The nearly 100-kilometer pilot run was completed without a driver on board, making it the first fully autonomous heavy haul train journey ever completed in Australia write MH&L .
At its iron ore operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, Rio Tinto announced on October 2, that it has successfully completed the first fully autonomous rail journey.
The nearly 100-kilometer pilot run was completed without a driver on board, making it the first fully autonomous heavy haul train journey ever completed in Australia.
The journey was completed safely, being closely monitored in real-time by Rio Tinto teams and representatives of the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator, both on the ground and at the Operations Centre in Perth.
“This successful pilot run puts us firmly on track to meet our goal of operating the world’s first fully-autonomous heavy haul, long-distance rail network, which will unlock significant safety and productivity benefits for the business,” explained Rio Tinto Iron Ore CEO Chris Salisbury.
The company is working towards commission AutoHaul project in late 2018. The AutoHaul project is focused on automating the trains that are essential to transporting the iron ore to Rio Tinto's port facilities.
Trains started running in autonomous mode in the first quarter of 2017. Currently about 50% of pooled fleet rail kilometers are completed in autonomous mode (with drivers on-board) and 90% of pooled fleet production tonnes are AutoHaul enhanced.
Rio Tinto operates about 200 locomotives on more than 1,700 kilometers of track in the Pilbara, transporting ore from 16 mines to four port terminals.
Ceva Logistics is celebrating two anniversaries in Australia this month, marking ten years of operations as Ceva Logistics, and the first anniversary of its new Australasian headquarters in Truganina, Victoria.
Ceva was born in Australia from the merger of Australian transport company, Thomas Nationwide Transport (TNT), and Eagle Global Logistics in August 2007.
Ceva is celebrating the milestone achievements with customers and staff across the country, starting with a staff event at Truganina hosted by Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand, Carlos Velez Rodriguez.
“We are delighted to be able to celebrate two landmark achievements at the same time with our colleagues and customers,” said Velez Rodriguez.
“I’d particularly like to pay tribute to our staff, be they working at this site or others in the Australia & New Zealand cluster, for their dedication and hard work in making this company the success it is today. A number of them have been with us for many more than the ten years we are marking today and we salute them all.”
DB Schenker Australia has announced the opening of its new logistics facility in Hoxton, New South Wales – 42km east of Sydney. The company notes that the internal site covers an area the size of almost eight football fields, making it one of the largest multi-client contract logistics facilities in the Southern Hemisphere.
The additional of the Hoxton site, with its 50,000m2 internal area and 15,000m2 external under-cover area, brings DB Schenkers Australia’s nationwide coverage to 330,000m2 over 25 sites.
Hoxton Park is a multi-client facility for consumer electronics, FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) and fashion/retail customers. It is located close to major highways, including the M7, M4 and M5, and has access to the Sydney metro and national network.
“Hoxton Park is the newest and largest contract logistics facility for DB Schenker in Australia,” said Ron Koehler, CEO Australia and New Zealand. “Our staff will provide for our customers first-class logistics services in this well-positioned facility right on the Sydney freeway network.”
He added that the company will also utilise the facility as a hub for domestic transport network, and to move full container load movements cost effectively to Hoxton Park for distribution to Sydney customers.
The facility will incorporate Automated Transport Sortation Systems (ATSS) that will allow for the consolidation of freight from several customers into the Schenker domestic transport business. In addition, value added services will be provided on site, including an Advanced Technical Centre providing configuration and testing for IT devices.
“DB Schenker Australia is consolidating existing business into Hoxton Park as well as adding new substantial business,” said Michael Harich, Director – Contract Logistics/Supply Chain Management AU/NZ, DB Schenker Australia. “Hoxton Park is a key part of our 2020 strategy to grow to 500,000m2 in Australia and at the same time combine existing smaller sites into larger facilities to generate synergies.”
Key features of the TAPA-certified facility include high clearance warehousing and access for high performance vehicles (two 40′ containers or four 20′ containers on one truck), full drive-around access and a weighbridge to support Chain of Responsibility (CoR) commitments
Results show that while 30% of 3PLs and 16% of shippers see blockchain as a potential application, they have yet to engage with the technology says MH&L.
The 2018 22nd Annual Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Study, released on Sept. 26, shows the continuation of two trends: the importance of the relationship between shippers and 3PLs, and the importance of adapting to emerging technologies, including blockchain and automation. The result of these closely-forged relationships is improved services to the end customer.
