The Toughbook that’s a handheld, for logistics users

Panasonic has launched its next-generation Toughbook FZ-T1, a handheld device, a slimline, rugged model designed for mobile workers seeking an all-in-one device.
Panasonic says the 5” Android device “brings together the best of handheld and smartphone functionality into a single design, to suit the mobile needs of industries such as retail and hospitality, emergency services, manufacturing, and transport and logistics.”
Product marketing manager for Toughbook at Panasonic Australia Clare Hose said: “The Toughbook FZ-T1 is an important addition to our rugged handheld portfolio. Our customers are seeking a practical, rugged solution with a sleeker finish, which can still withstand difficult conditions – and that is exactly what we have delivered.
“As Panasonic has done for 100 years as a company and for more than two decades with our Toughbook range, we evolve and innovate to meet the changing needs of our users.
“The business need for rugged devices is evolving from the traditional environmental concerns of withstanding drops and water and dust protection, to features such as the type of viewing screen, battery life and power management, data security and communication capabilities.”
More customers are recognising that a rugged device is not the same as a regular handheld device. Consumer devices have components that are not designed to withstand continuous use in difficult conditions, and are liable to break down from shock, dust, moisture, heat and cold.
According to Panasonic, research shows that for standard handheld devices, the average cost of downtime per incident (including lost productivity, breakages and IT support to fix products or replace data) is upwards of AUD $3,000.
With its voice and data capabilities, integrated barcode scanner and wide-range of functionality and accessories, the Toughbook FZ-T1’s balance of mobility and durability is designed to improve workforce productivity and the ease and efficiency of business operations across Australia.
Panasonic also plans to release the Toughbook FZ-L1, a lightweight, rugged Android tablet designed for edge computing and customer-facing mobile workers. The 7” display model is available with voice and data capability for both inside and field-based workers.

Toyota forklifts go on a hydrogen charge

Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) has put the first Toyota hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklifts outside of Japan into action during trials at Toyota Motor Corporation Australia’s parts centre located at its former manufacturing plant at Altona, Victoria.
The zero CO2-emission Toyota hydrogen fuel cell (FC) forklift demonstration is an extension of Toyota’s simultaneous trial for its Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV), which share the same hydrogen-powered technology.
The Toyota hydrogen FC forklifts with a nominal rating of 2,500kg lift capacity will also be featuring in the official opening of the new Toyota Parts Centre in Western Sydney’s Kemps Creek.
Toyota hydrogen FC vehicles take pressurised hydrogen that is fed into a fuel cell stack, where it is combined with oxygen to create a chemical reaction that produces electricity to drive various motors depending on demand for motive power or hydraulic power for steering, braking or lifting loads.
Toyota hydrogen fuel cell forklifts will be especially suitable for logistics and warehouse operations given they can be conveniently refuelled in just a few minutes, offering obvious productivity efficiencies.
Toyota Material Handling Australia general manager – corporate compliance and project development Bob Walmsley said the hydrogen FC forklifts take around three minutes to fill the hydrogen tank, compared with around eight hours to recharge a conventional battery. “This means we can use these forklifts more often, without having to significantly wait between charges or use second-shift batteries to achieve the same utilisation,” said Mr Walmsley.
TMHA president and CEO Steve Takacs said the Toyota hydrogen FC forklifts are another example of the synergies available to Toyota Material Handling Australia from Toyota’s automotive arm.
“In much the same way Toyota’s range of forklift products are researched and developed using Toyota’s advanced manufacturing technologies – and built to the same exacting standards of quality, durability and reliability as Toyota’s automotive vehicles – our engineers collaborate across the Toyota Group to incorporate the latest technologies acquired from our automotive sector,” said Mr Takacs.
“We at TMHA are committed to constantly developing new and better technologies that raise the bar in terms of safety, performance, efficiency and sustainability, which will ultimately benefit our customers.

