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Container Packing – With a Twist

The Opturion Container Packing Optimiser automates the process of packing items in containers. The input data includes the items to be filled and the containers available.

Items are either cylindrical or cuboid and can be defined so that the system knows how the item may be rotated in space. The items can also be “heavy”, that is it cannot be placed on top of other items, or “fragile”, that is it cannot have other items placed on top of it. Items can also be associated with a profit where the system will seek to find the packing, which maximises the total profit.

Containers are defined by their dimensions and can also be allocated a maximum volume and weight to be packed. There is also the option to optimise container balancing.

Unlike other container packing algorithms, this algorithm does not approximate cylinders as cuboids. The algorithm allows for packing plans that utilise the natural stacking configuration of cylindrical packages, resulting in more stable heaps and greater space utilisation.

The web application provides tools to visualise the optimised packing and simulate the container unpacking. The packing can be visualised with items represented as solids, wireframes or by showing the empty space.

Considering the cost to ship a single 20ft container from Melbourne to London is approximately $5,000, an optimal packing plan that reduces the required number of containers may lead to substantial savings. Additionally, each plan produced by the optimisation will comply with all the constraints in the input.

There is the additional ability for the optimiser to be enhanced with additional constraints to suit further use cases.



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