Tag Archives: technology

Ford automation warehouse systems

Good morning! Today I want to talk you about the automation systems you can find in Ford motor company, or at least, the two more interesting systems, in my opinion, while managing a big storage as Ford in Almussafes, Valencia.


All my family has been working at Ford for more than 40 years, so I am a kind of a Ford child, so that’s the reason why I’m always driving Ford cars, for those of you who have seen my car, or past cars.

When I was 16 I was offered the opportunity to do an internship at Ford during the summer break, from June to the beginning of August. It wasn’t the type of internship you do during your university studies, but a kind of internship to understand how the company of our parents was working. It was 2009, I was young and I didn’t know much about life( as now), so I was amazed by the robots and all the technology of Ford but something that surprised me the most was the warehouse where they used to have the smaller parts (like screws, nuts…). They had it automatized as in this video, but in the biggest place you can imagine and with more than 8 different robots that were supplying different desk that then were trasportedthis parts to the different plants where the assembly was made.

I’ve been trying to look for their system now, but there isn’t much information about it, nevertheless, I have found an interesting system that is working in the engines plant to manage the warehouse and make the inventory of the different engine parts.

Here you can see how all the work is developed by robots that, completely alone, manage the storage:


As always, let me know if you want to share something or if you liked it.

Using RFID system at the tooling department of an Aircraft Maintenance Center

Hey Space Geeks! Now that we know that we are not alone, we are here, another week, with a new edition of “short but curious” post. We can’t talk always about space, but we can do it about “things that fly”, so lets start.

In this case, I would like to share you my experience about implementing a RFID system in a warehouse in the Cessna Spanish Citation Service centre here in Valencia, a maintenance centre for Beechcraft and Cessna jets.

Cessna webpage picture

In our case the problem wasn’t with the parts storage, but with the tooling storage. Then, we decided to apply a technique, usually used to better track the boxes or pallets in a traditional warehouse, to our tools. As the main issue of the maintenance plant was that the mechanics usually forgot where the tools where and sometimes they got loose even inside of the planes( that later were flying to countries as far away as Egypt), we decided to implement a tracking system that was already working in the aircraft building facilities. Taking into consideration that the tools in the aeronautics industry are extremely expensive, the company decided to invest in the RFID system.

The tooling department, then started to add the tags to the boxes with the tools and to the tools themselves( you can see how it works here and here). Given each tag a tracking number in the system and assigning this tracking number to the corresponding tool. Then we gave the mechanics a card that they should attach to their accreditation card( when working in the air area of an airport you should always wear an accreditation card that allows you to pass do different zones). In that way, we got the opportunity to identify which mechanic has taken each tool, at what time, and where the tool was. So at the end of the day, when doing the inventory, we were able to find who had each tool ( or who lose it).

Nevertheless, as usual with this system, not all was wonderful. There were some problems:

  1. The tags were perfect for some tools, but big for others, especially for the calibration ones or the precision ones. We couldn’t attach it to them, as the precision would be lost. Then the only option was the 3 of this list, with its own problems.
  2. The system sometimes fails. Mainly because the mechanics put their cards with the telephones and the cards stop working.
  3. The tags were attached to the boxes of most of the tools. Sometimes the mechanics took the tool out of the box and then lose it. This made the system fail, as before implementing it.

Nowadays as far as I know, the system is getting better with some modifications and the Textron Aviation group( whose Cessna is part of) is starting to implement it in some other Maintenance Centers around the World.

As always, let me know if you have any question or if you want to share any similar experience.



How the astronauts store food?

Hey space geeks! ( Maybe I’m the only one). We are here another week with a short but curious article about space issues, that can help us to deal with the lockdown.


We know (now) that with confinement there are also other struggles that we didn’t experience before, as how to stock all the food we need for a week in our little closets. So why don’t to learn from the best? If we talk about confined people it is better to go directly to the masters in this topic: The astronauts on the International Space Station ( ISS). Some of them have spent more than a year there, and stocking food for long time missions it’s incredibly difficult, in terms of space, expiration date and weight of the mission. I have found different videos that may be interesting for you.

First we have a deep explanaiton about how to prepared the food(mostly dehydrated food), stock there in the rocket and then in the ISS.

