Intralogistics Research

Competence development through research: Research is the foundation of our expertise, which is carried out in a targeted manner and transferred into planning and consulting practice.

Teams of scientists in the Intralogistics and IT Planning department develop new processes, methods, and tools, as well as studies, future scenarios, and roadmaps, within the framework of various research projects. Operational pilot projects ensure their practical suitability.

Our clients include public funding agencies such as the European Union or federal ministries (education and research, economy and technology), as well as companies from industry, service, and trade.

Our work is concentrated in the areas of planning, operation, and employee management/control:

Research and thematic priorities

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality technology offers a wide range of applications in intralogistics. Additionally, the visualization of planned logistics systems, it can be profitably used in the digital planning of workplaces and workflows…

Smart Warehouse Design

The use of autonomous vehicles must be planned differently than conventional materials handling technology. The (re-)planning becomes more short cycle. How does the intralogistic…

Workplace design

The physical-ergonomic design of intralogistics workplaces is in focus. The physical workloads of the employees, working environment conditions such as lighting or climatic conditions as well as...

Cognitive ergonomics

People are moving to the centre of intralogistics. The focus on cognitive ergonomics examines cognitive-informational stress in dealing with new technologies in order picking. Cognitive-ergonomic recommendations for action and design are given in order to maintain the working capacity and thus the performance of the employees.

Standardized lean maturity model

Measurability plays a major role in lean management. It is mainly about key performance indicators, the lean status as well as improvements. In this context, research...

Optimisation and artificial intelligence in intralogistics

Artificial intelligence (AI) is now not only omnipresent in our everyday lives through user-specific series suggestions on streaming platforms, online translators or (self-driving) cars, but also plays a crucial role in economic transformation.

Current research projects


Logistics and IT Performance Centre

The Logistics and IT Performance Centre is an Initiative of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft funded by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Industries support the centre of excellence by participating in individual research projects. The aim is to develop the science location of Dortmund into a globally leading research and development centre for logistics and IT - together with partners from research, education and industry.


Picking Lab

Get to know the Picking Lab at Fraunhofer IML - an innovative miniature picking warehouse. Learn more about advanced logistics IT systems and compare various picking technologies in a realistic environment. The Picking Lab assists companies in making informed decisions for efficient warehouse management. Learn more about the Picking Lab at Fraunhofer IML!


Innovation Lab - Hybrid Services in Logistics

In the course of the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0, revolutionary forms of services are currently emerging as well as networked interaction between humans and technology in the Hybrid Economy. At the Dortmund location, the innovation laboratory for hybrid services in logistics is working with companies to develop and test innovative technologies.



The “ADINA” project deals with the requirements analysis for automation technology and “technical integration” as well as piloting and adaptation in the relevant warehouse and handling areas of logistics.



The Datenfabrik.NRW research project aims to successfully implement a digital transformation of industrial companies into data-driven factories of the future with self-optimising value creation processes.

Realized research projects


Visual Logistics Management - ViLoMa

With the growing importance of logistics in society and the increasing complexity of supply chains, optimal user integration is required to better exploit untapped potential. The ViLoMa project created visualizations for this purpose, which optimally support the logistics planner and transparently prepare information.


Alliance for the Digital Flow of Goods - ADiWa

The increasing globalization of business and the associated geographical decoupling of individual links in a supply chain are driving up the volume of transportation. Above all, the atomization of goods shipments, combined with an increase in the number of deliveries and increasingly volatile customer demand, puts pressure on companies to be secure, fast, and flexible.


Logistics Mall

The “Logistics Mall” is a virtual shopping center that brings together software vendors, users, and logistics service providers. When implementing new software, it optimizes the cost-benefit ratio. Instead of optimizing the warehouse through costly restructuring of the logistics processes, as was previously the case, the software is put together individually and independently of the provider and obtained “from the socket”.


