Laboratory for Conveying and Handling Technology, Logistics and Material Flow Technology

In short: FHLM


The Department of Conveying and Handling Technology, Logistics and Material Flow Technology deals with aspects of internal and external material flow and the associated logistical problems in teaching and applied development / research.

The conveying technology deals with the movement of goods or people between locations of limited distance. The aids that trigger the movement are called material handling aids. Common material handling aids include, for example, cranes, forklifts, belt conveyors, escalators and lifts. Less common material handling aids are, for example, fully automatic storage and retrieval machines (SRM), automated guided vehicles (AGV) or electric monorail systems (EMS).

The handling technology describes devices and machines (automats) that are supposed to relieve humans of heavy physical work and enable defined changes in position and direction of the transported goods with minimal transport distances. Typical devices are e.g. manipulators (assembly of doors in the automotive industry) and robots/linear systems as well as their feeding systems.

Logistics considers the entire material flow as a process. Thus, in companies, not only the internal transport is examined, but also the material procurement, the production and the goods distribution (distribution) are included. Logistics plans and controls the entire process with the constant aim of minimising total costs. In this context, Anglo-Saxon terms such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) for internal logistics and SCM (Supply Chain Management) for the entire chain of value creation, including customers and suppliers, have become established.

Due to the ongoing compulsion to exhaust all possibilities for savings in production and service companies, the optimal use of all existing material handling systems is of lasting importance. The term material flow technology is characteristic for this purpose. It is associated with the interlinking of all processes in a company, e.g. in order to minimise the costs arising from transport and storage through systematic material flow design. System means are e.g. automatic storage systems, picking systems, automated guided vehicles (AGVs), electric monorail systems (EMS) or handling techniques and many more.

The teaching attempts to prepare students for these extensive fields of work in several different lectures and laboratory exercises, so that a career start is easy.


Research and main areas of work

In addition to teaching, the FHLM team also deals with various questions of research and development, but also problem solving for industrial applications.

In the past, for example, projects were

  • on automatic car park technology (strategies, car park design, transport vehicle development),
  •  for the optimisation of conveyor systems (screw conveyors) with regard to wear, throughput, energy consumption/efficiency, bearing leak tightness
  • for the surface improvement of building materials through optimised manufacturing processes
  • for increasing the load-bearing capacity of a small manipulator
  • for the development and construction of an orientation device for special screws
  • for noise emission reduction of a high-performance conveyor
  • for the realisation of manual and automatic storage systems as well as material flow systems supplying production (from continuous conveyors to FTSs and EHB)
  • among others

successfully carried out in the two laboratories and in the companies on site.

In addition, the department advises companies in the region on all problems with existing systems, as well as on planning processes.

Interesting techniques

Parallel kinematic robot

Students learn how to prepare a work task on a PC using a parallel kinematic robot off-line. The program is created on a simulation interface of the robot manufacturer Omron-Adept. The laboratory task consists of developing a pick & place program that can also be written on the students' private computers in the simulation program. For this purpose, the students receive a workspace with all geometric data of the robot and the working environment. In the laboratory session, the students test it on the real system in the laboratory.In parallel, modern safety systems are dealt with that prevent unauthorised human access to the workspace.

6-axis vertical articulated arm robot

Another experiment on handling technology consists of on-line programming on a 6-axis vertical articulated arm robot, where simple travel and technology commands are demonstrated and a pick & place cycle is programmed. In contrast to the laboratory exercise on the parallel kinematic robot, direct access to the machine is made possible here. In practice, there are often deviations between the simulation development and the real system, so that corrections have to be made on site at the machine. The training in the laboratory serves this purpose.

Pneumatic conveyor system (Industry 4.0)

A pneumatic flight conveyor system, as used particularly for process engineering processes, is used in the laboratory to obtain data (parameters for the design) of large scale systems. The background to this is the problem that no system can be designed economically for all bulk material transports without knowledge of the material parameters of the bulk material and their operating behaviour in the conveyor. The aim of the training is to familiarise oneself with the various measuring sensors, to be able to correct measuring errors and also to avoid systematic errors in a large system. At the same time, students learn how the system can be operated in an economically optimal way with the help of suitable sensors (low energy consumption, system and product protection). The interaction of sensor technology, data transmission and control of the plant (Industry 4.0) in the optimal operating state as required without user intervention is also an objective of the laboratory exercise, so that students can subsequently build sustainable plant systems or modernise existing ones in their professional lives.


  • 5 workstations (Windows Office, Creo, Flexsim)
  • 3 robots (parallel kinematics, 6-axis vertical articulated arm robot) with 4 workstations each
  • Pneumatic conveyor system
  • Suspended speed test facility
  • Screw conveyor system
  • Vibratory conveyor
  • Orientation equipment (oscillating conveyor, conveyor belt with chicane technology)

The laboratory has two laboratory rooms. Robotics/handling technology and simulation in one lab, bulk material handling in a second laboratory.


The team