Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Integrated solution for managing produce transport fleets

14.11.2006
Transport firms that supply Europe’s supermarkets and grocery stores with refrigerated and frozen produce could soon save millions of euros a year, once a new, integrated fleet-management solution hits the market.

An innovative software system that allows transport managers to track the status of their haulage fleet at all times has recently been implemented by three European companies, thanks to the Cold-Trace project co-funded under the eTEN programme. The technology was originally developed under the two-year IST project ColdRoad.

In addition to tracking the movements of vehicles, the Cold-Trace system also monitors temperatures inside the trailers, to ensure that produce reaches its destination in the optimum condition.

“It may seem surprising, but although systems to monitor the temperature inside trucks and GPS systems to track their location have long been on the market, there has been no integrated solution combining those applications with work-order management,” explains Yolanda Ursa, the manager of the Cold-Trace project at INMARK in Spain.

By combining these three applications, the system evaluated by the Cold-Trace team provides fleet managers with all the information necessary to ensure the safe, prompt and efficient delivery of produce in the most cost-effective way possible.

“It really is a big-brother style solution,” Ursa says. “Fleet managers know where all their trucks are at all times, if the driver has stopped, if there have been any accidents and if the goods are at the right temperature.”

Where in the past fleet managers have relied on calling drivers to find out where they are or to check if a pick-up or drop-off went ok, the Cold-Trace system gives them the information for the whole fleet on a PC screen. A 'black box' in each truck is connected to a server in the fleet manager’s office via a GPRS connection, while each driver has a standard PDA. GPS location data and information from sensors placed around the vehicle are all fed into the black box, and from there fed back to fleet headquarters.

“Normally there are temperature sensors inside and outside the vehicle, as well as a sensor to tell if the door is open, which would obviously severely disrupt the cold chain,” Ursa explains.

If any temperature increase above set parameters is detected, an alarm sounds, alerting both the driver (who receives the information on his PDA) and the fleet manager. Fleet managers are informed where the vehicle is at all times, including the speed it is travelling and if the driver makes any unplanned stops. While the driver is provided with real-time location information and guidance to his destination.

A remote-control system even allows the fleet manager or driver to set refrigeration levels in the truck remotely. “That feature alone saves the driver half an hour every morning, which is the time it takes on average to cool off a truck before it can be loaded,” Ursa explains.

“In terms of the economic savings, we estimate that remote-controlled pre-cooling would save companies over two thousand euros per driver per year, roughly six percent of labour costs, or result in an equivalent increase in productivity,” she adds.

Other cost and time-saving benefits of the system have also been quantified by the project team. For example, the validation trials indicated that companies could save as much as 1,600 euros per truck per year, just by using the system to optimise routes and cargo and thus lessen the amount of time the truck is on the road empty.

The reduced need to make costly phone calls to drivers’ mobile phones could “save at least a hundred and seventy euros per truck per year, although that figure could actually be much higher,” Ursa notes. “Taken in combination, these are significant cost savings for both large and small haulage firms.”

The Cold-Trace system was installed at one Irish and two Spanish transport companies. At Spanish project partner Disfrimur the system was initially used to manage 270 trucks; it is soon due to be implemented across the company’s entire 500-vehicle fleet. The other Spanish test user, Montfrisa, is also planning to incorporate the system across its entire fleet of 150 vehicles, while O’Donovan Transport in Ireland is set to do the same.

Ursa notes that though implementing the system represents a “big change” for companies, it has been well received by fleet managers and should help professionalise the sector by improving the efficiency and productivity of drivers. Finally, as well as offering obvious benefits for supermarkets and grocery stores, which can be assured that produce will reach them in optimal condition, the insurance industry will also look favourably on a system that reduces the opportunity for theft.

Cold-Trace ended in October 2006, and the project team is currently looking for local partners across Europe in order to begin widespread commercialisation.

Jernett Karensen | alfa
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht Tool helps cities to plan electric bus routes, and calculate the benefits
09.01.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Realistic training for extreme flight conditions
28.12.2016 | Technical University of Munich (TUM)

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>