Digital technologies automate placement of cars in shipping containers

More cars could be shipped in fewer containers thanks to software developed at WMG for Trans-Rak International.


Working with Warwickshire-based manufacturer Trans-Rak International (TRI), Piero Filippin, innovation manager at WMG at the University of Warwick, has created a system that automates the placement of cars in a shipping container, allowing for any combination of make or model.

The software operates a car racking system produced by TRI, and the combined technologies could lead to savings for the global automotive industry, enabling more cars to fit into fewer containers, as they are transported across the world.

Currently, an average of two cars can be stored in each container but that capacity would be doubled using the new system.

The software generates recommendations on any number of cars, of different makes and models, to be stored in the most efficient possible combination and position.

Users select the number of cars, as well as which makes/models, they wish to transport. A numerical process simulates numerous loading scenarios, and generates a report of the most efficient combination of cars in each container, plus their exact positioning.

The racking hardware, developed at TRI, comprises of removable metal components that come together to form a variable-dimension frame, with which cars can be lifted up inside a container, allowing other cars to be positioned efficiently underneath the lifted cars.

“The solution developed for TRI has totally transformed the manual-based processes previously used for establishing the optimal placement of a set of cars,” Filippin said in a statement. “The new software-inspired system allows specific vehicles to be selected from a comprehensive list, meaning a quicker view can be gained in relation to vehicle configuration. This has helped save considerable time, resource and money.”