“Distribution Center Design Process - A systems engineering oriented process model for concept planning of logistics centers” (2018)

Michael Schmidt

The planning of logistics centres is a complex, low-structured decision-making problem whose goal orientation and processing is carried out by interdisciplinary collectives. A mathematically optimal solution to the planning problem does not exist - the goal of planning can only be to find the best possible solution. A crucial task of systematic planning is to overcome the structural deficits. This is done by decomposing the problem into sub-problems as well as modelling and abstracting the (sub-)problems. From the fact of the structural deficits it also follows that the legitimacy of the planning result results from the intersubjectivity of the heuristics used.


Against this background, the thesis deals with the determination of a procedure for the concept planning of logistics centres. For the elaboration, a consensus-oriented science theory in combination with a critical hermeneutic research method is chosen. For this purpose, relevant basics of systems theory in general and systems engineering in particular are first identified. Together with basics of model theory and model-based systems engineering as a discipline that emphasises modelling as a central task along the system design process, requirements for the structure, content and documentation of a process model are defined.


Subsequently, the Distribution Centre Design Process (DCDP) is developed. Along an eight-step process, starting with the task and objective, solution concepts of logistics centres are developed and evaluated. The process is divided into two parts, each with four phases: a functional design part, in which the task is transformed into a functional concept in the sense of a top-down problem analysis, and a physical design part, which transforms this concept into one or more evaluated solution proposals through a bottom-up solution synthesis.


In particular, the formalisation of the functional area of logistics centre planning, which has not been considered scientifically so far, is focused on. This results, among other things, in the definition of 18 services and 15 basic transformation properties of handling units. These can be used to create and semantically test so-called service flow networks, which describe the functional sequence and transformations of the service objects in logistics centres. The conceptual models used in the sub-steps of the phases are described and documented using SysML. Central relationships are then formalised by means of discrete modelling.

Finally, the results are subjected to a critical review based on the principles of proper modelling and applied to a practical example. The regularity of the models is confirmed and their suitability for practice is demonstrated.


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“Method for agent-, resource- and event-based control of logistic handling centers” (2017)

Dr. Stephan Hülsmann

In an era of personalized services and products, logistics is tasked with identifying things informationally beyond the physical movement of goods and connecting them in global supply chains. “Tracking&Tracing” is a basic requirement in the context of logistic system planning and control to ensure the availability of the right information in real time for all goods. Intelligent data processing in the form of distributed algorithms poses a particular challenge for the dynamic (self-)control of goods flows.

Material flow system planning is traditionally based on a pre-planned, maximum flow (marginal performance consideration) at specific points of a system. However, the continuous flow of goods is influenced by incoming events, which can result in an alarming deviation from the plan, and the performance's ex ante planned controllability is reduced to absurdity. This has an impact on the entire supply chain depending on where events occur. This includes logistics centers, which must respond to events in a particularly flexible and active manner. The high volume of traffic at large transshipment hubs causes increased material flow disruptions: trucks are delayed, internal resources and system loads fluctuate, and connecting transports and capacities change on short notice. A method for planning and controlling the material flow as an ad hoc reaction to events is required to manage the complexity of the material flow.

Employees of a logistics center typically learn about disruptions after they have occurred, making it nearly impossible to mitigate them. The logistics center in the supply chain is particularly vulnerable to both the dynamics and the lack of transparency of the flow of information and materials. Employees must adapt to constantly changing situations caused by unforeseeable events and make far-reaching and complex decisions in a short period of time.

The event- and resource-oriented approach for dynamic scheduling of logistics objects is the focus of the multi-agent system (EventPlan) developed in the context of this thesis in a logistics node. The system assists the logistics decision maker in making an adequate decision in a limited amount of time. Orders are reprioritized and rescheduled as a result, or resources are reallocated. The decision is not made by the person in charge, but he is supported by the results of the analysis. The responsible employee always makes the final decision on possible actions, such as the use of additional resources.

Practicality necessitates the development of a scalable, transferable method for dynamic, near-real-time scheduling of orders and resources, capable of processing events in near-real time and autonomously triggering follow-up actions. For these reasons, a decentralized communication and control algorithm based on a multi-agent system is being developed and validated using highly dynamic air freight logistics.


