Development of Robotics Systems for Seaports by Means of Modular Approaches

M. Burwinkel, W. Echelmeyer, and B. Scholz-Reiter (Germany)


Robot Design & Architecture, Logistics, Seaports, Standardization of robotics


The dynamic and continuous expansion of global logistic markets leads to increasing competitive pressure. The automation of material and information flow counteracts this trend. In this context, the article presents research approaches for the robot based automation of unloading processes of sea containers in the logistic market seaport which are charged with bulk goods. In cooperation with industrial partners the BIBA has developed a robotic system for unloading applications in the market CEP (courier, express, parcel) and contract logistics. The operation in seaports requires a significant higher process velocity of the robotic system. This article describes the further development of the system for operational use in seaports by applying an approach of modular product structuring. The concept of modularity allows the reduction of complexity while taking in consideration the process environment by combining fitting modules and components. Simulation studies have evaluated the concept and led to the engineering phase. The paper contributes to the transfer of the design of existing robotic systems to new products for new markets by focusing on a strengthened standardization and high process velocity by using methods of the complexity management. As a part of the research project ROBOCON (Rapid consolidation and deconsolidation of sea containers by using robotics and dynamic load planning) a prototype will be manufactured and integrated in North German seaports.

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