Automation in Warehouse Development

automation in warehouse developmentThe publication of the book 'Automation in Warehouse Development' end December 2011 marked the completion of the Falcon project.

Editors of the book are ESI research fellows Roelof Hamberg and Jacques Verriet.

ESI and Vanderlande Industries successfully finalized the applied research project Falcon in September 2011. The book ‘Automation in Warehouse Development’, published end December 2011, summarizes the main outcomes of the project, describing state-of-the-art results on warehouse automation and model-based warehouse design.

Warehouses in the future will come in a variety of forms, but with a few common ingredients. Firstly, human operational handling of items in warehouses is increasingly being replaced by automated item handling. Extended warehouse automation counteracts the scarcity of human operators and supports the quality of picking processes. Secondly, the developments of models to stimulate and analyze warehouse design and their components facilitates the challenging task of developing warehouses that take into account each customer's individual requirements and logistic processes.

The book is targeted at both academic researchers and industrial practitioners. The topics have been addressed from a systems engineering perspective by researchers from different disciplines including software, control, and mechanical engineering, with a clear focus on the industrial applications of their research.

Gert Bossink, Director R&D of Vanderlande Industries, says in his foreword to the book: "In 2006, we took up the challenge to tackle ‘one of the last frontiers’ in industrial automation: unstructured item picking by human order pickers in distribution centers. And what a challenge it was! Now, 5 years down the line, the book summarizes the achievements. One of our main lessons is that there is no such thing as a ‘one solution suits all’. We will have to remain flexible in applying the lessons learned in new situations. If they do not fit, use other ones or develop new solutions if others do not exist. That was what this project was really about: Flexible Automated Logistics CONcepts (FALCON)."

The book is published by Springer Verlag and can be ordered here.

The Falcon project started in 2006 and included, next to ESI as project leader and Vanderlande Industries as carrying industrial partner, researchers from Demcon Advanced Mechatronics, Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology, University of Twente and Utrecht University. In the project nine students did their PhD research and received their doctor’s degree.

Falcon projectteam

Wouter Leibbrandt

Director Science and Operations
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“Continuous innovation in methodologies, system architecture thinking and cross-disciplinary ways of working to master the ever increasing complexity are crucial to maintain and extend Europe’s and Dutch competitiveness in this strategic domain.”