We have much more information on the internet, but and interesting presentation about how the food is stored at the ISS can be found here, where Thomas Pesquet, an ESA French Astronaut, explains how eat without gravity. The most interesting thing, concerning the subject, of the video, is to see where they usually eat ( and to be happy because in our confinement we have a bit more space than here), and where they store the food( you can see a deeper explanation, if needed here, by Frank the Winne, the boss of the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne).

In the last years they have also started to produce their own food, so it is easier for them to have fresh food and at the same time, it is better for the mission, as they can reduce the weight, that is the most expensive thing as you have seen in the first video.

Just to finish, in this video you have a short tour of the ISS, so you can understand and see the way they store their products in all the walls and even on the floor, trying to safe space from everything. In this case is not a short video, but if you have some time it can be interesting for you.

Some more information in general about this topic can be found here, where the NASA team explains all the process, since the food is on Earth until how they eat it at the ISS.

As always, let me know if you want more post related to the aeronautics or space field and if you have any doubt or something to add.


The hidden face of logistics

As we had the opportunity to see along all our posts, logistics is everywhere and forms part in many processes in a wide variety of sectors. As a consequence, the organs transplants are not an exception. Only in our country, more than 100.000 transplants had taken place since 1965 which is the year when this practice started. Time, as usually in logistics, plays an important role in a process where coordination between all the parts involved is crucial. The aim of this post is to give a basic idea of how it works the organs transplant and clarify the existent link between this and logistics.

In first place, the organs transplant is known as a complex medical treatment where organs, tissues or cells are transplanted from one person to other i.e. a damaged organ is substituted by one that functions correctly. The process starts when the donor has been diagnosed of encephalic death and a quick call has to be made to notify this fact so it is possible to start with the organization of the organs’ offer to the different transplant teams and prepare the operatives. There is a transplant coordinator who is responsible for providing the clinical, analytical and anthropometry data with the objective of facilitate the assessment of the possible use of the organs. All the data related with the steps of the transplant and the time that takes place is pointed in a dossier.

Video about organs transplants (1:52 – 3:45)

There are mainly four aspects where logistics is involved which are, in first place, the material means that are needed for the extraction of several organs, location of the personnel and coordination of the transport. Regarding the transport, the mechanism chosen for performing this task varies according the distance which is divided in:

  • Local donor: it is in the same city than the team on charge of the extraction and transplant but in different hospital. Therefore, the coordinator of the hospital organizes the displacement.
  • Short distance: sanitary cars or helicopters are used when the distance is lower than 200 km.
  • Long distance: private flight companies are hired and in some cases the air army realizes the transport. At least two hours are needed for preparing the flight so the coordination is essential between the hospitals involved and the ONT (National organization of transplants).

Secondly, it is important the preparation of the multiorgan extraction. The organ when is take from the body needs to be cooled, clean and preserved (the conditions will change in function of the organ or tissue). It is important to have a stock of the fluids used for the preservation, a sterile container and an isotainer for its transport. In addition, the third point consists on having good intrahospital coordination in the moment of the extraction. Moreover, the last step is based on the reposition of the stock.

material quirúrgico

Image 1: Surgical material needed for the organ transplant.

To sum up, the coordination of organs transplants involves a wide spectrum of aspects such as legal, clinical, organizational and human which takes place between hospitals and governmental institutions. There are evidences that point Spain as one of the countries with the most effective model of transplants. This success can be justified by the new surgical techniques and medical treatments together with an increase of organs donated. All this cannot be possible without logistics, which is responsible for the coordination of the transplant, the transport on time of the organ, the right stock repositioning, the use of a informatics system which is able of search information and channeling reports and requests for donor and transplant, among others.



When a business is created, the project must address three key aspects called triple bottom line which are the environmental, social and economic sustainability. In connection with this line of work I defined an agro-food related business called HOF3M.

My project is related with the creation of a garden in the roof of the buildings. This garden would be managed by two workers. The first one is in charge of the irrigation installation and its management. The second one is responsible of planting and caring for plants, this person must plant the seeds of season, set irrigation conditions and reap harvest.


Figure 1. HOF3M proposal. Source: Own elaboration.

This project aims to be:

  • Environmentally sustainable. According with the web page of Plume Air Report (https://air.plumelabs.com/) nowadays it is increasing pollution in cities. By increasing the number of plants in urban areas CO2 can be reduced.
  • Residents can eat health food.
  • Economic. New technology facilitates the management of the crop.

