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smaRTI—A cyber-physical intelligent container for industry 4.0 manufacturing

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journal contribution
posted on 07.06.2019, 09:16 by Aaron D. Neal, Richard Sharpe, Paul ConwayPaul Conway, Andrew A. West
Cyber-Physical Systems (CPSs) are becoming a significant research focus resulting from advancements in technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud Manufacturing and Intelligent Products. Successful deployment of CPSs has the potential to provide a step change in manufacturing efficiency, flexibility and production yield as envisaged by the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 paradigm. The realisation of intelligent products and services is in the provisioning of predictive, risk preventative and high-performance manufacturing systems. As part of these manufacturing systems, Returnable Transit Items (RTIs) play a critical role in provisioning robust and efficient means of component (e.g. Work in Progress and finished items) protection and logistics. The research outlined in this paper details how a Returnable Transit Item (RTI) can become an integral part of the Industrie 4.0 vision as an intelligent container that can interact with components, machines and other cyber-physical manufacturing services. This paper discusses a CPS reference architecture for the integration of intelligent containers and presents a hardware and software proof of concept solution suitable for industrial deployments. The paper concludes with feasibility studies utilising the intelligent container for context determination services including the identification of intelligent components and monitoring of logistical handling process (i.e. the detection of collisions, lifting and turns).


The EPSRC Grant award No. EP/K014137/1 supported this work financially.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Published in

Journal of Manufacturing Systems




Part A


63 - 75


NEAL, A.D. ... et al., 2019. smaRTI—A cyber-physical intelligent container for industry 4.0 manufacturing. Journal of Manufacturing Systems, 52, Part A, pp. 63 - 75.


© The Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Published by Elsevier Ltd


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Journal of Manufacturing Systems and the definitive published version is available at

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