HaFoLa - Test Centre for Innovative Port and Cargo-handling Technologies


Test centre for innovative port and cargo handling technologies (German: Versuchszentrum für innovative Hafen- und Umschlagtechnologien) (HaFoLa)

Logistics in Germany and especially in North Rhine-Westphalia is a global leader in terms of performance and efficiency. With technical innovations in inland navigation and port logistics, this position can be secured and further expanded. To this end, the technical feasibility of basic research results must be demonstrated in realistic environments with prototypes.
The new research infrastructure will enable various areas - from berthing and mooring of the ship to cargo handling and crane operation to the management of port resources. The DST - Development Centre for Ship Technology and Transport Systems e.V. and the University of Duisburg-Essen are thus laying the foundation for innovative developments in logistics, such as increasing automation, machine learning, cyber-physical systems and Industry 4.0 as parts of the development portfolio in the fields of mechatronics and information technology.

The test centre for innovative port and cargo-handling technologies (HaFoLa) in Duisburg will have a test hall in which the topography of a port is mapped. In addition to moorings in the harbour basin and harbour quay, various true-to-scale functional models of handling equipment, barges and containers will be available for use in test runs. Specifically, an automatable indoor crane, a container bridge, a slewing crane, a reach stacker, an Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) and RoRo ramps are planned. The port cargo-handling equipment will be mechatronic and fully automatable prototypes made of industrial components.
In addition, the Living Lab "Digital Port", in which hardware and software developments are developed and tested within the framework of future digitalisation projects, as well as a model warehouse will be part of the HaFoLa.
The HaFoLa thus offers a laboratory environment for basic research up to the proof of technical feasibility as well as the demonstration of innovative technologies in port logistics.


Project duration:


8 months

Project coordinator at the Chair of Mechatronics:

Project partner:

Participating chairs/departments at UDE:

  • Chair of Mechatronics (Prof. Schramm)

Belongs to profile focus areas of the Faculty of Engineering Sciences at the UDE: