Despite decades of research in material handling, the academic community still has no accepted way of describing material handling requirements in a way that machines and algorithms can process them. Such a “way of describing” requires a language with which to describe requirements, objects, relationships between objects, and so on. We propose a modeling framework that differs from existing research in two ways: First, we address material handling modeling from the bottom up rather than from the top down, meaning we define a set of elementary functions and then combine them into processes and more complex relationships that allow us to describe any material handling activity or requirement. Second, the framework assumes material handling devices and objects can make decisions and therefore that control can be decentralized, as might be required in an Industry 4.0 environment. The ultimate goal is to be able to create truly flexible material handling systems, where expansion or redesign of the system is feasible and easy. This requires a system architecture, where the design of the systems components, the software architecture, and the language are congruent.
Progress in Material Handling Research
Furmans, Kai and Gue, Kevin R., "A Framework for Modeling Material Handling with Decentralized Control" (2018). 15th IMHRC Proceedings (Savannah, Georgia. USA – 2018). 23.