Schneider Electric has announced the successful completion of the digital transformation to its flagship, Pacific Smart Distribution Centre (DC) in Ingleburn, New South Wales. The Smart DC comprises of Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure technology, driving end-to-end efficiency for the industrial environment, and housing an industry leading Control Tower. Schneider’s Smart DC is one of the largest in the Pacific, spreading more than 17,500 square meters, and operating 24 hours a day, five days a week. It dispatches more than 5000 lines over 70 routes (air and road) daily, servicing more than 3500 customers in Australia and New Zealand. “The innovative approach brings together in a single site logistics, customer care, and personnel representing all our international and domestic transport carriers. This way information from global tracking dashboards can be openly and easily shared and discussed to quickly resolve queries and issues,” said Gareth O’Reilly, zone president of Schneider Electric. “The Control Tower approach has demonstrated a strong return on investment with a 65 per cent reduction in time taken to resolve complaints.” “We support our clients through the digitisation journey with our EcoStruxure IoT-enabled system architecture and platform. The Ingleburn Distribution Centre is an important player in our global network of Smart sites that showcases the EcoStruxure offerings to customers,” Gareth said.
Australia has the opportunity to be a leader in the global shift to clean, safe, efficient transport using low and zero-emission vehicles (LEV), connected autonomous vehicles (CAV), high-frequency mass transit and intelligent transport systems. That’s the conclusion of the report Shifting Gears: Preparing for a Transport Revolution, by the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering. A four-page summary can be accessed here and a video here. The report, which identifies three key challenges for the transport sector – lower emissions, health, and efficient movement of people and freight – provides a blueprint for transport planning to 2030 for an incoming Federal Government. Recommendations include the need to encourage rapid and widespread uptake of LEV, including electric cars. To make the shift, the report recommends:
A national target to drive the uptake of LEV in Australia.
Incentives to use LEV as fleet vehicles.
Industry to lead the way in the uptake of LEV by ensuring that vehicles imported into Australia meet stringent standards for emissions, set by government.
The report also highlights the value of CAV, which can range from cars with partial automation through to fully automated vehicles that communicate with each other through the mobile network, and recommends the expansion of mobile coverage across the entire road network.
The investigation into the transport industry’s technology readiness was chaired by two Academy Fellows, Kathryn Fagg FTSE and Drew Clarke AO PSM FTSE. Ms Fagg said: “The rapid advance of digital technologies across all sectors of the global economy has resulted in an extraordinary period of change. “With Australia’s geographic isolation and long distances between urban centres, the transport sector will be both significantly disrupted and revolutionised by this technological transformation. “Failure to be prepared will risk a decline in many aspects of our Australian way of life and society, including increased congestion and vehicle-related emissions, a deterioration in health, safety and security, and a negative impact on the cost of living, productivity and the ease of mobility. “Australia is performing well on a number of readiness indicators and is well place to capitalise on the coming technology revolution, but we need to make smart, strategic decisions to keep pace with the technological frontier.” Mr Clarke said: “The Academy has identified sustainability and climate change, productivity, and health as the three key challenges that will need to be addressed within the transport sector over the next decade. “Specifically, the transport sector will need to lower emissions, improve the efficient movement of people and freight, and reduce transport-related deaths and serious injuries. “The deployment of connected autonomous vehicles, low and zero-emission vehicles, high-frequency mass transport and intelligent transport systems are potential solutions to these challenges.”
Other recommendations in the report include:
Governments to set nationally consistent standards to support. productivity-enhancing technology, including for charging infrastructure and connections, data sharing and data privacy.
Competitive grants programs that encourage the trial of transport technologies that can be adapted to Australia’s unique geographical or climatic conditions.
Integrated land use and transportation planning to take into account likely network use changes from new technologies.
Strengthened teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in primary and secondary schools, to support the workforce of the future.
University and VET courses to be developed in collaboration with industry, to ensure the relevant skills are available.
The report also provides a roadmap for future research to address the challenges the transport sector will face in the decade to come. Research priorities include:
Impact of LEVs on the grid and emissions
What technologies should Australia adopt early, and why?
What are the skills requirements of the future workforce?
The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering is undertaking a major three-year (2018-2020) Australian Research Council Learned Academies Special Projects-funded research project to examine the readiness of different Australian industry sectors to develop, adapt and adopt new and emerging technologies, with a horizon out to 2030. The transport sector is the first industry sector to be examined by the project.