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“Contribution to simulation-based concept planning of heterogeneously structured picking systems” (2011)

Dr. Eric Venn

For years, the logistical focal point of order picking has been subject to an increasing complexity trend. The variety of technology variants and organizational forms is constantly expanding. Dynamic system characteristics and performance-inhibiting interactions are increasingly becoming decisive planning aspects in the case of heterogeneously structured overall systems composed of different technology systems.

Questions about dynamic behavior cannot be answered accurately using the statically dominated planning and calculation methods used today in the concept planning phase. This lack of planning quality raises the possibility of incorrect dimensioning of dynamic-dependent components, which leads to errors in selecting a preferred variant.

This problem can be solved using simulation technology. This is currently only used in the detailed planning phase for functional verification of a chosen preferred variant. As an example, in the current work, a concept for the efficient use of simulation was developed and implemented while still in the concept planning phase. The goal was to improve the quality of the planning results without the extra effort that simulation requires.

Standardized planning and simulation models, modeling methods, and data structures for heterogeneously structured picking systems were created for this purpose. A modeling paradigm was included, as well as standard building blocks and objects of heterogeneously structured picking systems. Another component was the creation of simulation models, structures, and elements that were generated automatically.

The methods were integrated into a planning environment that assists the planner throughout the simulation-based concept planning process.

The validation performed based on an application example revealed that early simulation integration results in a significant increase in the quality of planning and results.

This is especially true for dynamic-dependent dimensioning aspects such as buffer capacities, resource dimensioning, and downstream technology dimensioning. Furthermore, a planner in the concept planning phase gains a high degree of transparency and understanding of the dynamic behavior of the considered model variants. The general feasibility of incorporating early simulation into the planning process has been demonstrated in this work, and challenges and limitations have been identified.

The use of simulation technology in the concept planning phase of heterogeneously structured order picking systems will become more established in the future through additional research and development activities.


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“Contribution to the determination of operating characteristics of logistics centers in the fashion industry” (2010)

Dr. Karsten Hoyndorff

Logistics centers, as an essential component of a supply chain, are constantly changing. Flexibility, adaptability, and proactivity are becoming increasingly important in order to run logistics centers efficiently in the long run. As a result, it is critical to be able to assess the sensitivity of their performance.

Operating characteristic curves are developed in this work to map the performance of logistics centers. This is described by key figures that take the dynamic environment into account and are dependent on an influencing variable. The operating characteristic curves are produced by varying the influencing variable.

The key figures used to map the operating characteristics are derived mathematically and are based on statistical formulas that are transferred to the logistics center in central aspects. The key figures are the service level, the delivery time, the inventory of resources, and the logistics costs. A model is created to represent the complex operational processes of a logistics center and to determine key figures. Finally, a procedure for implementing the model is presented. The operating characteristic curves are determined for various typical logistics centers to demonstrate the potential applications.

Furthermore, various factors that can affect the performance of logistics centers are discussed. This thesis' research is focused on the fashion industry. This is especially appropriate because it exhibits high fluctuations and pronounced seasonality, which is representative of other industries in terms of logistics.


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Student work




Titel Art Autor
»Entwicklung einer Entscheidungssystematik für die Bewertung von Handlungsalternativen zur Lagertechniknutzung bei der Standortverlagerung und -erweiterung von Autostore-Lagern«  Masterarbeit Léo Witzel
»Analyse von Optimierungs- und Entwicklungspotentialen in Online-Fashion-B2C Retourenprozessen mittels eines Vorgehensmodells« Masterarbeit Marvin Ronge


Titel Art Autor
»Ableitung von Optimierungs- und Entwicklungsansätzen in der Retourenbearbeitung im Fashion E-Commerce«  Bachelorarbeit  Lea Isfort
»Entwicklung eines ganzheitlichen, anwendungsnahen Ansatzes zur Neuplanung und kurzzyklischen Umplanung von Logistikzentren« Masterarbeit Tobias von Preetzmann
»Entwicklung eines Konzeptes für eine planungsphasenorientierte Ressourcenbedarfskalkulation für intralogistische Systeme mit einer beispielhaften Anwendung in einem Demonstrator« Masterarbeit Eugen Ischanka
»Erarbeitung eines Virtual Reality gestützten Ansatzes zur Planung von Materialflusssystemen« Bachelorarbeit Phillip Schwier
»Serious Games in der virtuellen Umgebung: Eine empirische Erhebung zur kognitiven Ergonomie bei Weiterbildungsmaßnahmen in der Intralogistik mit speziellem Fokus auf die Integration«  Bachelorarbeit Lena Zerle
»Untersuchung der Potentiale und Realisierbarkeit eines dynamischen Pausenmanagements in der Intralogistik auf Basis von Vitaldatenmessung durch Wearables im Arbeitsumfeld« Bachelorarbeit Susanne Klöcker