“These hydrogen FC forklifts are a clear demonstration of our commitment to the environment through the adoption of new and sustainable technologies. They have excellent environmental credentials as they do not emit CO2 or substances of concern (SOC) during operation.
The hydrogen FC forklifts will also be trialled at Toyota’s newest and largest Parts Centre warehouse at Kemps Creek, New South Wales.
The Toyota hydrogen FC forklifts and Mirai are not for sale in Australia, mainly due to a lack of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. Toyota’s mobile hydrogen fuelling station installed on a Hino 700 Series truck fuelled the FC forklifts and Mirai during the trials.

 

Aust Post prepares for record Christmas with 3,000 extras

Australia Post is gearing up for its biggest Christmas ever, aiming to recruit a record number of additional workers – expected to be close to 3,000 – for peak season operations and launching weekend deliveries in metropolitan areas from this Saturday.
With total online purchases topping over $21 billion for the first time ever this year, Australia Post says the online shopping boom is continuing with unprecedented peak period and Christmas parcel volumes – with on average one million parcels to be delivered every day.
Australia Post Group chief operating officer Bob Black said it will be all hands on deck to make this Christmas a success.
“This recruitment drive is the biggest of its kind in our history and we’re on track to hire 2,000 Christmas casuals before December. This will put us in a good position for a record-breaking Christmas ahead,” Mr Black said.
“We are also recruiting 800 new fixed-term roles including truck and van drivers, and additional people to serve customers in our Post Offices and contact centres.”
Last year Australia Post delivered 37 million parcels in December and Mr Black said parcel processing facilities have been upgraded across the country in preparation for the Christmas rush.
“We are investing $300 million into new parcel processing technology and machinery across Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, enabling us to process an additional 35,000 parcels and Express Post items an hour.
“We want to give our customers more delivery choices, on all their online purchases ahead of Christmas. From this Saturday we will start delivering on weekends in metro areas, right up to Christmas, and Post Offices will soon begin extended trading.
“Improvements in parcel tracking and our suite of delivery choices, including parcel redirections and our free 24/7 parcel lockers provide customers convenience around the clock.
“Our people work really hard all year round, and take special pride in being able to offer our customers flexibility and peace of mind knowing all their Christmas purchases will arrive safely and on-time.”
The jobs are being advertised here.

what3words enters the mainstream logistics chain

DB Schenker is integrating what3words location technology into the eSchenker portal, with the aim of improving operational efficiencies by allowing deliveries to be made to any precise three by three meter squares.
what3words has divided the world into this squares, each with a unique address made from three dictionary words – a 3-word-address.
///smiling.always.seating, for example, refers to the exact three meter square of the front door to the DB Schenker Head Office in Essen.
The what3words integration will enable more than 110,000 DB Schenker clients, who make over 500,000 bookings a month, to optimize their supply chains by specifying pick-up and drop-off points using a 3-word-address.
CIO/CDO of DB Schenker Markus Sontheimer said: “Our cooperation with what3words is a new service of DB Schenkers’ ‘connect strategy’ towards a fully digital eco-system. Especially with regard to trade shows or exhibitions, it provides our drivers with exact delivery points and thus allows us to serve our customers even faster and better.”
CCO of what3words Clare Jones said: “In a recent study conducted in Germany, we found that 73% deliveries struggle to find a home or business address. And, in more than a quarter of cases, delivery drivers have to seek additional information in order to locate an exact drop-off point. what3words solves this problem for both sides – improving efficiencies and improving customer service.”
Logistics companies around the world face a global challenge: imprecise addressing. Large sites such as factories, warehouses or events spaces often have several access points, making specific drop-off locations or delivery entrances extremely hard to identify and navigate to. The DB eSchenker portal is paving the way in the logistics industry. By adopting new technologies such as what3words, shipments are likely to get to their destination securely and on time, maintaining the highest standard of customer service possible.
Deutsche Bahn invested in what3words in 2016, with the two companies working together on the future of logistics and transport.
 
