A research group from the Department of Optimization at the Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing SCAI won the 25,000 Euro innovation prize for Climate and Environment (IKU) in the "Environmentally friendly products and services" category. The award is donated by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the Federation of German Industries (BDI). The award was handed to the researchers in a ceremony on March 15 in Berlin.
Worldwide, over 7,000 companies use the optimization solutions provided by Fraunhofer SCAI. The best known applications are AutoNester (automatic placement of pieces onto textiles, leather, metal sheets and wood) and PackAssistant (optimizing packing configurations of identical parts into containers). The potential savings are enormous: "When cutting metal, wood or leather skins our software saves up to 30 percent of material, depending on the industry," says Dr. Ralf Heckmann, Director of the Department of Optimization at Fraunhofer SCAI. The packing optimization also offers great savings potential, as Heckmann explains, "In the automotive industry, up to 25 percent more components are packed into a container. With such an improvement one out of every five trucks for transportation can be saved."