DHL unveils Americas Innovation Center to 'promote future of logistics'
DHL has broken ground on a new Americas Innovation Center in Rosemont, Illinois, which it says “will offer unique insights into the future of logistics”.
Joining the DHL Innovation Center in Troisdorf, Germany, and the Asia Pacific Innovation Center in Singapore, the Americas Innovation Center will exhibit the technologies and innovations in logistics that DHL is already implementing across the region.
On a surface area of 24,000 square feet, the state-of-the-art facility can host trend and innovation events for up to 300 guests with high-tech features and futuristic designs.
The company said it will also foster the development of future logistics and supply chain solutions while serving as a regional platform for collaborative innovation. The opening is planned for summer 2019.
“With our third Innovation Center worldwide, we will be able to create a platform for research and collaborative innovation between DHL customers, start-ups, academia, industry partners, and innovation experts in the Americas region,” commented Matthias Heutger, SVP, Global Head of Innovation & Commercial Development at DHL.
“This visionary innovation center will further promote and nurture our worldwide leading position as the logistics innovation frontrunner in one of our key markets. It will also help us to further build on successful partnerships that we have established with technology leaders and innovative start-ups in the region.”
DHL said it continuously evaluates its innovative customer-centric solutions, already implementing advanced technologies in all of its operations to boost productivity and serve the evolving needs of customers.
Its supply chain arm says it has seen average productivity increases of 15% in trials of augmented reality technology in warehouses, with smart glasses that provide visual displays of order picking instructions and item locations.
It has also deployed drones with surveillance cameras to ramp up security at warehousing sites in Brazil and Mexico.
Robotics, ranked the most important physical technology with 63% in a recent global survey by DHL of about 350 supply chain and operations professionals, also play a significant role in DHL’s innovation activities.
DHL Supply Chain uses collaborative robots designed to help with repetitive and precise tasks, such as picking and packing, in a number of its North American warehouses.
Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight
Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports.
A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers.
Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US.
The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two.
Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels
The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.
The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete.
Tesla’s supply chain woes
Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue.
Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely.
Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany