Van Eck organized AEROFLEX webinar to support its stakeholder’s future implementation roadmap
The household name in innovative transport solutions Van Eck organized a special online webinar session with the AEROFLEX project team on 8th of October.
In line with Van Eck’s vision to reinvent to modern road transport with sustainability goals, Van Eck has been active in, European Commission funded, AEROFLEX, a project for developing Aerodynamic and Flexible Trucks for the next generation of Long Distance Transport since October 2017.
During the webinar session, Van Eck Executive Board Member Hans van Eck made the opening speech and AEROFLEX Project Coordinator Ben Kraaijenhagen, Van Eck’s Head of Research and Development Ton Bertens were the moderators.
In the first part of webinar session, Ton Bertens explained Van Eck’s contribution to AEROFLEX project for the development of Aerodynamics of the LHVs as well as the development of the e-dolly. Van Eck also detailed its expertise in volume optimization, expertise in LHV combinations on the road since 2004 and shared details on future Van Eck new LHV vehicle development for the standard trailer, air cargo, Twin Deck combinations as well as the EMS-2 vehicle with the Van Eck smart dolly.
In the second part of the session, AEROFLEX Project Coordinator Ben Kraaijenhagen, detailed AEROFLEX project goals to meet the challenges of zero emission transport with developing the next generation of road vehicles as well as key focuses while addressing the challenge and current development status with the participants. Mr. Kraaijenhagen shared the AEROFLEX agenda until May 2021. Introducing the IAP Task Force Project, Mr. Kraaijenhagen invited all stakeholders, policy makers, planners, owners of the infrastructures and providers of electronic and digital systems to take part in the IAP Task Force for the implementation of the AEROFLEX and sustainable transport solutions in the line with EU carbon reduction demands from the industry.
Van Eck Vehicle Development for Sustainable Transport
“Towards more sustainable transport solutions as well as a lower Total Cost of Ownership, one of Van Eck’s expertise is volume optimization. Air Cargo vehicles, with rollerbeds integrated into the bottom of the trailer, offer internal height advantages and can carry up to 7 pallets per vehicle. Double Deck Trailers are also suitable as reefers or are custom made for DC to DC transportation or supermarket delivery. But there is also the Transformer trailer that has a very flexible double stock system. Double Cargo type trailers offer the option to transport both fluid and pallets. On the way to the packaging factory, it brings the fluid and on the way back, it takes the pallets. We also have integrated Smart Loading Units in our trailers. They are connected to the cloud which enables us to reach maintenance data, trailer status, and error messages.” explained Mr. Bertens.
Next to its expertise in volume optimization, Van Eck makes a difference with its extensive experience in LHV as well.
“One of our LHV lightweight reefers with an automated loading and unloading system can carry up to 33 tons of cargo and drives every day from the North of Holland to the South already for 10 years. At the previous IAA Show, Van Eck showed a long vehicle for 3 x C745 containers. They are now developing the new generation with a less complex steering system. For the past 10 years, we made B Double Eco Combi’s, fully automated, so the driver doesn’t need to get out of his cabin to slide it in or slide it out. The current LHV we are developing and building now, is the linkable chassis in our continuing work for a load and length maximization in a safe and efficient way” he added.
Van Eck continues its innovations within the AEROFLEX project
Van Eck’s vision is to find new and sustainable solutions in modern road transport which is a result of the passion for high-quality and innovation.
Within the AEROFLEX project, Van Eck is in the development work group of the e-Dolly. The e-Dolly leads to energy recuperation and also has the possibility to do warehouse maneuvering. The e-dolly has been tested for first maneuvering in September 2020 with a remote control. The coupling with a standard trailer was also successful. The e-dolly is currently designed to move a loaded trailer for 15km driven by an on electric axle and own battery. The tests for LHVs are being done for the heaviest applications to test the energy savings by recuperation, the limits of coupling and battery life. The development is ongoing with the aim to drive e-dolly systems on a public road for the first time round February / March 2021.
Within the scope of the AEROFLEX project Van Eck also concentrated on the aerodynamic structures of the LHV. Carrying over from Van Eck’s work on European Commission backed Transformers project, the design of the vehicle is optimized for the best aerodynamic performance and different new aerodynamic designs aretested in wind tunnels, promising a high success.
Van Eck’s Goals for Developing LHV for Europe
Van Eck has been manufacturing LHVs since 2004. Van Eck LHVs are in operation in the Netherlands for over a decade now. According to its vision that aims to reinvent modern road transport, Van Eck will continue to focus on LHVs for upcoming years. “For LHVs, we have the problem that different types of long vehicles are not allowed in different countries. So, the best thing to do is to choose the long vehicle type that is allowed in different European countries.” Mr. Bertens summarized.
