A significant proportion of the national and international flow of goods is transported and handled temperature-controlled. Temperature-controlled goods are frozen or refrigerated foods, pharmaceutical products, chemicals as well as liquid tar or liquid metal in the range of high temperatures. Some of these transports are carried out with an active temperature control, while other goods are transported within the scope of a passive temperature control. The passive temperature control follows without cooling or heating by means of aggregates, the goods must be located within a certain temperature range during the transport.
The project SMITH focuses the issue of passive temperature control using the example of the Aleris Recycling (German Works) GmbH which organizes transports of liquid aluminum. Within the logistics of Aleris, the liquid aluminum and the corresponding transport containers need to be heated in a way, which guarantees the customer a delivery in a proper processing temperature. Setting the temperature is currently based on experience, using information like the transport time and the condition of the transport container or weather conditions such as outdoor temperature, wind speed and density of precipitation. SMITH adresses these temperatures of the aluminium melt and the transport containers during the shipment and delivery. The project focuses on measures to optimize the heating temperatures and reduce energy costs.
Against this backdrop, the aim of SMITH is to improve the energy efficiency of passive temperature-controlled logistics in the low-temperature and the high-temperature range - first analyzing the transport of liquid aluminum. An expert system is developed that supports shippers and logistics service providers in their decision on the starting temperature of the transported goods. The software predicts the optimum temperature for specific applications based on current factors such as material properties or transport and weather conditions. For the configuration of the expert system and to collect real data from the passive temperature-controlled transports of Aleris, a multi-sensory tool including data storage and data transmission is developed.
With the launch of the expert system for the German production sites, Aleris as a pilot user expects to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions significantly. A transfer of the solution to other systems such as the temperature-controlled transport of food enables huge energy and CO2 savings and is an important contribution of the logistics industry to climate protection.