UK chilled food distribution is amongst the most efficient in the world, largely due to the country being compact, densely populated and possessing a good road network.
Nevertheless, the impact of distribution and transport on the environment is under constant review. While it has been somewhat overshadowed by subsequent events, n the March 2016 budget, George Osborne announced that the government was seeking to “establish the UK as a global centre for excellence in connected and autonomous vehicles” and would soon begin to “carry out trials of truck platooning on the strategic road network.”
If you are involved in the chilled food industry, with your usual refrigeration processing machinery, what might the future hold for your refrigerated distribution fleet?
What is truck platooning?
The plan is that HGVs would travel in a convoy of up to 10 driverless trucks headed by one traditionally-driven truck. The driverless vehicles will be able to travel in a closely-knit group, with perhaps only a couple of metres between each lorry.
How would driverless lorries reduce costs?
Cost savings would primarily be from the lower fuel consumption resulting from ‘drafting’ – driving in the slipstream of the front lorry, thereby cutting down on drag. Previous trials suggest this may cut fuel use by up to 15% across the platoon.
Any other benefits
Some suggest that the successful implementation of such platoons could make delivery scheduling more efficient, with driverless HGVs able to work around the clock.
AA president Edmund King questioned whether it was feasible to introduce driverless HGVs onto the existing UK road system, saying: “The problem with the UK motorway network is that we have more entrances and exits of our motorways than any other motorways in Europe or indeed the world; therefore, it’s very difficult to have a 44-tonne 10-lorry platoon, because other vehicles need to get past the platoon to enter or exit the road.”
Modernising your equipment
As with driverless HGVs, more automation is set to be introduced in the food processing industry and old equipment will need to be replaced. A good option to realise the full value of your surplus assets is to use a specialist auctioneer in the food sector. The constant checking of the refrigeration process is essential and it falls to the types of checking devices and electrical surge defenders that are supplied Electrical Control Components Ireland based company https://www.osmelectrical.com/.
In conclusion, the future looks bright and exciting for chilled food distribution.