Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) and the Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics and Services CML are researching the automation of pin handling in rail processing through mobile robotics.
The research is part of the IHATEC “Pin handling mR” project supported by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMDV).
The objective of the “Pin handling mR” research project is to develop and demonstrate the handling of folding pins on container wagons using an autonomous mobile robotics system – in a bid to increase efficiency and cost optimisation in hinterland transport, as well as reinforce the competitiveness of rail container throughput in the Port of Hamburg.
“The development of automated pin handling will help us optimise terminal processes and transport costs in seaport-hinterland traffic,” said Jens Hansen, Chief Operating Officer of HHLA.
“Furthermore, we can use the innovative mobile robotics solution to improve the working environment and especially the occupational safety of our employees.
“This project is particularly exciting because it allows us to pool diverse know-how from different areas across the Group and connect several competent partners.”
HHLA, alongside the Fraunhofer CML, said it will develop an autonomous prototype of the mobile robot and test it under real conditions, developing software specific robotics connected to the port logistics system.
“The development of the port railway in recent years illustrates the hinterland’s importance for the Port of Hamburg,” explained Prof. Dr.-Ing. Carlos Jahn, Head of the Fraunhofer CML.
“There are a lot of automated solutions in the port environment at present. The areas of application and opportunities to boost efficiency in this regard are very diverse.
“At the core of our expertise in mobile robotics is the design and development of application-oriented technologies.”
Subsidy approval for this IHATEC project was presented to representatives of HHLA and the Fraunhofer CML on 28 September 2022 during IHATEC’s DigiTest networking conference in Berlin.
HHLA will act as coordinator for the project and will support it with its subsidiaries, which will provide technical expertise, contribute with specially developed IoT Integrated Control Center, and support the project with the wagons and operational data integration.
Together with additional partners, the Fraunhofer CML will be responsible for the development and procurement of robotics hardware and software.
Amber Train is a joint railway project aiming to create a new railway corridor between Northern and Western Europe through the Baltic States, targeting integrated logistics for Finnish cargo.