“Besides my own direct research cooperation with ZLC Professor Rafael Díaz, I will also support further cooperation between research groups at Fraunhofer IML and ZLC”


Dr.  Tobias Hegmanns, Academic Director at Fraunhofer-Institute of Material Flow and Logistics has performed a 3 month research stay at ZLC. Fraunhofer is Europe’s largest application-oriented research organization.
Could you briefly describe your research?
My research relates to recent advances in technologies for digitization and automation of operations in production and logistics. These advances are summarized with different terms and buzzwords: e.g. Industry 4.0, Internet-of-Things, Industrial Internet, cyberphysical systems. My research focuses on application of the intelligent and autonomous systems that result from this. I analyze how these new systems impact productivity and agility in manufacturing and supply chain management.

You have been in Zaragoza for 3 months. During this period you have been working in the research field of Manufacturing and Logistics Analytics with ZLC Professor Rafael Díaz.
How was the experience? Has it had a direct impact on your research?

Industry 4.0 is a big topic in Germany in these days. Rafael and I identified the underlying principles of this innovative and technology-driven field of research. Rafael added a more international perspective to my work. Together we did some groundwork in this field. We summarized our findings in joint paper that we will publish very soon. We think that our approach is innovative and opens us many opportunities for follow-up works.

How important is the practical application of your research in general?
The application is very important. My institute back in Germany works very application-oriented. More than 50% of our annual budget comes from direct cooperation with the industry. I hope that that my research leads to deeper insights in the applicability and profitability of autonomous systems in logistics. Our industry partners have a very high interest in business cases and best-practice studies in this field.

How has been the experience of interacting with the Research Groups of ZLC? Do you have any fond memories to take away with you?
I enjoyed discussing and spending time with people at ZLC a lot. Besides my own direct research cooperation with Rafael, I will also support further cooperation between research groups at Fraunhofer IML and ZLC. I took home a brief list of ideas to start with. Some preparations are already in progress.
Besides that, there are many valuable memories about off-work activities with ZLC people. From Zaragoza night life to the 12km race. All this is a great memory to keep!

Will the relationship between ZLC and Fraunhofer-Institute continue in the near future? How?
Yes, Rafael and I intend to publish the results of our joint research very soon. On top of that, I organized an industrial use case with a German First-tier automotive supplier. The work on this use case I have just started together with my team back in Germany. This use case will provide us with real case data to extend and validate our work.

It seems that Zaragoza lifestyle has hitched you! A little bird told us that you are planning to be back soon. Are you excited about the idea of another stay at ZLC?
Yes, that is right. I am planning a second stay and I am very confident that I can realize it. Tentatively it will take place starting from the end of August until October. I am looking forward to it a lot!