Aachen campus and at external industry partner sites.

Our current project with the Center Connected Industry
AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles), must meet very high requirements for the safety of people. When used in production, intersections are dangerous points for traffic because of the poorly visible junctions. Here, the suitability of 5G as a transmission medium for safety-relevant data is tested.

Application example
People approaching an intersection are detected and the speed of an, also approaching, AGV is reduced. If the crossing area is free, the crossing can be crossed without prior braking. This avoidance of unnecessary braking enables a more efficient use of the AGVs.

Further information [only in German)

Our processes and products are sophisticated, multilayered, and highly distinct. In order to maintain control of this complexity, it is important to enter into dialogue with other experts. We do this as part of the Complexity Community of Complexity Management GmbH, a Europe-wide network in the field of complexity management for manufacturing companies.

The network provides its members in industry with key basic principles and forward-looking approaches to their internal complexity management. At the heart of the community is the ongoing sharing of knowledge, experience, and best practice. The KION Group has been an active member since 2017 and is involved in the ‘Engineering’ and ‘Product and Portfolio Management’ focus groups.

In 2018, the KION Group took part in a benchmarking project led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology (IPT) and RWTH Aachen University. The project examined the evolution of radical innovations in the early development phases – from the initial idea to the delivery of a small-scale production run for real customers.

The results revealed that the KION Group, Daimler Trucks, Claas KGaA mbH, Deutz AG, and Voith Paper are the top five companies when it comes to best practice in the area of 'agile invention'.

In the not-so-distant future, self-driving vehicles are going to be expected to find their way around the warehouse autonomously. In a research project with the University of Freiburg, we are already preparing for this moment by working on sharpening the optic nerves in a vehicle’s camera with artificial intelligence models which require as few parameters as possible to accomplish the recognition of objects. Deep learning – or hierarchical learning – is part of a broader family of machine learning methods based on artificial neural networks which can mathematically solve tasks that humans "intuitively" solve.

"Deep PTL" is the name of the join research effort, a combination of deep learning and the acronym for production, transport and logistics. The cooperation got underway in September 2018 and is anticipated to last through early 2022.

Is it a human or a shelf? Helping AGV's to 'see' better

Read our article about this research project

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