The study sponsored by Penske Logistics, Infosys, Penn State University and Korn/Ferry, examines the global outsourced marketplace and leading trends for shippers and 3PLs in the logistics industry. The specialized focus in this year's report is blockchain, automation/ digitization, the logistics talent revolution required for shippers and 3PLs to drive technology advancements, as well as how shippers and 3PLs view their risk/resilience relationship.
Blockchain This is the first time that the 3PL study investigates blockchain. Results show that while 30% of 3PLs and 16% of shippers see blockchain as a potential application, they have yet to engage with the technology. The study describes anticipated benefits including improved supply chain visibility and potential challenges that participants will face in implementing blockchain.
"Blockchain has the potential to make significant improvements in security, transparency and governance, but only in supply chains where there is value in controlling consumer risk, valuable goods or complying with regulations," said Ken Toombs, Global Head of Infosys Consulting. "Shippers and 3PLs will need to work together to drive value from blockchain, using lessons collectively learned from missteps with other emerging technologies like Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)."
Automation/ Digitization in Transportation The study describes some of the exciting potential with on-road automation, such as driverless vehicles. It also describes many ways in which automation is already providing returns across the supply chain through digitalized load matching and warehouse robotics. Competitiveness is a key driver for a majority of 3PLs (62%) and shippers (57%) to invest in automation/ digitization. However, the report also revealed a number of reasons for lack of investment in digitization and automation, including a lack of in-house talent to develop, implement and monitor (12% of 3PLs and 10% of shippers).
Logistics Talent Revolution Technology is reframing the demands on the workforce, particularly within the supply chain where automation, digitization and data collection capabilities are growing rapidly. Supply chain leaders and logistics executives play even more critical roles as companies work to build more efficient and technologically advanced supply chains.
"It's no surprise that technology continues to unlock unforeseen value across the global supply chain in a variety of ways," said Neil Collins, regional managing partner for Korn Ferry's North American Industrial Markets. "To leverage the potential upside, organizations must now rethink their talent strategy from top to bottom. The supply chain/logistics leader must now be agile, a strategist, a visionary and a collaborator. The entire supply chain organization must now compete with technology, and the winners will be those that elevate their people using technology, rather than replacing them with it."
Risk/Resilience in Shipper-3PL Relationships Through all the technological advances, the opportunity to improve upon the risk/ resilience relationship between 3PLs and shippers continues: 79% of 3PLs and 64% of shippers report they have been involved in projects in which the ability to execute quickly was directly impacted by lack of complete, accurate and consistent information provided by the shipper.
The study shows a large increase in the percentage of shippers seeking information technology (IT) services from 3PLs, with 27% indicating outsourcing of IT services in the 2018 study compared to 17% in the previous year. However, the percentage of shippers indicating satisfaction dropped slightly this year from 65% to 56%, potentially due to higher expectations among shippers as technology has improved or because shippers are seeking enhanced analytical capabilities to help drive more effective supply chain decisions.
Rangiora-based Vaico is the latest Canterbury firm to come up with new seismic technology.
Co-director Ashton How and his brothers set up the business 10 years ago dealing in above-ceiling installations.
After the earthquakes they turned their full focus to seismic bracing of storage racks holding pallets of goods.
Ashton How, of Rangiora-based Vaico, which makes bracing systems for racking systems in warehouses.
Safety in distribution warehouses and supermarkets become a major issue in 2011 when Canterbury experienced 14,000 earthquakes, approximately.
Like many of the best inventions, the solutions appeared self evident in hindsight - a bar that falls down when shaking starts to prevent pallets moving.
When shaking starts, the Vaico seismic restraint bar falls down to stop pallets in the rack from moving.
"We had many rejected prototypes but we got there in the end. The big thing was to make a device that didn't interfere with normal work and the ability to access goods."
The patented restraint device can be retrofitted on any existing facility without changing the racking configuration.
How said insurers were keen on the restraining systems which could potentially save money as well as improving safety for warehouse workers and forklift drivers - a typical pellet could weigh between 800 kilograms and 1 tonne.
A pellet could contain hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of liquor.
And the safety issue was more imperative in the case of storing pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, How said.
Challenges along the way included finding the right type of steel, which Vaico gets tested by a Christchurch engineer.
"We could licence the manufacturing out but we have to be able to guarantee the quality of the steel and that becomes difficult when you involve third parties.
