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21 Apr 2020

How to juggle 30-tonne trucks

AMCS Intelligent Optimisation enables just-in-time delivery of ready-mix concrete

How does 3,827m3 of ready-mix concrete get delivered just-in-time at the new research facilities of the Niels Bohr Institute being built in Copenhagen? The answer is with a series of 30-tonne RMC trucks arriving and unloading in sequences assuring a just-in-time delivery and thus ensuring continuity of work at the building site. “The ready-mix concrete came from 3 production sites across Denmark and was transported by 22 trucks in the incredibly short time of 33 hours”, explains David Hansen, Product Engineer at AMCS. “This obviously complex delivery schedule was possible by using state-of-the-art intelligent optimisation, smart software enabling to real-time plan and optimise transport routes and to re-plan and re-optimise them to guarantee just-in-time delivery throughout the building process."

Complex planning and optimisation challenge

To mix concrete is a challenge of unprecedented magnitude, that much is clear from Hansen's explanation. “To guarantee to avoid concrete setting problems, a continues poor without interruptions is required”, he says. According to him the complexity of a constant supply is caused by many factors.

“One of them is the large number of trucks transporting the ready-mix concrete from 2 plants and sometimes from more locations while other customers also have to be served from the same plants during the same time. Other factors increasing complexity are the size of the different trucks varying from 6 to 16 cubic meters each and the truck offloading time both through the truck or site capacity. In addition to that, drivers need to take a break during shifts and deliveries whilst the traffic is always uncertainty because of the travel times during rush hour challenges." 

Re-plan and re-optimise transport routes easily

Just how AMCS Intelligent Optimisation is handling these complex planning and transport routing issues, Hansen explains using the example of the Danish Niels Bohr Institute who moved locations to a new facility. “The new building needed to sit on a single slab of concrete to avoid vibrations for their physics research equipment. To poor the concrete floor on-site within just 33 hours, 3,827m3 of ready-mix concrete was delivered from 3 plants and with twenty-two 30-tonne trucks.”

During the execution of the orders with the AMCS Intelligent Optimization software, the planners have various real-time information available, like Gantt chart of the complete order planning and transport optimisation, including orders which had been re-planned and re-optimized, which with ready-mix concrete deliveries is often the case. “The need to re-plan and re-optimise an order more than 20 times within a very short time frame is the rule rather than the exception. Each order shows the scheduled load, when the mixing is started, the start of the loading and the unloading of the ready-mix concrete and when the loads are completed for billing.”

Smart software for planning orders and optimising routes for over 20 trucks

Transporting and delivering ready-mix concrete is like juggling, Hansen ends up the interview, like a juggler keeping balls in the air. If he is able to do so depends on the number of balls, the different size of the balls, the air travel time of the balls and the time the balls are up in the air. With ready-mix concrete it is the same”, Hansen draws the equation.

“If the producer is able to deliver all the loads just-in-time in a pre-set sequence depends on how the trucks, their capacity and the speed at which the load at the site is poured are juggled. The AMCS Intelligent Optimisation tool allows concrete producers to juggle these challenges fully automatically by the system itself, intelligently, with the dispatcher being the juggling contest judge. With this smart planning and optimisation software, concrete producers can rely on a state-of-the-art solution with which AMCS is time after time confirming its leading position in the international concrete industry.”