 

LNP plans high-speed rail for Victoria – maybe

The Liberal Nationals plan to revolutionise Victoria’s passenger rail network by delivering European-style high-speed rail right across Victoria, but the details are a little sketchy at this stage.
“Melbourne’s population squeeze is putting enormous stress on our roads, public transport, schools and hospitals and that impacts everyone’s quality of life,” LNP opposition leader Matthew Guy said.
“Unplanned, unmanaged population growth is killing Melbourne’s liveability.”
Bringing Victoria’s cities closer together with European-style high-speed rail is the cornerstone of the Liberal Nationals’ plan to ease the population squeeze by decentralising jobs and the population.
European-style high-speed rail to regional cities would also give Victorians more options for affordable housing, more lifestyle choices and more employment opportunities.
Reaching speeds of up to 200 kilometres per hour, Victoria’s new high-speed rail network is claimed to be the fastest in Australia.
The High-Speed Rail Project would see the rebuilding of much of Victoria’s current Class 1 track to 200 kilometres per hour operation as well as major track improvements on every other passenger rail line.
High-speed rail would almost halve travel times between Melbourne and Geelong and between Melbourne and Traralgon and, within the first term of a Liberal Nationals Government, travel times between Geelong and Melbourne would be slashed to just 32 minutes, an improvement of 26 minutes on the current timetable, the LNP press release says.
This $15 billion to $19 billion super-infrastructure project would be planned and built in three stages over the next ten years.
Detail a bit sketchy, says Labor
The Victorian Labor Government, however, pointed out uncertainties in the opposition leader’s on-radio explanation of the plan, where he was unable to quantify the expenses involved.
ON COST
MITCHELL: How much does it cost for a kilometre of that track?
GUY: It’s about a million dollars a kilometre if you’re taking out signalling and a range of others.
MITCHELL: For the fast track? It’s a million dollars a kilometre?
GUY: Mmm, there’s more to it, much more to it than that – that’s just talking about your ballast, and uh.. stone, and sleepers, and rail but there’s more to it than that.
MITCHELL: So all up, what’s it cost for the 200km track?
GUY: Well… at the moment you’ve got to upgrade your class one track, it’s a bit more technical than just saying what’s the cost from here to there… You’ve actually got a whole bunch of variables as to where you’re building and what kind of ballast you’re going to use and if you’re going over certain kind of soils and clays and the rest.
ON TICKET COST
MITCHELL: How much will tickets cost? How much will they go up?
GUY: Ha ha ha, I haven’t thought that far ahead!
ON LAND ACQUISITION
MITCHELL: Will you need to acquire land?
GUY: No, you’re using existing reservation.
[NB. The existing rail corridor has curves, angles, and grades not capable of running 200km/h trains.]
ON GEELONG RAIL BY 2022 AND INTERACTION WITH AIRPORT RAIL (NOT OPERATIONAL UNTIL AT LEAST 2027)
MITCHELL: How do you get the Geelong train there faster – you’d reduce the number of stops?
GUY: Well, you can put on an express service which doesn’t stop to complement your existing services, that’s the first instance, the second instance is obviously using the new Airport Rail Lines from Sunshine-in and then adding extra tracks to Wyndham Vale, and that would then give you express lines out.
MITCHELL: Will this affect the Air Rail Link – the link to the Airport?
GUY: No! Quite the contrary, it would complement it. And we would use some of those tracks. Actually I’ve been watching this with great interest I think those express tracks from Sunshine are part of this solution.
ON GIPPSLAND
CHAVASTEK: Where will the tunnels be on the Gippsland line?
GUY: I’m not going to pre-empt that.
CHAVASTEK: Surely you know.
GUY: This is about six hours old, give me a chance, Nicole.

