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Current Projects

NANCORE PROJECT

The principle objective of the NanCore project is to design a novel microcellular polymer nanocomposite foam, with many mechanical properties and cost characteristics allowing for the substitution of Balsa wood and PVC foam as core material for lightweight composite sandwich structures.

FOCAL earth's role in this project is to work with the specific demand specification from the rail industry through close contacts with leading train producers. In work package 7 FOCAL earth will participate in a full scale testing and demonstration setup in a concrete rail application, the patented Back Haul Trolley for RVTs. Also FOCAL will provide access to both rail and automotive industry end-users for testing.

 

THE 'BHT' PROJECT

Recognising the substantial wasted rail capacity purchased by the major automotive manufacturers on an annual basis, FOCAL has developed a full, 'turnkey' solution which will save major in-bound logistics costs on an annual basis.

As there is no appropriate means of loading empty out-bound finished vehicle rail wagons (RVTs), trains return to the automotive manufacturing plants empty, 24 wagons at a time. FOCAL designed and patented an appropriate 'BackHaul trolley' which can be loaded with engines, transmissions and other in-bound components on the return (in-bound) journey. Thus the auto OEMs will save the current road haulage, in-bound costs on a daily basis, the equivalent of over 10,000 lorry movements annually per daily train.

FOCAL will provide full implementation and operational support to the automotive OEM and its 3PL on an on-going basis, also renting and maintaining the BHT trolleys for each customer.

The BHT Project is currently in final trials at Jaguar/Land Rover, with a view to initial commercial operation by August 2007.

 

THE 'OPTI-TRAIN' SOLUTION

FOCAL earth has pioneered the view that pan-European rail logistics are at their most efficient where 'circular corridors' of rail routes, preferably for single customers, are operated on a routine basis. Within the automotive industry, such an opportunity has been identified, and the first 'corridor' has been identified.

In this example, a single train, initially carrying out-bound finished vehicles, will follow a dedicated rail path, repetitively unloading vehicles, loading engines and components and multiple points utilising the BHT trolley, un-loading some components at the next manufacturing plant, then picking up further finished cars for onward distribution.

Again, the rail operations will be supported by FOCAL earth within the BHT business, creating major logistics costs savings for the global OEM.

 

INDIA AUTOMOTIVE LOGISTICS - 'ARIP'

With the increasing cost and environmental pressures making road haulage, medium-term rail logistics alternatives are actively being sought by the global automotive manufacturers on a global basis. In the past, logistics efficiency and location has been a low priority in the determination of the siting of a new manufacturing plant or the choice of key suppliers.

Today, however, attitudes have changed. Current strategies suggest that manufacturing plants should be built near to the customer market. Where tis can be subsidised by grant assistance or other financial incentives, then the logistics operators' challenge is to minimise out-bound and in-bound logistics costs as appropriate. However, in many emerging nations, offering new markets for motor vehicles, quality, secure, international road transport networks hardly exist.

However, historically and militarily, perhaps, operationally adequate rail networks have existed since the beginning of the last century. FOCAL earth assists 3PL operators to plan and operate pan-European in-bound rail logistics over thousands of kilometres, as road transport becomes increasing cost and environmentally uncompetitive.

As a result of its strong EU and Marco Polo Programme contacts throughout Eastern Europe and the 'border states', FOCAL earth is ideally placed to develop and implement appropriate inter-continental rail strategies.

 

INTER-MODAL TERMINAL & ROLLING STOCK DEVELOPMENT - ARBEL FAUVET RAIL JR

"International rail networks are only as good as the quality of the services and facilities which their inter-modal terminals can offer." FOCAL earth is currently working with both public and private sector landowners, investors and developers across Europe to create and up-grade operationally flexible terminals.

Currently, the FOCAL earth team is engaged in working on over 44 such sites across Western Europe.

 

'CONTAINER TRAK'

Driven by FOCAL earth's customers' needs for secure and traced logistics information, FOCAL earth has radically developed a global multi-protocol telecommunications system which offers fully 'active' 24/7 ID and commodity control capabilities far in advance of today's local RFID solutions. By innovatively resolving many of the limiting factors to durable, long-term effectiveness in the working environment, the 'ContainerTrak' solution will substantially enhance security quality, reduce logistics costs and improve asset management on an affordable basis.

EUROPEAN INTER MODAL INFORMATION DATABASE - 'EIID'

The European Intermodal Information Database (EIID) is a programme of information gathering to support better use of European Rail Assets, involving both industry and academia. Frequently, available rail assets are under-utilised from a freight perspective simply because those who potentially might use such a facility do not know of its existence. The aim of the joint programme, for which grant funding is presently being sought, is to make such useful information accessible to those who need it. This can be end customers, 3PL/4PL Operators or even rail companies. Initially, the programme will focus on the automotive sector.

JCB POWERTRAIN

JCB timeline - Technical faults computer system to reduce costs in manufacturing.

JLR / TATA POWERTRAIN

JLR / TATA timeline - Technical faults computer system to reduce costs in manufacturing.

AMAZON PARK

Hitachi plant development of industrial plant with rail interface for the assembly of dual voltage trains.

EMERGENCY MEDICAL UNIT

More details coming soon...

THAILAND HIGH SPEED RAIL

More details coming soon...