Innovative and sustainable logistic solutions for the future

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The FINANCIAL — Global megatrends like urbanization, globalization and individualization pose new challenges for logistics, particularly under the aspect of environmental compatibility and resource conservation, according to Bayer.

 

At the same time, however, they also create market opportunities for the future. Bayer MaterialScience is involved in the development of innovative material solutions for future logistics concepts. The company is currently cooperating with a team of partners – Deutsche Post DHL, Frackenpohl-Poulheim, Hettich, Miele and Zentek – on a project that forms part of the Future_bizz network’s Open Innovation approach.

The team has evolved a pioneering system solution for the commodity flow and recycling stream of the year 2020. The result is new supply and disposal systems that not only represent important value-added for the consumer but also yield ecological and economic benefits.

The partners will present a pioneering and sustainable logistics concept at the imm International Furniture Fair taking place January 16-22, 2012, in Cologne, Germany. It involves new processes in the consumer’s direct living environment, focusing on the last mile. Bayer MaterialScience’s contribution to this project is the visionary concept of a universal box for the entire process chain, from the ordering of goods, through their internal distribution in separate, single households, to their final disposal.

 

The concept of the e-goal box provides for additional functionalities if required. The container can, for example, be equipped with a cooling or heating unit to stabilize or preserve the contents. In addition, the lid can be sealed and provided with an RFID tag. The contents can be secured with the aid of special retaining devices. In the future, it is quite conceivable that small robots will be used to transport these boxes inside buildings.

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Depending on its use, the box could be made from a variety of materials, including particularly rugged, lightweight, weather- and light-resistant plastics that give the box the durability required for repeated use. Rigid polyurethane foam is an ideal thermal insulation solution. In such applications, it is certainly the most effective material when it comes to ensuring the supply of food items to consumers without any interruption of the refrigeration chain. A nano-foam with an even higher thermal-insulating capacity could be used in the future. With the help of suitable coatings, the interior or exterior surfaces could be given an “easy-clean” treatment or an antimicrobial finish.

The project presented here relating to e.goal 2020 is a refinement of other logistics concepts already developed by Bayer MaterialScience in conjunction with its partners, such as the “CargoPacks 2020” project. The aim of this project was also to identify megatrends at an early stage and to develop solutions as a team together with suitable partners.

As part of this project, a competition was held in 2009 for the VisionWorks Award, in which design students from five universities were asked to develop creative ideas for transport and logistics. It resulted in a number of impressive concepts and prototypes that were developed as part of an interdisciplinary approach.

 

 

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