Government, privacy and automated trucks

Addressing the privacy challenges of government access to information generated by automated vehicles and specific transport network technology is the subject of a discussion paper released by the National Transport Commission (NTC).
“Cooperative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS) and automated vehicle technology are producing new data and information. We need to examine whether Australia’s current privacy and information access framework sufficiently covers this new data,” said NTC’s acting chief executive Dr Geoff Allan.
He said the technology included in these new systems might generate in-cabin image data, location and route data, and data from biometric or health sensors.
“Governments will need to access automated vehicle and C-ITS information for purposes including the safety regulation of automated vehicles, optimising road networks and enforcing road laws,” Dr Allan said. “However, government access to the type, breadth and depth of personal or sensitive information generated by C-ITS and automated vehicle technology presents a privacy challenge. We currently have different protections in place in different states and territories. We need to have an appropriate framework in place to protect Australians’ privacy.”
The NTC’s discussion paper identifies three categories of new privacy challenges, and outlines options to address these as they relate to automated vehicle and C-ITS technology. The paper’s scope is based on previous recommendations agreed by transport ministers. The paper does not examine private sector access to data.
Academics from the University of NSW have completed an independent legal research report to examine the application of Australia’s existing information access framework to inform the discussion paper.
The NTC invites submissions from information and privacy commissions, state and territory transport agencies, enforcement and justice agencies, industry, academics and individuals.
Submissions can be made online via the NTC’s website at ntc.gov.au/submissions. Submissions close on 22 November 2018, with recommendations due to Australian transport ministers in May 2019.
 

NSW freight plan launched

A new plan that “will deliver safer, faster, more efficient and sustainable freight movement to boost a growing NSW economy” has been launched b y the NSW Government.
The NSW Freight and Ports Plan 2018-2023 is said to guide more than $5 billion to be invested across the sector to support the growing freight task while managing growth and congestion across road and rail.
Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said more than three million households and businesses across the state tap in to the freight network every day, relying on the timely and efficient movement of good to markets nationally and globally.
“The amount of freight moved through NSW is set to grow by 28 per cent to more than 618 million tonnes by 2036. To support this, the NSW Freight and Ports Plan 2018-2023 provides more than 70 initiatives for increasing capacity on the existing network, including building new infrastructure,” Mrs Pavey said.
“From big businesses to farmers, retailers to consumers – we all rely on our goods getting to us in a safe and efficient manner. For this reason the NSW Government has set firm targets to achieve faster, more efficient and higher capacity networks to remain competitive, support jobs and deliver economic growth across NSW.
“With freight and logistics contributing more than $180 million to the NSW economy every day, an increasing population and consumer preferences changing, the freight network will face increased future demand.
“This, compounded by a desire to have same day delivery for online goods, requires government and industry to have the freight network capable of working at full throttle.
“The NSW Freight and Ports Plan 2018-2023 highlights the government and industry plans for road, rail, air, shipping and pipelines and builds on investment from the 2013 NSW Freight and Ports Strategy,” Mrs Pavey said.
The plan is said to bring together policy makers, producers, operators, regulators and government allowing for more coordinated and better freight planning.
 

‘Humid’ system for crustacean transport launched

Australian firm FloatPac has unveiled an innovative new FishPac air freight system for molluscs and crustaceans, designed to overcome mortality, quality and long-distance travel issues associated with polystyrene boxes.
With very low mortality and exceptional product health of the transported species over longer travel times, the firm’s ‘humid’ system builds on the successes of its FishPac bins, with the addition of a humid, oxygen rich atmosphere.
FloatPac Marine biologist Peter Rankin said the design has exceeded even FishPac’s expectations.
“We began with a plan to deliver crustaceans and molluscs in better quality and with lower mortality than any of the options currently in the market. We had a phenomenal starting point, thanks to our existing FishPac system, but discovered that we could improve even further on labour and freight costs by minimising the volume of water but retaining its atmospheric benefits. And so the ‘humid’ system was developed.
“A continuous supply of oxygen is diffused through a shallow pool of water in the base of the FishPac bin, generating a humid, oxygen rich atmosphere. Animals can be packed in baskets or on shelving above the water, and the positive pressure gradient passes the humid oxygen rich atmosphere upwards through the animals and continuously expels the waste gases from the bin through the lid vents.
“All trials so far indicate optimal survival and species health, while the stackable nature of the bin has huge benefits for freight. The next stage for us is to make the whole system fully recyclable, which will reduce the equipment that needs to be returned at the end of each shipment. Then we really will have the complete solution.”
FloatPac has completed successful trials with Southern rock lobster, Tropical lobster and Blacklip abalone over a 48-hour period with zero mortality. In each case, live seafood shippers contributing to the trials have commented on the excellent quality of the animals at their arrival.
 

