Drive home on bread bags

Recycling company Close the Loop has unveiled an upgraded manufacturing facility that could divert two-thirds of Australia’s 300,000 tonnes of waste soft plastics sent to local landfill annually.
The new manufacturing line in Melbourne will produce TonerPlas, an asphalt additive that contains the equivalent of 530,000 recycled plastic bags, toner from more than 12,000 recycled cartridges and 168,000 glass bottles in every kilometre of two-lane road. In conjunction with Downer, roads featuring TonerPlas have already been laid in Melbourne and Sydney this year.

Close the Loop chairman Craig Devlin said the opening of the line coincided with National Recycling Week and will enable the company to produce the additive on a commercial scale.
“Close the Loop has been at the forefront of the circular economy for more than 17 years. Our goal of zero waste to landfill has seen us partner with manufacturers through take-back programs across multiple sectors including printer cartridges, cosmetics and batteries.
“TonerPlas is a great example of how valuable materials can be recycled to not just create new products, but better-quality products. The addition of TonerPlas improves the fatigue life of traditional asphalt by 65 per cent, meaning longer lasting roads at a cost-competitive price. It also offers superior resistance to deformation over standard conventional asphalt for withstanding heavy vehicular traffic.”
“At full capacity our new manufacturing line provides us with the ability to produce enough TonerPlas in a year to pave a two-lane road from Sydney to Melbourne. That would contain the equivalent of 530,000,000 recycled plastic bags, 168,000,000 recycled glass bottles and 12,000,000 recycled toner cartridges. That’s more than 200,000 tonnes of soft plastics that currently go to landfill in Australia.”

He added that policy changes in China had highlighted the importance of a local recycling industry and improved energy use across the design, use and reuse of products – a circular economy.
“Our new manufacturing capacity to reuse soft plastics and toner into TonerPlas is a great example of what local companies can do,” Mr Devlin said. “However, Australia needs to coordinate and invest in infrastructure to build a viable recycling industry and divert problematic waste streams from landfill. Banning plastic bags is a start, but it doesn’t solve the challenge, especially as plastic bags account for less than five percent of all waste soft plastics.”

Narrow aisle reach AGV for freezers

Dematic has released a freezer-rated narrow aisle reach AGV specifically designed to operate autonomously in chilled and freezer environments. The AGV can operate permanently in temperatures down to -25°C and intermittently as low as -30°C.
With a lift height that can access five levels of racking in a typical warehouse, a 1,100 kg load capacity and a reach mechanism to handle double-deep racking , the AGV is well-suited for automating operations in existing freezer distribution facilities.
“Our new AGV are designed for automating existing freezer storage DC that are manually operated today,” said general manager sales for AGV at Dematic Australia and New Zealand Tony Raggio. “Companies can implement freezer-rated AGV for automated picking with minimal infrastructure changes and related costs.”
For manual operations, working in the tough, demanding freezer environment means that workers need frequent breaks from the cold. For every hour worked, a worker might need to spend 10 to 20 minutes out of the freezer. AGV systems may operate 24/7, picking and transporting product in the frozen environment and delivering that product seamlessly to warmer temperature shipping areas.
“Finding people to work in chilled and freezer environments is challenging,” Mr Raggio added. “Our customers can use these AGV in the frozen areas of their distribution facilities to create a fully automated ‘lights out’ automation arrangement.”
 

