Logo: EffizienzCluster - LogistikRuhr

Smart Reusable Transport Items (smaRTI) - Intelligent Material Flow

The loading aid is the most important entity, especially in view of the non-stop expansion in global trade. It assembles individual packages into units, allowing better consolidation. The control of these goods streams, however, remains as complex as ever and suffers from a general lack of transparency.

The coordination of the worldwide stream of goods is a challenge which research has so far approached with complicated algorithms and computing power. Yet the mathematical optimum hardly reflects the dynamics of reality: what is needed are quick decisions in real-time. An intelligent material flow should lead to a new quality of logistics services: objects and goods find their own routes around the global logistics network by communicating with one another and the existing logistics systems, and interacting on a local level. 

Objective of the Joint Project

smaRTI is working on the development of a cross-industry and supply chain-independent approach for an intelligent material flow. According to the "Internet of Things" concept, the objects find their own way through the logistical network. AutoID technologies such as RFID, RTLS and barcodes, make autonomous control processes possible. This principle is based on the development of a new generation of intelligent loading aids – from letter containers to air freight pallets – and standardised software architectures for AutoID technologies and IT services. The transparent streams of goods with information in real-time will accelerate processes and make them more secure, reducing waiting times and unnecessary expense or wastage. Material and information flow are synchronised, thus ensuring highest flexibility and degrees of freedom for the logistics.

Specific Innovations

The project partners are developing logistics concepts to design processes, technologies and software for the identification, localisation and control of loading aids. Cross-platform modules are also being designed which will make them easier to implement in existing storage technologies at a future date. These concepts are being tested in real-life situations with innovative loading aid developments in the air freight, FMCG and letter post sectors.

Partners in the Project

Deutsche Post AG


REWE-Informations-Systeme GmbH


Mars Services GmbH


Chep Deutschland GmbH


Lufthansa Cargo AG


Infineon Technologies AG


Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics

Using intelligent loading aids, autonomous control logistical processes will be able to organise logistics more efficiently.

Contact person

Martin Fiedler


Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML

Phone: +49 (0) 231 97 43 231


Facts & Figures

Start of the Project


Project Duration
43 months

Project Volume
8,3 Mio. Euro

IT as a driver of innovation


A compass for the logistics


Members of EffizienzCluster

EffizienzCluster Management GmbH
Kölner Str. 80 - 82
45481 Mülheim an der Ruhr

Tel.: 0208-9925 - 255
Fax: 0208-9925 - 222
E-Mail: info@effizienzcluster.de