Research and development

Total spending on research and development, including capitalized development costs, went up by 1.1 percent year on year to reach €171.1 million (Q1–Q3 2019: €169.2 million), which equates to 2.9 percent of revenue (Q1–Q3 2019: 2.6 percent). R&D costs totaling €113.4 million were expensed in the income statement (Q1–Q3 2019: €110.9 million). There were also amortization charges of €72.6 million (Q1–Q3 2019: €61.7 million), which are reported under cost of sales.

Research and development (R&D)

in € million




Q1 – Q3

Q1 – Q3


Research and development costs (P&L)







Capitalized development costs







Total R&D spending







R&D spending as percentage of revenue





Focus of R&D in the first nine months of 2020

The fundamental strategic direction of research and development, as defined in the KION 2027 strategy, did not change in the period under review. The focus continues to be on providing long-term support for the KION Group’s position as a leading global 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 a cross-segment software platform.


The development and refinement of energy-efficient drive solutions was one area of focus, as had been the case in prior periods.

In July, STILL’s RX 60-25/35 truck won an IFOY award (International Intralogistics and Forklift Truck of the Year) in the ‘counter balanced truck up to 3.5 t’ category. This electric forklift truck matches the performance of a truck powered by an internal combustion (IC) engine, underlining the trend for electric drives. It was praised not only for its high level of productivity, quietness, and flexibility but also for the low operating costs and low maintenance costs of the electric drive. Linde Material Handling launched a new H20-35 series of IC trucks in the first quarter, with further electric forklift truck models to follow.

It also unveiled the Linde E10, a versatile stand-on truck for transport tasks. The truck can optionally be fitted with a lithium-ion battery.

The EXH-S 20/25 and EXD-S 20 pallet trucks brought to market by STILL in September, which feature a fixed stand-on platform, can be optionally fitted with a maintenance-free lithium-ion battery that can be topped up at smaller, conveniently located charging stations when the driver takes a short break. The trucks can also be fitted with a built-in charger if required, enabling them to be plugged into a normal electric power socket. This follows on from the introduction of the new models of the compact OXV vertical order picker from STILL and new tow tractor models from Linde, which are all available with both battery types.


The KION Group significantly expanded Dematic’s intralogistics software offering in the first quarter by acquiring Digital Applications International Limited (DAI), a UK software company specializing in logistics automation solutions. DAI’s core product is a warehouse management system (WMS) that expands the capacity of Dematic iQ automation solutions.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Linde introduced two products in July – the Linde Secure Distance Vest and the Distance Beeper – that offer increased protection against infection, for example on assembly lines and in warehouses. The vest and beeper give acoustic, visual, and haptic warnings when their wearers do not maintain the minimum distance.

Making greater use of artificial intelligence for products and software solutions is a further long-term focus of the KION Group’s research and development in the area of digitalization.


Dematic’s accumulation conveyor offers an efficient way of improving the capabilities of an existing sorting or conveyor system. It is easy to integrate and optimizes the flow of boxes/containers, ensures greater load density and throughput capacity, and reduces the risk of recirculation or stoppages during operation.

The new version of Dematic’s order fulfillment solution is geared specifically to the requirements of the protein industry supply chain. It can be used to automate picking, distribution, and shipping and enables both chilled and frozen protein products (fish, poultry, and meat) to be handled by one system. It is based on an automated Dematic Multishuttle system that stores, buffers, and sorts the products and sequences them for order picking and packing.

Dematic’s new DMS2E Multishuttle comes with IoT sensors as standard and offers increased availability and optimized performance, particularly in conjunction with the patented inter-aisle transfer technology.

Dematic has also optimized the automation of pallet storage. Dematic Standardized Automated Pallet Storage is a modular system of proven components that can be configured to meet specific customer requirements. Since the individual components are standardized, the system can be installed and put into operation in a very short time.