Teamwork is key – from MHD magazine

Walter Scremin

Transport is not just a critical area of the supply chain, it’s usually a top five business cost. For efficiency’s sake, most transport divisions outsource at least some of their requirements to specialist suppliers. The trouble is, transport suppliers vary greatly regarding professionalism and care, introducing many potential pitfalls when you bring in a new team.
When done right, partnering with the right transport operator is more like ‘insourcing’ a dedicated team but without the financial liabilities of owning your own transport resources.
Ideally, you bring in a team that becomes a genuine part of your business. Through my business, I’ve known delivery drivers to be placed with businesses for up to 25 years! In these cases it’s more than just an outsourced arrangement – the driver becomes a genuine, often much-loved team member.
 Let’s consider some key transport challenges
What are you really trying to achieve?
Motivations for bringing in a transport contractor are fairly similar: take liabilities off your books; focus on core business; and tap the flexibility to make changes at short notice. What are you hoping to achieve by partnering with a specialist? If your motivations are mixed, or vague, it may be hard to measure success.
Flexibility and resourcing were front of mind for leading paper bag manufacturer the O’Kelly Group, as CEO Sarah O’Kelly explained: “We have to deliver when we are expected to, no matter what. If a driver was absent, it created problems. We would re-allocate staff from the warehouse or elsewhere to do the deliveries. But then we’d be one down and those areas of the business would be affected, so it made sense to outsource.”
Greg Welch from Welch Auto Parts said outsourcing certain risks was a motivator for outsourcing his delivery fleet. The main risks were those associated with HR and WorkCover claims: “We’re not experienced at managing HR. Our expertise is in parts. But if your transport division is growing, all of a sudden you’ve got to manage it, or hire another person to manage it.
“Hiring and firing is not really our game, and it can be difficult to find quality drivers.”
Being clear on what you are trying to achieve enables you to understand if it’s successful.
Understanding success
Success isn’t only about numbers. So how is it best measured?
Ms O’Kelly said outsourcing transport has saved costs but some benefits would be hard to quantify. “There is a saving but it was never about that for us. It was about the cost of interruption to the business, and it’s hard to quantify that.
“The flexibility would have a financial benefit, but it’s not always easy to put a number on it.
“When running your own fleet you’re dealing with vehicle costs, breakdowns, maintenance. Something could go on a truck and you’re up for $2,000. But then you don’t have access to the vehicle either, so you need to cover by short-term leasing a vehicle.”
The biggest benefit is flexibility to manage resources, according to Ms O’Kelly. She says the increase in control was an unexpected benefit and contradicted her initial worries about outsourcing.

“Cultural fit drives teamwork – at its best, both parties work toward the same goal.”

Having regular back-up drivers on standby covers absenteeism and spikes in demand.
Greg Welch said freeing his auto parts business of fleet responsibilities has made it easier to achieve his motto of ‘right part, first time, on time’: “It has improved our strike rate no doubt. I believe it has helped client loyalty. It’s important for customers to know that the part is going to be there.”
Using a fleet telematics system has cut the risk of misplaced deliveries.
Mr Welch said in general, outsourcing has assisted with business growth by providing the flexibility and freedom to try new delivery runs. “A bonus is that at the drop of a hat we can get a driver in to do another run.”
Value for money
The biggest mistake when outsourcing in any field is putting too much emphasis on price. Going for the cheapest is rarely the best, and might actually cost you more in the long run.
A key challenge is knowing what value for money looks like. Price is important, but only one part of the whole – for example, a cheap supplier won’t be much value if they can’t respond quickly to your needs.  How do you rank other values, such as reliability or professionalism? These may be critical for customer service and business continuity.
Size of commitment
Biting off more than you can chew with a transport company creates more headaches if you later find out they’re not what you expected. Sometimes the best thing to do with a supplier is to start small. Many transport companies may not like starting small, but if they are serious about taking on your business they will be happy to prove their worth before you expand resources further.
Sarah O’Kelly said starting small helped make the decision easier: “It was a big decision, because my company had managed its own transport for about 60 years. But we put one driver on and it went really well, so we gradually increased our commitment.”
Starting small is a good way to discover and remedy any teething problems in the relationship. It will help ascertain their ability to communicate and respond to your needs. But do ensure any transport supplier has the depth and breadth to grow with you.
Cultural fit
A common mistake is rushing into a decision without really getting to know the people involved. Cultural fit is surprisingly important for success, and it’s worth taking the time to try and understand the organisation with which you are considering partnering.
Cultural fit drives teamwork – at its best, both parties work toward the same goal. Consider this question: is your supplier identifying ways you can become more efficient and trying to make you better? Are they available? Good communicators?
Culture is two-way. When describing the drivers brought in to O’Kelly Group, Ms O’Kelly said: “They are part of our team. We treat them like employees. They wear our uniform, they are here every day.
“We can’t have couriers doing their role.”
Walter Scremin is general manager of Ontime Delivery Solutions. For more information visit www.ontimegroup.com.au.
 

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.
 

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