Technological Centre

Digital Twins as a key tool in optimizing logistical processes

CETIM collaborates with port logistics companies in the application of 4.0 technologies such as Digital Twins, Robotics and Artificial Vision for the improvement of port logistics and the storage and transformation of products.

SMARTSTORE investigates the optimization of the port logistics chain through the use of digital technologies such as artificial vision, digital twins, or robotics.

Detail of a digital twin of the unloading process of goods in the port area.

The EU aims for industry to account for 20% of Europe’s GDP, and to this end proposes a reindustrialization within the framework of the application of industrial technologies. Aligned with the development of Industry 4.0, the SMARTSTORE project applies new technologies to achieve technological advances in the main port organization activities. To this, CETIM is collaborating with large companies and SMEs of reference in port logistics, with the aim of developing a series of high-level technological proposals to intensify and optimize the efficiency, quality and safety levels throughout the entire port logistics chain, from stowage in the port to the delivery of the goods to the customer.

SMARTSTORE has identified process stages susceptible to technological evolution, in mainly manual processes that require great experience, space optimization and product verification. Thus, CETIM is working on the development of Digital Twins of the automated logistic processes for each type of relevant product with the aim of having a unique simulation environment for the control and management system of the daily operations.

In addition, CETIM is implementing artificial vision systems for the identification and classification of products, creating synergies and optimizing other technologies also provided by CETIM in the automatic palletizing processes using state-of-the-art robotics.

CETIM Research

In order to solve the specific problems that arise throughout the port logistics chain, CETIM provide solutions through a serie of digital technologies, such as digital twins, artificial vision and robotics.

Currently, within the SMARTSTORE project, CETIM are designing the Digital Twin of different logistic and production processes, in order to model them for their monitoring and to be able to simulate different configurations to optimize their performance and their possible scaling towards higher production levels.

Specifically, in collaboration with partners, we are developing Digital Twin for the processes of frozen product storage, product extrusion and bulk solid warehouse filling. Specifically: 

  • The use of digital twins in the frozen product warehouse makes it possible to monitor the operation of the warehouse and carry out simulations to optimize the distribution of the different elements in the plant (unloading, classification, palletization), the operations that require the intervention of operators or the routes and sequences that the AGVs will follow.
  • The digital twin of the product extrusion process makes it possible to integrate the data collected by the control systems developed during the project and simulate their behavior under different working conditions, making it possible to identify and correct possible bottlenecks.
  • The digital twin of the automated filling process for bulk solids warehouses allows the new filling optimization algorithms to be tested, facilitating their optimization and the detection of possible errors or improvements before implementing them in the real system.

Thus, the success of SMARTSTORE will make it possible to replicate the behavior of logistics systems and processes, facilitating their monitoring in quasi-real time, also making it possible to simulate the operation of the systems in order to study their behavior under different conditions and optimize their performance.

In the next steps, CETIM will apply artificial vision technologies, such as OCR (character recognition) and volumetry using point cloud scanners, as well as industrial robotization techniques. The objective is the automatic identification and classification of frozen products, prior to storage, by their dimensions and labelling information, in order to optimize their distribution on pallets, which will also be automatic thanks to the robotization of this task.

Thus, the SMARTSTORE project seeks to automate and optimize processes through the use of 4.0 technologies at industrial level in order to minimize the current problems existing along the port logistics chain.

The project, which will end in April 2023 and has a budget of 2.8 million euros, is part of the programme “Factory of the future, smart and sustainable factory of Industry 4.0” which is subsidized by the Galician Innovation Agency and co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the ERDF Operational Programme Galicia 2014-2020, OT1 “Promoting technological development, innovation and quality research”. The project is also supported by the Second Vice-Presidency and the Regional Ministry of Economy, Employment and Industry.