Research and development

Total spending on research and development increased by 16.0 per cent to €107.8 million (H1 2017: €92.9 million), which equates to 2.8 per cent of revenue. Of this total, research and product development costs of €69.3 million (H1 2017: €65.9 million) were expensed. The first six months of 2018 saw an addition to capitalised development costs of €38.6 million (H1 2017: €27.1 million), while amortisation and impairment charges amounted to €37.4 million (H1 2017: €34.4 million). The number of full-time jobs in R&D stood at 1,744 as at 30 June 2018 (31 December 2017: 1,533). > TABLE 18

Research and development (R&D)


in € million

Q2 2018

Q2 2017*


Q1 – Q2 2018

Q1 – Q2 2017*



Key figures for 2017 were restated due to the initial application of IFRS 15 and IFRS 16

Research and development costs (P&L)







Capitalised development costs







Total R&D spending







R&D spending as percentage of revenue





Focus of R&D in the first half of 2018

Under the KION 2027 strategy, research and development is set up so as to provide the best possible support for the KION Group’s objective of becoming the world’s leading supplier of integrated, automated supply chain solutions and mobile automation solutions. The innovativeness of the portfolio is being significantly increased by concentrating heavily on automation and robotics solutions that are based on an overarching software platform.

During the reporting period, the KION Group forged ahead with incorporating autonomous trucks and automated guided vehicle systems into end-to-end solutions for warehouses. Another area of focus was the ongoing development of the warehouse management system. Moreover, the KION Group has begun to more closely integrate research and development into an overarching digitalisation strategy.

Automation and connectivity

The Industrial Trucks & Services and Supply Chain Solutions segments particularly focused on product development aimed at improving the automation and connectivity of warehouse and logistics solutions. Linde entered the automated guided cart (AGC) segment with the new Linde C-MATIC, which autonomously manoeuvres through the warehouse and plays a key part in standardising production logistics processes. Another addition to the robotics portfolio was the R-MATIC autonomous reach truck, which operates fully automatically to store and retrieve palletised goods weighing up to 1.6 tonnes on high-bay racks. For light transport tasks, Linde also launched three new pallet stackers and a hand pallet truck on the market. Linde’s ‘connect’ fleet management solution is now available for all industrial trucks – including those built by other companies – and therefore provides a comprehensive system for capturing and evaluating data that is also suitable for mixed fleets. Furthermore, the innovative Truck Call app improves communication between the fleet manager and drivers, thereby enabling orders to be managed even more efficiently.

Another new solution is the STILL neXXt online portal, via which numerous processes involving inhouse material and data flows can be managed – including from mobile devices.

Warehouse management system

Dematic presented the second generation of its pouch sorting system, which is particularly suitable for the handling of returns and for picking, e.g. in e-commerce. Hanging and flat goods as well as flat-packed items and boxes can be stored, sorted and staged. An improved goods-to-person picking solution was also launched to coincide with MODEX in Atlanta. Combining the advantages of the Dematic Multishuttle with patented inter-aisle transfer technology, the solution enables more intelligent, faster and ergonomic order processing for high volumes of goods.

Drive technology

Linde’s new rental concept for lithium-ion batteries is encouraging the use of energy-saving drive technology in intralogistics. The benefits for customers are flexibility and financial security over the entire usage period. Moreover, the new RX 20 electric forklift truck from STILL now has greater range and availability thanks to a new battery concept. STILL was again a winner at this year’s International Intralogistics and Forklift Truck of the Year (IFOY) awards, at which the RX 20 electric forklift truck was honoured in the ‘Counter Balanced Truck’ category for setting new benchmarks in terms of compactness, ergonomics, performance, precision and innovative assistance systems.

Safety and ergonomics

Many product innovations launched in recent months help to improve safety and ergonomics in intralogistics. Linde Safety Guard is a new assistance system that uses acoustic and visual signals as well as vibrations to alert individual pedestrians and drivers in good time if they are approaching one another within warning zones that can be individually configured. It is complemented by the Linde TruckSpot visual warning system. The highly responsive Active Stability Control (ASC) assistance system from Linde and the Active Floor Compensation (AFC) safety and assistance system from STILL make it possible to drive faster yet more safely in high-rack warehouses, even where the floor is uneven. The illumination of working areas has been optimised using VertiLight and LED Stripes, while the new Surround View camera system offers an undistorted view of the entire area surrounding a truck.