Manufacturing, transport are major challenges to be studied

UNSW Sydney has announced new institutes to address humanity’s most pressing challenges, in which the university will invest up to $200m in new and emerging areas.
UNSW Sydney has established four new institutes focused on finding solutions to major scientific and social challenges confronting society through cross-disciplinary research.
The UNSW Futures Institutes are part of the UNSW Futures initiative, a major component of the university’s 2025 Strategy. UNSW Futures provides a framework for facilitating cross-faculty and interdisciplinary work, driving innovative approaches to research, and addressing scientific and social challenges.
As part of the initiative, UNSW will invest up to $200m in new and emerging areas from across faculties. These virtual institutes will receive core funding to support operations, seed-funding for new research projects, and a commitment of funding for Strategic Hires and Retention Program (SHARP) employees.
UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Nicholas Fisk announced the first four futures institutes last week. The first futures institutes are:

  • UNSW Ageing Futures Institute: enabling optimal ageing for individuals and society – led by Professor Kaarin Anstey.
  • UNSW Cellular Genomics Futures Institute: inventing technologies to decode individual cell DNA, chromatin, RNA, and protein outputs that will be used for precise diagnosis and precision treatment of human disease – led by Professor Chris Goodnow.
  • UNSW Digital Grid Futures Institute: future-proofing global energy systems to ensure reliable, secure, affordable, sustainable energy supply – led by Professor Joe Dong.
  • UNSW Materials & Manufacturing Futures Institute: transforming the future of materials and manufacturing research in energy, transport, information technology, and healthcare – initially led by Professor Sean Li pending a definitive appointment.

The university will formally launch the institutes at an event on Wednesday 24 October from 4 – 6pm in John Niland Scientia Building, Leighton Hall. The event will include a brief presentation and panel discussion, followed by an opportunity for networking with futures institute directors and lead investigators.
Professor Fisk said these institutes position UNSW as a big picture visionary university of the future.
“The institutes will enhance UNSW’s focus on innovative interdisciplinary and cross-faculty research that impacts society and policy,” said Professor Fisk. “The institutes build on our existing strengths and will act as a drawcard for international recruitment, government and industry links, while harnessing academic excellence to address humanity’s major challenges.”
A second round of UNSW Futures Institutes applications will open in late 2019.
 

Toll opens automated DC

The Toll Group has opened a new distribution centre (DC). The highly automated DC has been established to meet increasing demands for efficient e-commerce and omnichannel order fulfillment, and was fitted out by Dematic.
The DC features several Dematic systems integrated with new technologies. Dematic Multishuttles store, buffer and sequence 80,000 SKU. Workers pick orders at 24 ergonomic goods-to-person workstations. Ten AGV handle repetitive transportation tasks safely and automatically. In addition, the Toll Group worked closely with Dematic to define and implement support systems from other vendors to ensure complete integration.
As a 3PL, the Toll Group had some stringent requirements for automation. General manager of speciality retail at the Toll Group Robert Charles said: “We look at the occupation, health and safety requirements. We look at order accuracy to prevent returns coming back to the facility.
“We also look at customer service to make sure customers get their product in an efficient manner. Because it’s all about the speed to market today.”
 
 
 

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