Fraunhofer Institutes

Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML

Our research, development and realisation helps companies to be fit for the internal and external logistic challenges

Continuous material and information flows are an important internal and external factor for the utilization of rationalisation potentials and improved flexibility and productivity on the way towards a better customer-orientation.

The Fraunhofer IML provides innovative research, development, engineering and consulting services and tailor-made solutions for companies of all industries. Numerous products – from a palletizing robot via warehousing systems up to simulation software – were developed in Dortmund and are used worldwide. The Fraunhofer IML cooperates with international scientific institutions as well as with companies of all industries throughout the world.

The institute is structured into three main sections:

Material Flow Systems

The fulfilment of requirements such as improved delivery services and reduced stocks call for high-capacity conveyor, storage, transport and transshipment systems. Quality management and visualisation methods offer the necessary transparency and control systems set the basis for automation. The institute’s services range from the planning of material flow systems, feasibility studies, up to the building of prototypes.

New developments are tested in the „Demonstration Centre Material Flow and Logistics“ until they can be used as a pilot system. Individual solutions and products are developed in the institute’s own workshops and laboratories. Together with companies even special purpose machines are built. The range of services is completed by concepts for economically and ecologically optimized packagings, Point-of-Sale and E-commerce. In modern laboratories, packaging and products are tested with regard to their quality and resistance.

Enterprise Logistics

One task of this section is the design of business processes in and between companies. Proven methods, such as process chain management and simulation tools are used to structure and localise inefficient processes and to determine cost and performance potentials. For this purpose, the institute uses its own developments and proved marketable software. New work fields and applications – for example Supply Chain Management – are opened up for companies and used to develop rational, practical solutions. One department acts as project manager and assists companies with the design and implementation of large logistic systems. The range of services of this section is completed by maintenance and production logistics.

Logistics, Traffic and Environment

The Fraunhofer IML develops concepts for a closed loop materials economy, process-integrated avoidance and recycling, dismantling and redistribution, the complete information management of material flows and life cycle assessments to help companies with their environmental management.

The traffic specialists use traffic logistic concepts for network planning, distribution and disposition, which are supported by telematic systems. The branch at the Frankfurt Airport develops special airport and air cargo concepts. The Project Centre Traffic, Mobility and Environment in Prien at the Chiemsee is engaged in the area of tourism logistics and cross-border goods traffic.

Activities in Brazil

For many years the Fraunhofer IML has been conducting research and consulting projects in many logistic areas throughout Brazil. Since 2005 the IML has a representative in Brazil who locally coordinates and supports the different projects throughout Brazil.

Research Projects

For many years the Fraunhofer IML has initiated and participated in Brazilian German- research projects in the field of logistics. From 2004 to 2008 the Fraunhofer IML worked together with the university PUC-Rio in the EU-project ILIPT on future logistical challenges for the automotive industry. Since 2009, the IML works with different universities in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul in the Brazilian German research initiative BRAGECRIM, funded on the German side by the DFG and on the Brazilian side by CAPES and FINEP. Currently the Fraunhofer IML is working on the setup of joint research projects to tackle the logistical challenges of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

Consulting Projects

For many years the Fraunhofer IML has supported the Brazilian Organisation for Industrial Learning SENAI in the creation and application of logistical know-how. Among the activities of the SENAI are the establishment of logistic competence and application centres in Bahia and Santa Catarina and many small and medium consulting projects in Bahia, Santa Catarina, Tocantins, Paraná, Pernambuco and other states. The Fraunhofer IML also organized and hosted a 2-weeks logistical journey throughout Germany visiting logistic institutes, companies with excellence in logistics, logistic trade fairs and ports together with representatives of the SENAI and the Brazilian industry association CNI. Fraunhofer IML also worked as a logistic expert and consultant for many Brazilian companies as well as for many German subsidiaries in Brazil, for instance in the fields of warehouse and production planning, lean manufacturing and simulation. A reference list is available on demand.

Training and Education

The Fraunhofer IML applies logistical trainings for organizations and companies in Brazil. In several cases the IML worked with a “train-the-trainer” concept, to train future logistic trainers and teachers. The Fraunhofer IML posses complete training materials on all aspects of internal and external logistics. Fraunhofer representatives teach at Brazilian universities and already participated in several Brazilian events and congresses in the area of logistics.