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Author: Katarzyna Siwczyk     Published At: 15.04.2024
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A modern food vending machine is another project implemented by scientists of the Silesian University of Technology

Scientists from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering are developing algorithms that can be used in stores and vending machines that supply people with food products. What is important, the goods will go fresh to the customer, and the seller will not participate in the whole process. The first project of this type, developed in cooperation with scientists of the Silesian University of Technology, was officially launched today in the parking lot in front of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering,

The project of self-service stores is another initiative that is being created with the participation of our scientists. The project was co-financed by the National Centre for Research and Development. The project was carried out by a consortium led by HemiTech sp. z o.o., and one of the partners of Silesian University of Technology. During the implementation of the project, a coronavirus pandemic broke out, which further strengthened the need to implement projects limiting the direct contact of the store with customers.

“The need to automate the sales process has proven to be important even after the pandemic. Automation eliminates the problem with the availability of personnel, thanks to which such a sales point, as we can see here, can work 24 hours a day, seven days a week – said Michał Pajączek, President of HemiTech sp. z o.o.

On the part of the Silesian University of Technology, the project was attended by employees of the Department of Fundamentals of Machinery Design, Prof. Dr Hab. Wojciech Moczulski , Dr Hab. Eng. Piotr Przystałka, Dr. Eng. Wawrzyniec Panfil, Dr Eng. Krzysztof Ciupke, Dr Eng. Paweł Chrzanowski, Dr Eng. Sebastian Rzydzik, MSc Eng. Daniel Pająk,, MSc. Rafał Osadnik.

The role of the scientists of the Silesian University of Technology in this project, among others, was to prepare appropriate algorithms using artificial intelligence methods for the needs of the subsystem used to plan the store’s inventory in accordance with the current needs of customers and the optimal placement of goods in the warehouse.

“We developed algorithms that analysed the historical data of other brick-and-mortar stores. Based on these real data, we trained our algorithms. In this way, we are able to prepare a system for supplying points of sale with a specific product, in a specific time - explains Prof. Wojciech Moczulski from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, who was the head of the Silesian University of Technology team participating in the project.

Thanks to this system, the point of sale will offer goods that are willingly bought by customers. The system monitors on an ongoing basis what goods have the largest sales, at what times, etc. Depending on the location of the automated shop, these needs may vary.

In the parking lot of the Faculty of Mechanical Technology, a test automated self-service bakery display was erected. This solution has an additional degree of difficulty, because the product inside must be fresh, and in the case of, for example, cream cakes or salads, it must be given to the customer in such a way that it does not lose its consistency, taste and aesthetic value, i.e. it is not overturned or crushed.

- The test phase is about checking how the point in the form of a bakery site works, but in further plans this project will be much more extensive. In May, we want to present a fully automated round-the-clock warehouse, which will already offer many more goods – adds Prof. Moczulski.

Engineers from the Silesian University of Technology are also working on algorithms that will help optimize energy consumption in such a store and shorten the time of order picking. To this end, they use the most modern technologies of Industry 4.0, based on digital twins. Ultimately, the project assumes that orders in an automated store will be able to be placed as in a traditional online store, with the difference that you can order goods for a specific time, for collection in a specific place where the warehouse or store is located.

An automatic grocery store with a rich assortment is to be launched soon in the Gliwice district.

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