Kalmar, part of Cargotec, has introduced a fully electric version of the Kalmar Empty Container Handler. The launch represents another step on the company’s journey towards offering an electric version of every product in its portfolio by 2021. The all-electric machine is the latest addition to Kalmar’s Eco Range, which already includes the Kalmar Eco Reachstacker with a fuel-saving guarantee. In addition, Kalmar has already launched fully electric versions of its light and medium forklift trucks, Kalmar Ottawa terminal tractors, shuttle and straddle carriers, automated guided vehicles (AGV) and yard cranes. Based on the Kalmar ECG90-180 medium electric forklift, the new machine is designed to help customers reduce overall fuel costs and comply with increasingly strict airborne and noise emissions standards without compromising on performance. It can stack containers up to four high and is available with a choice of battery technologies to ensure a clean, efficient lift every time. With fewer moving parts and lower rates of wear and tear than a diesel-powered machine, the Kalmar Electric Empty Container Handler is also simpler and more cost-effective to maintain.
The electric driveline provides full torque immediately and is smoother to operate than a diesel driveline, making operating cycles shorter and increasing the potential number of container moves per hour. Fully charged, the battery has enough power to last a whole shift. Vice president of forklifts at Kalmar Stefan Hultqvist said: “We firmly believe that electricity is the power source of the future and have committed to make our full portfolio available as electrically powered by 2021. We have been developing electrically powered machine technology since the 1980s, and the Kalmar Electric Empty Container Handler is the latest in what will be a long line of eco-efficient solutions. We know that operational cycles differ from customer to customer, so we’re pleased to be able to offer a choice between lead-acid and lithium-ion battery technologies to allow customers to specify the option that best fits their requirements.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) is disappointed that the final report of the Senate Select Committee on Electric Vehicles has missed clear opportunities to boost the uptake of EV in the freight logistics sector. “There is clearly a willingness within this industry to move towards greater use of EV in freight delivery. It is disappointing that the committee has not supported that positive attitude by explicitly addressing freight vehicles in its recommendations to the government,” said ALC CEO Kirk Coningham. “It is especially perplexing that the committee recommends establishing national EV targets for light passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles and metropolitan buses – but is silent on establishing a similar target for heavy vehicles. “It is similarly disappointing that the report did not take the opportunity to recommend a review of the Australian Design Rules, to that they can better accommodate the unique size and shape of some electric freight vehicles. “ALC is pleased that the report does make recommendations on some of the issues raised in our submission, including the need to facilitate the rollout of charging infrastructure and ensure the energy network is able to sustain a reliable supply of energy to power EV. “However on the whole, these recommendations fall well short of the type of action that is needed to hasten the uptake of EV in the freight logistics sector. “One opportunity that was clearly missed was a recommendation to establish a Low Emission Vehicle Contestable Fund, similar to one already operating in New Zealand. “Indeed, the report specifically refers to the New Zealand fund in its commentary and notes its benefits – but does not follow through by recommending a similar initiative for Australia. “Just last week, the New Zealand Government announced a further round of projects to be supported though its fund, including projects specifically focused on the freight sector designed to showcase the capabilities of long-haul heavy electric vehicles. “Similar initiatives will need to be adopted in an Australian context if freight logistics operators are to be encouraged to incorporate EVs into their own operations. This is something ALC will be pursing in its pre-Budget submission and in ongoing discussions with the Federal Government. “The ALC’s Electric Vehicles Working Group will continue to pursue these matters with all political parties in the lead up to this year’s federal election,” Mr Coningham said.
Volvo Penta’s chief technology officer Johan Carlsson and system engineer Karin Åkman discuss innovation for electromobility at the company’s new development-and-test laboratory in Gothenburg.
The latest quarterly edition of the National Energy Emissions Audit by The Australia Institute’s Climate & Energy Program shows Australian transport emissions are ramping up thanks to a significant increase in diesel usage. “We’re seeing little if any further reduction in electricity generation emissions, this combined with continuing growth in diesel consumption, are likely to cause energy emissions to increase – not reduce.” said Dr Hugh Saddler, energy expert and author of the Audit. “Improving electricity efficiency and replacing coal with renewables is the cheapest way to cut national emissions, yet the National Energy Guarantee’s 26 per cent target seeks to reverse this, “Fossil fuel use for electricity and transport accounts for nearly three quarters of Australia’s emissions. Australia is an outliner globally, with no mandatory emissions or fuel economy standards for vehicles, leaving transport emissions to climb. While diesel cars help drivers save money based on fuel efficiency, using diesel emits around 17 per cent more than petrol by volume and now accounts for half of all petroleum emissions. “Unless the Australian Government takes action on emissions standards, we will continue to drive up emission in the transport sector with one of the least efficient, highest emission motor vehicle fleets in the world.” The report also showed Australia’s annual energy emissions decreased in the first quarter of 2018, thanks to the closure of the highly polluting Hazelwood power station. “Decreased energy emissions over this three-month period were entirely caused by lower electricity generation emissions, resulting from the closure of Hazelwood power station,” Dr Saddler said. Bring on electric power On the supplier side of the equation, Volvo Penta has set 2021 as deadline to introduce electric power. With the aim of becoming a driving force in sustainable power systems, Volvo Penta is going full charge into hybrid and all-electric drivelines, offering electrified engines in both its marine and industrial segments by 2021. Underpinned by the success of hybrid and all-electric technology introduced by the Volvo Group, Volvo Penta’s electrified powerplants will demonstrate the company’s long-term commitment to offering the latest and most appropriate power source for their user applications. “Volvo Penta is embracing the electric transformation and will be at the forefront in delivering compelling business cases to customers using this new technology,” says Björn Ingemanson, president of Volvo Penta. “We will take a full systems supplier approach helping our customers in the transition to the new technology. This will happen application-by-application, on the basis that the business case for switching to electric will differ across our many customer segments. “This is the start of a long-term transition,” he adds. “Diesel and gasoline-powered primary drive systems will remain the most appropriate power source for many applications for years to come.” Time to start switching over “Volvo Penta is already several years into its electrification journey,” said chief technology officer Johan Inden. “We have spent this time building competencies, experience and establishing the technologies required to deliver a sustainable power road map. The advanced engineering projects we are currently running and the performance data received gives us confidence that we are on the right technology path to offer customers a compelling business case for electrification.” As part of this increased commitment, Volvo Penta has restructured its organisation to accelerate the switch towards electrified power and has committed to an ambitious ramping up of its electrification investment program. An electromobility development-and-test laboratory has also been established at its Swedish headquarters.
Peter Fox, Chairman of Australian logistics company Linfox, has shared his thoughts on the viability of electric trucks in Australia in an interview with TheAustralian Financial Review. Fox noted that while he is keen on electric trucks, the company will wait until highways are equipped with charging stations before upgrading its fuel-powered fleet. “We can’t update 7,000 vehicles in one day and make them more electric,” he said. “And if I did, I wouldn’t have charging stations – it’s a great concept, but it’s going to have a slow uptake.” Fox told the newspaper that electric vehicles have “a part to play in the future,” and that Linfox is conducting its own tests of electric trucks. “Given we’re a leader in our industry, where there’s innovation, we will be the first mover,” he said – adding that the logistic company expects to see electric small trucks and vans in operation in the next couple of years. Fox also shared his belief that the Government should not offer subsidies on electric vehicles to incentivise people to use them, though acknowledged that there was logic in charging older trucks more to use roads, since they produce higher amounts of carbon emissions.
Deutsche Post DHL CEO Frank Appel has revealed that his employee engagement strategy includes sharing purpose and doing good. In an interview with The Financial Times, Appel explained that he measures three bottom lines at the helm of the global logistics company. Alongside financial performance, he also measures employee satisfaction, through an annual company-wide survey, and environmental impact via a carbon efficiency index. Appel noted that it is crucial that companies have, and employees fully understand, a clear purpose, both for engagement and growth. “What drives people is not top-line growth,” he said. “Our purpose has to be very explicitly understood by every employee. The more it is understood the better the performance of the company.” Appel explained that his experiences working at consultancy McKinsey earlier in his career showed him that the best companies were those where engaged employees were making the lives of customers easier, and engagement can be achieved by recognising workers’ core needs. “We have three needs,” he said: love, hope and purpose. “If you treat them properly, humans are very similar.” DHL’s social efforts include its research and development into green – electric and emissions-free – courier vehicles, and its Go Help initiative, which utilises DHL’s logistics expertise to respond to crises such as the impact of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017. “We cannot say, ‘Listen, our strategy is to make money and if we have time left then we’ll do something which is good for the society’,” he said. “Our job is to do something good for the society, and to do that, we have to make money – otherwise we can’t continue to invest.”
