The Material Flow Control System (MFCS) or the Material Flow Computer (MFC) is very often described as an order management system that is directly assigned to materials handling equipment. However, this blanket definition of material flow control no longer does justice to the actual task, if a distribution center has a grown, heterogeneous structure of materials handling equipment that must be precisely coordinated in order to achieve an optimal operating result.

Material flow control has a central function in the world of IT systems in distribution centers – it must guarantee the maximum throughput of the facility at all times, despite a large number of different devices and expansion stages. It must be predictable and stable in its behavior and yet it must be possible to adapt to new strategies, expanded facilities and new ideas at any time during runtime.

Die moderne Materialflusssteuerung

The primary task of material flow control is to perfectly coordinate transport tasks and transport orders of the connected systems. The available conveyors must be assigned transport jobs and utilized as much as possible – without blocking the facility. The operating status of the facility and the occupancy status of routes, points and transport resources must be taken into account at all times.

In particular, the load situation of all conveyor areas must be taken into account during transport coordination. For example, the frequently encountered constellation of a forklift traffic area with a pallet conveyor system and an automatic high-bay warehouse must be controlled jointly.

For more information on material flow, see “the functions of material flow”.

Image Source: Dr. Thomas + Partner