"We use New Zealand manufactured steel which probably costs almost twice as much as steel imported from China.
"But when we looked at some from China the strengths were laughable and you wonder why they would even make it."
The company, which employs 30 people, has geared up to cater for the lift in business by commissioning a second factory at Rangiora, and setting up an office in Auckland.
Vaico has a distribution and installation agreement with a company called Dexion which has examples of the racking system on its web site.
The company also has a partnership with US market leader International Seismic Application Technologies.
"They are very interested in it and we'll use that relationship to take it to the North American market," How said.
Sydney-based logistics software provider WiseTech Global has acquired Digerati, a provider of tariff research and compliance tools utilised by the Australasian customs broking community.
Digerati provides its compliance solutions to over 140 corporations including DHL, Expeditors, FedEx, Panalpina, Schenker, UPS, Yusen and many major brokerage and logistics houses in Australia and New Zealand.
“Border compliance is a complex, high-risk process with growing transaction volumes, speed and complexity exponentially increasing risk and potential penalties,” said Richard White, CEO, WiseTech Global.
“We envision a future of deeply capable, integrated and guided transaction processing that will reduce risks for customs brokers, importers and exporters by significantly reducing compliance breaches, fines and penalties and create a safer global trade environment.
“WiseTech Global has been investing research and development resources into machine learning, natural language processing, robotic process automation and decision support, all of which must be driven by large volume transaction data and deep learning around vast border agency data sets, compliance, due diligence and risk assessment and mitigation.
“We will be utilising the Digerati data set and customer experiences in our development pipeline for the next generation of border compliance, aimed at substantially increasing timely, accurate and complete customs entries for our customers, to better manage the exponential increase in transactions at the border.
“With the advent of global border initiatives such as Trade Single Window, Trusted Trader, Known Shipper, C-TPAT, AEO and Supply Chain Security and an ever-increasing critical need to secure borders and ensure that international trade is both safe and efficient, the work we are doing is vital to the next generation of cross-border compliance.”
Dr Pandey, Managing Director, OzDocs, added, “With the Digerati data set as part of WiseTech’s deep development capability, the compliance tools available to customers to reduce errors, improve compliance and better address risk at the border will clearly expand over time.”
Dematic has launched a new product in its ColbyRACK range that increases safety for forklift operators removing pallets from high storage levels in warehouses and distribution centres.
The new Retrofit Pallet Guide was designed by Dematic’s structural engineering specialists after calls from its customers, including a major retailer and 3PL, for a tool that would minimise incidents where pallets and cartons fall from heights.
The product is primarily intended for retrofitting pallet guides to single deep selective racking. While the use of pallet guides is common in double deep racking, they have rarely been used in single deep racking. However, their potential safety benefits are starting to be recognised, because pallet guides provide a visual cue that encourages forklift operators to slow down and align pallets more accurately.
The new Colby Retrofit Pallet Guide can be installed onto existing selective racking beams, avoiding the expense and inconvenience of changing over to new, cleated beams. The pallet guides are also a simple option for storing European pallets on Australian racking, and can be relocated within a warehouse as storage needs change.
“Worker safety is becoming more important for Australian businesses, particularly those that operate busy facilities with pickers and forklifts in close proximity,” said Dr Paul Berry, senior structural engineer at Dematic.
Automation is rapidly becoming less an option and more a necessity when it comes to machine tools, and just like machine tools, automated handling systems are continually being updated and improved.
Most recently, Makino announced the availability of a new design configuration for its Modular Machining Complex (MMC2) automated pallet-handling system, making it compatible with the company’s a61nx-5E 5-axis horizontal machining center.
The updated MMC2 retains the same modular design and capabilities of its predecessors, but with a new pallet-transfer interface on the system’s rail-guided vehicle (RGV). As a result, manufacturers are able to achieve spindle utilization rates upwards of 95 percent on a61nx-5E machines, according to Makino.
“Based on feedback from current a61nx-5E owners, we’d come to realize that the machine’s productive capabilities were so high that most operators were struggling to keep their machines fed with raw materials,” said David Ward, product marketing manager at Makino. “By providing this optional pallet interface on the MMC2, we’re able to help manufacturers keep up with the productivity rates of the a61nx-5E to get the most value out of their investments.”