The logistic of this project should be facilitated by the application of new technologies. For example, there are companies such as Phytech and Modpow which provide agricultural sensors. These sensors can study the crop state and send the information obtained to a web application. There are also other companies such as Dynamax (http://www.dynamax.com/products) that allows you to have automated irrigation systems by the use of sensors.


Figure 2. Phytech technology. Source: Reproduced from <http://www.phytech.com/>


Figure 3. Modpow technology. Source: Reproduced from <http://www.modpow.es/es/tecnologia/>

Aurea Jordán



Old warehouses VS new warehouses

You can read about the same day recovery in amazon in other post, but we want show the importance of innovation to increase the efficiency and effectiveness, for this we are going to compare the logistics center in San Fernando de Henares (Madrid) with the logistics center in Tracy, California.  You can see the process in Madrid and the process in Tracy.

This new technology makes us win: more space capacity, less time to prepare the order (times are down 90minutes to 15minutes), less tired workers that previously they  had to work long distances (the stock amazon has the dimension of 59 fields football).
Similarities: they continue using an ordered chaos and not classify objects by class.

Technology used in both stores: first quality control (photograph, measure and weigh), product identification barcode and very important for my machine labeled (if labeling performs poorly, the package is not sent and the company loses money and image. Many small businesses lose money to make the wrong type labeling for not having this technology).

Future technology: Sending by Drones, FAA, the federal agency responsible for regulating the airspace of the US, Amazon has given permission to use autonomous flying vehicles, although with many restrictions and an experimental license. Amazon hopes to deliver packages in less than 30 minutes, even in rural or difficult to access.


Alejandro Rodriguez Barea

How will we be parking our cars in future?

The cities are getting fuller and more crowded than ever before. Driving a car in in a big city always taxes the driver´s patience. It is even getting worse when you try to find a parking lot. Without a reserved parking lot or paying high parking charges it is really hard to find spaces within a city. But how should this problem be solved in future? Some logistic engineers seem to have an appropriate solution.

Thanks to demographic trends, more and more people push into big cities, many cities already don´t have enough capacities to handle the high amount of traffic. Every square meter has to be used in a useful and well planned manner. To meet higher traffic emerge, especially private cars, solutions have to be found. Space is rare so how to built a parking deck with the highest efficiency? Okay, first of all, you have to go up high! The more levels, the higher the land utilization. But still, parking decks need lots of space, and many collisions happen because of narrow gateways.

Engineers have found a solution how increase land utilization. These days machines work more precise and more efficient than human beings. So it is reasonable to remove the driver and passengers from of the car, before parking it. An Automated parking system (APS) is the solution. In the field of logistics, automated warehousing is common practice, so why not applying this efficient technology to our daily life?


Using the APS is like robotic valet parking. The driver has to drive the car into the entry area of the APS, where he and all passengers leave the car. Nearby will be an automated terminal for payment and receipt of the ticket. When all persons have left the entry area, a special mechanic system will lift the car and “park” it at a predetermined parking space in the system. To retrieve a car, the driver has just to insert his ticket at the automated terminal. The system will lift the car from its parking space and deliver it at an exit area.

The main advantage of automated parking systems is saving space by significantly reducing it:

  • Parking space width and depth (and distances between parking spaces) are dramatically reduced since no allowance need be made for driving the car into the parking space or for the opening of car doors (for drivers and passengers)
  • No driving lanes or ramps are needed to drive the car to/from the entrance/exit to a parking space
  • Ceiling height is minimized since there is no pedestrian traffic (drivers and passengers) in the parking area, and
  • No walkways, stairways or elevators are needed to accommodate pedestrians in the parking area.

Due to the mentioned reductions the APS needs substantially less structural material than the multi-story parking garage. A space saving steel framework is the base of the APS which contributes to an overall volume reduction.

Additionally to the efficient use of space, there are more benefits: As there is no public access to the parking areas, the cars are more secure. Damages on the car like scratches and dents from the parking activity are eliminated. It is also safer for driver and passengers, which do not have to walk through the parking-areas. Engine emissions are reduced, because driving through the parking garage to find a spot is not required anymore.

This is how we will probably park our cars in future, no more driving around in multi-story parking garages to find a spot!