Bulk Distributor May/Jun 17

B ULK D ISTRIBUTOR www.bulk-distributor.com May/June 2017 Est. 1990 Your single information source for bulk and semi-bulk logistics Tank Containers • Flexitanks • IBCs • Drums • FIBCs • Bulk Liners • Road Tankers • Loading/Bagging • Bulk Logistics • Cleaning & Repair Depots • Components IN THIS ISSUE Shipper 2 Containers 4 Components 8 Hoses & Couplings 9 Industrial Packaging 10 Logistics 14 Ports & Storage 15 Managing Editor: Neil Madden neil@bulk-distributor.com Tel: +33 (0)3 88 60 30 68 Advertising Director: Anne Williams anne@bulk-distributor.com Tel: +44 (0)20 854 13130 Business Development: Mike Reardon mike@bulk-distributor.com Tel: +44 (0)1565 653283 Circulation: Berni Chetham berni@andpublishing.co.uk Tel: +44 (0)1565 653283 © Ashley & Dumville Publishing Ltd Bulk Distributor is published by Ashley & Dumville Publishing Caledonian House, Tatton Street, Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 6AG, United Kingdom www.bulk-distributor.com To advertise or contribute please email anne@bulk-distributor.com or mike@bulk-distributor.com BASF starts AGV trials at Ludwigshafen C hemical giant BASF has started implementing its new integrated storage and logistics concept at its Ludwigshafen, Germany base. Using the 45ft and 52ft tank containers developed in collaboration with Belgian tank manufacturer Van Hool, BASF hopes the concept will significantly reduce on-site logistics costs. The transport volume at the Ludwigshafen site is around 20 million tonnes a year, and since the transport links at the site account for a considerable share of costs, this is the focus of the concept. The most important components are automated guided vehicles (AGVs), the new tank containers, which are optimised-for-rail instead of rail tank cars, and a new tank container depot. This combination will lead to a considerable improvement in terms of competitiveness, the firm says. “We are launching this innovative leap in logistics at the site and we are a pioneer for the entire industry,” said site manager Dr Uwe Liebelt. Together with VDL Group, BASF developed the 16.5m long AGV which has a payload of 78 tonnes. Since the AGV has no driver’s cab, its loading length is approximately 2.10m longer than a road truck. With its 32 wheels and eight steerable axles, it is manoeuvrable and does not cause damage to roads even though it can weigh as much as 100 tonnes. The AGV is steered via transponders embedded in the road surface. It currently takes around 22 hours for a rail tank to be delivered from BASF’s train station to one of the more than 150 loading stations at the site. With the AGV, this time will be cut to just one hour. During the current test phase, which runs until July, the prototype only operates within a limited area, where it carries empty containers or containers filled with water and is monitored by a control centre. Until now, similar vehicles have only been used in maritime container terminals in ports, where they use routes exclusively reserved for them. The new tank containers launched in 2015 are based on the technology of 20ft and 30ft containers. The BASF class tank containers (B-TC) can be transported with container railway wagons, so they offer greater flexibility than traditional rail tanks. The B-TC has a maximum volume of 73,000 litres and a payload of 66 tonnes, meaning its load capacity is double that of today’s typical tank container and similar to that of a chemical rail tank. The B-TC can be transported on any kind of rail track and can be stored efficiently – up to six can be stacked atop each other. From July, 90 of them will be in use in Ludwigshafen and another 550 will be delivered in 2018. Writing in the in-house newsletter of rail equipment manufacturer Wascosa, Dr Thorsten Bieker, BASF’s head of railways and location services, pointed out that while a dedicated rail track is perfect for autonomous transport the high level of regulation in the rail sector means it takes a long time for innovations to be implemented. On the roads, by contrast, the development of autonomous vehicles is racing ahead and will become a reality over the next 10 to 20 years. The concept of vehicle platooning – replicating the train model on motorways – is expected to be introduced in just a few years. “All this puts massive cost pressure on the rail freight industry, as the cost efficiency of road AGVs guide the tank containers round BASF’s Ludwigshafen plant transport can be improved by around 28 percent through the introduction of autonomous or even semi-autonomous vehicles,” said Dr Bieker. BASF developed the B-TC tank containers to overcome a major obstacle to flexibility in rail transport; tank wagons are permanently fixed to the underlying rolling stock. By detaching the tank from the base the entire logistics process can be streamlined. Within the company’s plant, tank containers can be transported across areas where there are no rails. This means shorter delivery times between the rail depot and the loading station. Thanks also to the removable tank, the number of workers needed for external rail transport is fewer than in the case of tank wagons. At the same time, there is an increase in the distance travelled by the externally deployed wagons. There are also savings in empty journeys. Because of the ability to transport the empty B-TCs by road without restrictions, empty journeys are minimised, as the containers can be cleaned in any modern tank cleaning facility. Dr Bieker believes that the concept can go even further. Automatic delivery using AGVs could also be used in intermodal transport. The combination of remote operation, platooning and autonomous vehicles opens up opportunities for use in public infrastructure, for example, to cover the first and last mile in the immediate vicinity of the intermodal terminal. 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