Research and development

Total spending on research and development went up by 4.4 per cent year on year to reach €112.6 million (H1 2018: €107.8 million), which equates to 2.6 per cent of revenue (H1 2018: 2.8 per cent). Within this total, research and development costs of €74.5 million (H1 2018: €69.3 million) were expensed, including a sum of €40.2 million for amortisation of capitalised development costs (H1 2018: €37.4 million). Additional development costs of €38.1 million (H1 2018: €38.6 million) were capitalised during the reporting period. > TABLE 15

Research and development (R&D)


in € million

Q2 2019

Q2 2018


Q1 – Q2 2019

Q1 – Q2 2018


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 2019

Under the KION 2027 strategy, research and development is still set up so as to provide the best possible support for the long-term success of the KION Group as the world’s second-largest manufacturer of industrial trucks and the leading provider by revenue of automation technology. This was reflected in the areas of focus during the reporting period.


Energy-efficient drive concepts were one area of focus, as they were in 2018 as well. The availability of lithium-ion technology was improved again in the first six months of the year. Virtually all new products can, at the customer’s request, be fitted with the new battery concept. This includes the new generation of the Linde N20 C low-lift order picker, which makes order picking in the 1.2 to 2.5 tonne capacity range more cost effective, and STILL’s new electronic pallet trucks, which have extended the load capacity covered by the product range to up to 2.5 tonnes.

The proportion of industrial trucks equipped with lithium-ion technology rose again, in part because of significant new orders, including one for Linde to supply a fleet of energy-efficient pallet stackers. Having a safe and quality-assured complete system comprising the truck, battery and charger is a major plus point. Decentralised chargers enable the batteries to be topped up regularly, which eliminates the need for battery changes.


iQ Virtual is a new simulation and emulation platform from Dematic that provides a virtual environment to explore new configurations of existing systems. It can be directly integrated with the warehouse execution software Dematic iQ Optimize to test in advance how efficiently a particular system would run under different operating conditions and in different scenarios. The virtual emulation model uses graphical rendering technology to provide an accurate portrayal of labour productivity and the automated flow of materials, thus making a significant contribution to warehousing efficiency with the aid of integrated software control. Making greater use of artificial intelligence for products and software solutions is a further long-term focus in the field of digitalisation.

In addition, Linde presented a service manager app that allows service jobs to be created using a smartphone.


PackMyRide, the world’s first fully automated parcel-loading solution, is revolutionising how parcels are handled prior to the ‘last mile’ stage of delivery. The subsystem collects the parcels from the existing intralogistics system and transports them into mobile racking units that communicate with automated guided vehicle systems. This fully automates the process of loading delivery vehicles, which means huge time and cost savings for parcel delivery services and customers from other industries. A PackMyRide pilot subsystem is currently being tested in partnership with parcel delivery service DPD.

Efficiency gains are also being achieved with the new subsystem for returns management, which runs on Dematic iQ software: it accelerates all processing steps from inspection to repackaging and allows omnichannel retailers and online retailers to significantly increase the number of returns they handle each day and thus raise customer satisfaction and productivity. Pouch sorters, originally a concept from the fashion industry, are increasingly being used in the distribution centres of online retailers. Dematic has developed a durable, cost-effective and fully automated mechanism for opening the bottom of the pouches that offers a unique selling proposition with substantial benefits for the customer.

The KION Group, through various committees and research projects, is also exploring future customer needs in connection with the new 5G communications standard. Going forward, this will allow the step towards fully automated Industry 4.0 systems, including robotics applications, to be taken without intermediate stages and with improved integration of data.