Van Eck approaches each LHV as a unique challenge to offer the best possible solution. Based on the country-specific regulations, the cargo and route, Van Eck calculates the turning radius and decides on the trailer steering systems accordingly to suite the local regulations.
As a solution, Van Eck provides its Basic LHV as a truck-trailer-trailer combination which can consists out of a custom made city trailer with a standard trailer, that can be a of reefer, curtainsider or even a twin deck. For Air Cargo Van Eck has ideas to make vehicles to transport up to 7 air cargo main deck pallets and special Twin Deck long vehicles. Hence Van Eck’s expertise in manufacturing top quality and long lasting vehicles in all segments as well expertise in LHVs with smart steering systems, it allows customers to benefit from the extensive combination options that will address their challenges for different country regulations and border crossing.
Van Eck is working on the EMS-2 vehicle within the AEROFLEX project. For this design, an e-Dolly is needed to recuperate the energy. Due to the big turning circles of the very long EMS-2 vehicles, Van Eck equips e-Dollys with a smart steering to keep EMS-2 vehicles in the same turning circle standards as the LHVs.
Moreover, Van Eck offers smart loading unit to its customers. The Transformer trailer that is the result of Project “Transformers” transforms itself into the most optimal aerodynamic shape according to the height of the cargo that is transported. The Flex Floor is a very flexible double stock system and is a floor that can be lifted out of the bottom of the trailer when needed.
NMLU (New Modular Loading Unit) Clusters 2.0 is a new modular load unit, a unit defined between the pallet and the trailer and provides a fast and secured pallet loading as it brings the benefits of air cargo systems within the pallet logistics.
Van Eck has also taken the 3rd place in the category “Environment” of Trailer Innovation 2021 Awards with the innovation of the Smart Rollerbed Vehicles with NMLU’s that is developed in cooperation with this European group in Clusters 2.0 project.
Next Steps of the AEROFLEX Project for full implementation by 2030
“Started in 2017 October, AEROFLEX project works to meet the coming challenges and increase efficiency for road freight transport and focuses on how to reach zero emission logistics in the future.” stated Mr. Kraaijenhagen.
In the first part of the webinar Mr. Kraaijenhagen explained that the main focus of the AEROFLEX project is the high capacity road transport and in the third part he went on presenting a wider frame of this focus underlining that the AEROFLEX project actually covers a wide range of innovations from the truck and trailer concepts reaching to regulation standards within all European countries in order to reach a 33% general efficiency improvement in cargo and freight efficiency by 2030.
In the following slides of the presentation Mr. Kraaijenhagen gave a short aspects of the project setup inputs including the need of new concepts and smart standards for future truck concepts to have a complete vehicle in a perspective of aerodynamics, technologies, and systems and loading units in a better way underlining the need of smart standards for a better design of long distance and urban logistics on the European roads and cities.
“I think this is a great success and it is a proof that we are on the right way with our project, with our innovations we have developed and we are sure that we can contribute at the high level for more efficient road cargo transport.” added Mr. Kraaijenhagen.
All Stakeholders are invited to IAP Task Force for implementation of sustainable solutions
After a giving detailed information about different technology improvements and innovations within the project, Mr. Kraaijenhagen called attention to the difficulty of bringing up new developed technologies and innovations into life according to strict and fixed European rules explaining the need of the search of other projects around the Europe, introducing the projects Urban Vehicle Access Regulations Program (UVAR) & Management for Electronic Traffic Regulations (METR) of the Nordicway Project, DG Move UVAR as a benchmark for European implementation which have the intention of management of not only people but also freight and cargo in an urban environment in order to allow the vehicles to use the infrastructure by giving certain vehicles and rules. As a result of the benchmark, The AEROFLEX project team decided to initiate a start of IAP Task Force Project, find budget to continue the activities driving the IAP agenda beyond AEROFLEX.
Mr. Kraaijenhagen also invited stakeholders, policy makers, planners and owners of the infrastructures and providers of electronic and digital systems to contribute for the project and introduced Ms. Marta Tobar (firstname.lastname@example.org) leading the new initiative IAP Task Force Project.
To discuss the next steps and for outlook, AEROFLEX will organize the followed meetings;
- SB web-meeting – November 2020
- ALICE web-meeting – March 2021
- Final meeting preliminary 22-24 June 2021