3D printing is different from traditional manufacturing. Manufacturing has typically been a reductive process in which the object is made by removing material. 3D printing is just the opposite. With 3D printing, the manufacturer will utilize a digital design file to print and add layers upon layers of material to create the object. This additive manufacturing process can create extremely durable, yet lightweight objects.
Driverless cars are in the headlines often these days, but so too are driverless trucks. Especially when it comes to what will happen to our industry when we start to see an autonomous haul truck. Autonomous trucks are already in the workforce. In Australia, there are two mines that are hauling iron by cars operated remotely and in Canada, Suncor’s executive vice president and chief financial officer noted that their 175 self-driving trucks, “will take 800 people off our site. At an average of $200,000 per person, you can see the savings we’re going to get from an operations perspective”. In May of 2015, Daimler also showcased the Freightliner Inspiration Truck in Nevada. So, it isn’t a matter of if this technology will come to market, but how long it will take to dominate the market.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the life of a trucker can be hard on your health if you aren’t careful. There are long sedentary hours that are not great for the body and make snaking easy, truck stop meals, coffee, seeming no time to exercise and often lack of sleep.
We came across an interesting article in the Memphis Journal commenting on the recent talks about the truck driver shortage in 2014 and beyond. The journal was covering the Inland Distribution Conference where a Walmart driver, Allen Boyd had some thoughts on how there could be part of a solution other than just hiring more drivers,
“If we can figure out how to keep that driver moving, the (shortage) numbers aren’t that big of a deal.”