Titel Art Autor
»Bewertung von Einflussfaktoren auf manuelle Kommissioniersysteme zur Ableitung einer Handlungsempfehlung für die Auswahl einer wirtschaftlichen Kommissionierstrategie«  Masterarbeit  Daniel Ferranti
»Entwicklung eines standardisierten Lean-Reifegradmodells zum standort- und unternehmensübergreifenden Benchmarking in Zusammenarbeit mit Industrieunternehmen« Masterarbeit Nicole Straube
»Integration von Sprachsteuerung in ein virtuelles Training für Verpackungsprozesse auf Virtual Reality Basis unter dem Einfluss der Social Networked Industry« Bachelorarbeit Markus Leßmann
»Lean Projektmanagement zur Auswahl und Einführung eines Warehouse Management Systems unter Einfluss von agilen Methoden« Bachelorarbeit Oliver Krüger



Titel Art Autor
»Analyse der Beiträge von intralogistischen IT-Systemen zu einer grünen Intralogistik« Projektarbeit Hannah Knoblauch
»Anwendung des DCDP auf eine Fallstudie zur Konzeptplanung eines E-Commerce Distribution Centers« Projektarbeit Anike Murrenhoff
»Analyse von Aufwand und Nutzen der Einführung eines Warehouse Management Systems« Bachelorarbeit Nico Freund
»Entwicklung einer Vorgehensweise zur Bestimmung eines Grüne-Intralogistik-Reifegrades« Masterarbeit Frederic Hafgenscheit
»Entwicklung einer Vorgehensweise zur Standarddatenanalyse für die Lagerplanung« Projektarbeit Vadym Ismailov
»Entwicklung eines Planungstools für die Auswahl von Kommissioniersystemen unter Berücksichtigung unterschiedlicher Gestaltungsparameter« Masterarbeit Viktoria Gorte
»Erarbeitung eines Planungswerkzeugs zur anforderungsgerechten Dimensionierung von Blocklagern« Masterarbeit Mario Möller
»Erstellung eines Konzeptes zur automatischen Vorhersage von Engpässen in der Lagerlogistik zur Unterstützung des kontinuierlichen Verbesserungsprozesses« Bachelorarbeit Kevin Woszczyna
»Erstellung von Lagerbelastungs-Heatmaps mittels Indoor-Ortung zur Analyse manueller Läger« Masterarbeit Lara Teichert
»Klassifizierung von interagierenden Robotern mit dem Menschen und deren Einsatzbereiche für die Intralogistik« Masterarbeit Hai Yin
»Kommissioniersysteme für die Materialbereitstellung in der Montage« Bachelorarbeit Lukas Knaup
»Konzeption und Validierung eines LEGO® Serious Play® Workshops vor dem Hintergrund der Lagerprozessplanung und Einordnung in den Bereich Design Thinking« Projektarbeit Linda Bermes / Maurice Grammel / Lukas Lehmann / Kerstin Willing
»Toolbasierte Planung von automatischen Kleinteile- und Hochregallagern unter Betrachtung einer indexbasierten Zuordnung von Artikeln zu Lagerbereichen« Masterarbeit Anike Murrenhoff
»Untersuchung und Bewertung von erwarteten Auswirkungen der Industrie 4.0 auf das Warehouse Management« Bachelorarbeit Steffen Nolte


Titel Art Autor
»Entwicklung eines Kennzahlensystems zur Erfolgsmessung von Lean Management am Beispiel des Shopfloor Managements in einem Ersatzteilelager der Automobilindustrie« Masterarbeit Sophia Geburek
»Entwicklung eines Vorgehens zur regelmäßigen Optimierung der Artikellagerorte in Distributionszentren mit unterschiedlichen Lagerbereichen« Masterarbeit Caroline Uhlenbruch
»Erarbeitung von Lern- und Spieleinhalten für das Forschungsprojekt PickNick« Projektarbeit
Robin Seitz / André Terharen
»Ermittlung von Anwendungsfällen der Materialflussanalyse und hierauf aufbauende Ableitung von Anforderungen an ein System zur Ortung von Mitarbeitern mittels Mobile Devices« Bachelorarbeit Robin Seitz
»Konzeptentwicklung eines computerbasierten Tools zur Unterstützung der Planung automatischer Kleinteilelager« Masterarbeit Sascha Pisasale
»Sensitivitätsanalyse für manuelle Kommissioniersysteme im Kleinteilelager« Bachelorarbeit Jan Dominik Jocksch
»Quantitative Leistungsermittlung von dezentral gesteuerten fahrerlosen Transportfahrzeugen für die Ware-zur-Person Kommissionierung« Masterarbeit Markus Kurtin


Titel Art Autor
»Analyse und Vergleich aktueller Forschungsarbeiten zur Planung von Palettenlagersysteme« Bachelorarbeit Jan Sawatzki
»Analyse von Problemen bei der Einführung von Warehouse Management Systemen (WMS) auf Basis einer qualitativen Umfrage unter WMS-Anbietern und Kunden« Masterarbeit Gerrit Lammers
»Analyse zur IT-Architektur in der Intralogistik und Bestimmung von Kriterien für die Gestaltung von Systemen der Materialflusssteuerung« Diplomarbeit Christoph Pott
»Bestimmung einer Funktionshierarchie geschlossener Logistikzentren und Zuordnung geeigneter Materiaflusstechniken Bachelorarbeit Uyen Trang Nguyen
»Entwicklung eines Berechnungstools zur Dimensionierung von ein- bzw. mehrgeschossigen Fachbodenregalsystemen mit eindimensionaler Fortbewegung« Masterarbeit Alexander Skokow
»Entwicklung einer Heuristik zur kriterienbasierten Planung von Palettenlagersystemen« Masterarbeit Steffen Schieweck
»Entwicklung eines Konzeptes zur Bestimmung des Lean-Niveaus in der Intralogistik für ein standortübergreifendes Benchmarking« Masterarbeit Sebastian Schmidt
»Erstellung eines Konzeptes zur Übertragung des Lean Management Werkzeuge-Heijunka aus dem Toyota Produktionssystem auf den Bereich der Kommissionierung« Bachelorarbeit André Terharen
»Funktions- und leistungsbereichsbasierte Klassifikation von Logistikzentren« Bachelorarbeit Heike Isabell Conrad
»Gestaltungsprinzipien von Hochleistungsarbeitsplätzen und Informationssystemtechniken in der Kommissionierung« Projektarbeit Tobias Lüling
»Konzeptentwicklung für ein automatisiertes, datenverarbeitendes Planungstool, zur Planung von Multishuttle-Lagersystemen« Masterarbeit Benjamin Kortheuer
»Konzeption eines modularen Simulationswerkzeugs für die Konzeptplanung von automatischen Kleinteilelagern mit angebundener Kommissionierung« Diplomarbeit Bastian Wolfgarten
»Planungshandbuch: Ergonomische Richtlinien und Vorgaben bei der Arbeitsplatzgestaltung im Rahmen einer Lagerplanung« Projektarbeit Sascha Pisasale
»Planungshandbuch: IT-Peripheriegeräte« Projektarbeit Felix Feldmann
»Requirements Engineering im Kontext von Warehouse Management Systemen - Anforderungen aufnehmen, analysieren und darstellen« Bachelorarbeit Andrea Wohlgemuth
»Toolentwicklung Lagerplanung« Projektarbeit Fabian Brinke / Lennart Scholz
»Wägetechnik« Projektarbeit Moritz Wernecke