The MMC2 can integrate up to 15 machining centers and four work-setting stations into a single system. Each system can hold up to 200 pallet stockers—stacked either one, two or three layers high—with a variety of parts and fixtures.
The system’s RGV is supported by a floor rail and upper-guide rail for enhanced stability and high-speed movement. The system’s work-setting stations provide access for operators to load and unload parts either by hand or crane.
The MMC2 can also be equipped with optional workpiece washing guns.
The pallet-handling system enables the a61nx-5E to receive a continual flow of parts and can run unattended for extended periods, including over nights and weekends.
The updated MMC2 retains the same Microsoft Windows-based MAS-A5 control software. The MAS-A5 main PC hard drive stores and manages all NC programs, including those that exceed CNC memory.
Tool data, both in and out of the a61nx-5E machines, can be accessed and modified from the MAS-A5 user interface. A variety of file formats for tooling and part information are supported and can be displayed to assist with part loading/unloading and tool-setting operations.
The Tool-Life Predict function enables the MAS-A5 to gather tool-life data per NC program. When a request is opened, this function informs the operator of how long a tool will be used in each NC program execution, as well as how many spare tools per machine are required to finish any work that is currently loaded or awaiting processing at the time that the request was placed. The MAS-A5 then schedules work only for the machines that meet tool-life and availability requirements for the desired process sequence.
Interfacing with a tool presetter can also reduce errors by automatically capturing tool-offset data, which can be transferred from the presetter to the MAS-A5 system control.
Standard control features include in-cell production scheduling, equipment status monitoring, NC program management and on-board reporting. These capabilities enable the MMC2 to assign work and initiate operations automatically, based on machine and material availability, using maximum spindle capabilities and monitoring all automated procedures.
Simpro Handling Equipment Ltd, a New Zealand manufacturer of specialised materials handling equipment, is pleased to announce the acquisition of a new head office and manufacturing facility at 66 Rangi Road, Takanini, South Auckland.
Managing Director Stephen Simmons founded Simpro in Auckland in 1986, manufacturing truck-mounted equipment for the waste industry. “This is an exciting step for us” says Stephen. “We’ve been looking for a chance to consolidate for some time, since we’re currently spread over several locations, with various issues, low stud height and so on. The Takanini facility is a big step up in size, with a clearspan structure, eight-metre stud height and a five-tonne gantry covering the entire facility” he adds. “We’ll be able to make real improvements to our manufacturing processes.” An important consideration was the five-tonne gantry crane, which provides coverage to the entire facility An important consideration was the five-tonne gantry crane, which provides coverage to the entire facility.
The Takanini facility is a big step up in size, with a clearspan structure, eight-metre stud height and a five-tonne gantry covering the entire facility. We’ll be able to make real improvements to our manufacturing processes. Stephen Simmons - Managing Director
The large open-plan office is another key feature, as the company has recently centralised sales, customer support, design and administration roles in Auckland. “We moved into [our current premises at] 52 Church Street sixteen years ago” explains Stephen. “We have simply outgrown it, and it will be a real boost for our team to have a modern, open, single-level office space.”
Stephen notes that, while the central Auckland suburb of Onehunga was once a premier location for Kiwi manufacturing firms thanks to its cluster of suppliers and transport links, the industrial landscape is changing. “Location is not so important anymore, with the huge improvements to the motorway network and new commercial areas developing in the outskirts. Ten years ago, we would not have relocated to Takanini, but it’s really not a problem anymore.”
The need for a new facility was largely driven by the Simpro’s expanding export business, which now generates over 80% of turnover. “We’re expanding in the UK, US and Europe, on top of our traditional market in Australasia” explains Stephen. “New Zealand manufacturers are typically innovative, but lack economies of scale. With this exciting move, we are working to achieve both.” About Simpro Handling Equipment Ltd
Simpro Handling Equipment is a market leader in specialised materials handling equipment, including bin tippers, pallet stackers and goods lifts. Founded in Auckland in 1986, the company soon built a reputation for innovation, safety and reliability – delivering unique products which have improved productivity for thousands of workplaces around the world. Today around 80% of production is destined for export.
Simpro's range of materials handling products is complemented by a custom design service for specialised industrial lifting solutions. The company operates a sophisticated CAD design environment, and most manufacturing is conducted at various facilities in Auckland, New Zealand.
Simpro is a family-owned company. More information is available on the company website simpro.world.
A Simpro release | Friday, 9 December 2016 | Daniel Currie |