In the US, automotive manufacturer Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has announced the launch of a new alliance focused on developing autonomous electric vehicles for parcel delivery, ride sharing, on-the-road e-commerce and more. The alliance already has the support of US-based e-commerce company Amazon, ride-share companies DiDi and Uber, automotive manufacturer Mazda, and restaurant chain Pizza Hut. Together, they will reportedly collaborate on vehicle planning, application concepts and vehicle verification activities. Akio Toyoda, President, TMC, revealed that the new e-Palette alliance will leverage Toyota’s Mobility Services Platform (MSPF) to develop a suite of connected mobility solutions and a flexible, purpose-built vehicle. “The automobile industry is clearly amidst its most dramatic period of change as technologies like electrification, connected and automated driving are making significant progress,” said Toyoda. “Toyota remains committed to making ever better cars. Just as important, we are developing mobility solutions to help everyone enjoy their lives, and we are doing our part to create an ever-better society for the next 100 years and beyond. “This announcement marks a major step forward in our evolution towards sustainable mobility, demonstrating our continued expansion beyond traditional cars and trucks to the creation of new values including services for customers.” In the near term, the Alliance will focus on the development of the new e-Palette Concept Vehicle, also unveiled at CES by Toyoda. It is a fully automated, “next generation–battery” electric vehicle (BEV) designed to be scalable and customisable. Toyota plans to conduct feasibility testing of the e-Palette Concept in various regions, including the US, in the early 2020s, and hopes to have the vehicle on location at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
China has launched the world’s first all-electric cargo ship, though it is being used to haul coal, news site ThinkProgress reports. China’s Guangzhou Shipyard International ship has a capacity of 2,200 tons and is designed for short-haul trips, with its 1,000 lithium batteries offering around 50 miles of travel on a two-hour charge. While loading and unloading at ports, the ship will charge ready for its next trip, news site ChinaNews.com reports. State-run news site Global Times shared that the cargo ship is being used to transport coal for electricity generation on the Guangdong Province’s Pearl River, and it could in future be used for passenger travel, or “ro-ro” (roll-on/roll-off) voyages. Chinese environmentalist Wang Yongchen told the Global Times: “This kind of ship takes into consideration the harmony between humans and nature and can protect water quality and marine life, and should be copied by other ships sailing on local rivers.”
Toyota Material Handling has launched two new battery electric warehouse models, the 8FB four-wheel counter-balance forklift and 8FBR reach truck ranges. The new 8-Series FB and 8-Series FBR forklift ranges are said to offer improved efficiency, productivity, operability and safety compared with the superseded 7-Series models. There are five 8FB forklifts from 1.5 to 3.0 tonne payload and nine 8FBR models from one to 2.5-tonne payload. Key features include longer operating times and battery life, reduced electricity consumption to save charging costs, further updates to the System of Active Stability (SAS) safety technology and the availability of Toyota’s I-Site fleet-management tool as a factory fitted option. Toyota Material Handling’s product manager, Toyota product, Glen Ryan said the forklift upgrades delivered benefits for the customer and operator, including improved ease of operation, ergonomics, features and safety. “The new forklift range has a more sophisticated design and features, while the new reach trucks have ten per cent better operating time and use less electricity thanks to new AC drive motors and efficient new hydraulic system,” he said. “All the new models have Auto Turn-speed Control, for greater safety when turning with a load and Anti-rollback control. “Auto Turn-speed Control automatically controls the optimum turning speed according to the lift height, load weight, and turning radius. Therefore if necessary it will slow the forklift or reach truck to the appropriate rate of turning. “The 8FBN now features Slope-Sensing Auto Power Mode which will increase the power to climb a ramp; it improves driving performance and productivity.”
Mr Ryan said the 8FBR range has the latest iteration of Toyota’s System of Active Stability, known as SAS-R, for stable turning and load-handling operations. “It locks the suspension at lift heights over three metres, for optimum longitudinal and lateral stability,” he said. “Additional key safety features include the Anti-rollback feature, Front-assist Brake System on the reach trucks for stable braking even if the drive wheels lock up and traction control for added safety on slippery surfaces. “These models have option of a factory fitted blue LED light, which shines on the floor behind the machine when it’s reversing, to warn pedestrians there is a forklift present. “They also have three-mode regenerative braking, for smooth deceleration, stopping and switchback, and to boost battery recovery. Plus a deluxe multi-function display, with weight indicator.” In addition, Toyota has introduced added features to optimise battery life, such as Auto Power-Off, Power-keep and Power-select functions.