Technology

Logistics as the key to competitiveness

16/11/2016

Giambattista Gruosso, Politecnico di Milano (Italy)

Vehicles that generate more energy than they consume, warehouses connected in a network like a cardiovascular system, goods that transport themselves.

While it is tempting to dismiss these ideas as science fiction, logistics is in fact the sector that is seeing the most rapid introduction of new technologies and methods.

In the constantly-evolving world of the modern factory, logistics is one of the key factors linking smart production with smart processes. Its goal is to improve efficiency in terms of product distribution to end customers and logistics management inside factories.

In the first case - the distribution of goods to customers - it is easy to analyse trends, which underpin all movements of goods and persons and benefit from best practices in sectors outside industry. Given that a wide range of processes have be smoothly interconnected, development occurs slowly within a highly varied and complex framework characterised by multiple drivers of innovation.

The most significant of these is the need to implement sustainable logistics, taking account not only of the environmental impact of goods distribution (using low-emission vehicles) but also of the social impact and interaction with “smart cities” (the new distribution model must coordinate with the daily lives of citizens). The development of these new models requires the implementation of a cloud system where data are collected and analysed in order to effectively predict the supply and delivery needs for manufactured products.

As for internal factory logistics, two trends can be observed, both of which are closely linked to automation. The first involves the implementation of automated warehouses with a highly integrated level of robotics, the second autonomous vehicles.

  • Read the complete article published on Ceramic World Review 117/2016
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