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Engineering Materials
Plastics Deliver Massive Weight Savings for UPS
7/20/2012

United Parcel Service is planning to shift to composites and other plastics for many of the structural components in its brown delivery trucks, as shown in this prototype.   (Source: UPS)
United Parcel Service is planning to shift to composites and other plastics for many of the structural components in its brown delivery trucks, as shown in this prototype.
(Source: UPS)

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Greg M. Jung
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Cutting Edge Cost Savings
Greg M. Jung   7/22/2012 1:01:03 PM
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I've always admired the UPS way of continuously and effectively improving their processes and equipment to find new and innovative ways to squeeze additional profits from a their business.  'Brown' is not the most glamourous company, but they continue to impress me with their forward thinking improvements such as this one.

sensor pro
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Re: Fuel costs
sensor pro   7/22/2012 9:41:56 AM
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Good point. If it is possible, then all of them should use it. The fact it will be done here is a big plus for our own workforce. Lets hope they do it.

Tim
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Fuel costs
Tim   7/21/2012 9:33:53 AM
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Hopefully, these new truck designs can migrate their way to other delivery services like FedEx.  If it does, I hope that the Fuel Surcharge that now is part of the shipping costs start to reduce.

NadineJ
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Re: good for International
NadineJ   7/20/2012 10:07:33 PM
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Very often, roads in developing countries, such as India or Nigeria, are consistently in various states of disrepair.  Lighter vehicles lead to fewer potholes and damage to roads.  Here in California, there have been debates to make parts of I5, in Los Angeles, semi-truck free in order to lessen the cost of constant repair due to heavy trucks.

If the cargo weight remains the same but the vehicle weight is lighter, it's a small step in the right direction.

And, if the new UPS vehicles are manufactured locally, even better.  Other companies could benefit from the technology.

Charles Murray
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Re: Smart strategy for cost efficiencies
Charles Murray   7/20/2012 6:43:41 PM
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Ann, any idea what the initial cost difference to the truck manufacturers is? 

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: Impressive savings
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   7/20/2012 5:59:10 PM
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40% fuel savings after 900 pounds reduction in weight is remarkable.  Really makes you rethink the whole alternative fuel programs.  If that is indeed the case, then congratulations to UPS, but even more so to the Truck Maker, UtiliMaster.   The list of items that underwent experimental material updates is lengthy, and they should be recognized for that engineering effort. 

Now, I wonder if they are locked to an exclusive with UPS to distribute the vehicles --- or, are able to market their new success to other freight companies, DHL, FEDEX, etc-?  It all depends on who paid for the light-weight materials research.  Ann Thryft mentioned some bit of insight to that query ,,,,,,

Dave Palmer
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Re: good for International
Dave Palmer   7/20/2012 5:47:24 PM
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@NadineJ: Why do you think these trucks would be better for developing countries? I'm not disagreeing with you, but I'm not sure I understand your reasoning.

Rob Spiegel
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Impressive savings
Rob Spiegel   7/20/2012 2:26:08 PM
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A 40 percent savings is significant and impressive. It's hard to believe that plastics and composites are that much lighter than aluminum. Any word on the durability and crash resistance with the new materials?

NadineJ
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good for International
NadineJ   7/20/2012 12:37:49 PM
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Agreed that these are very good for US urban markets but also good for international cities with older roads.  The mass retail expansion from the west into India, for example, will require more international shipments.  I wouldn't want to be on a road in Mumbai along side one of the current UPS trucks.

Now, they need to update the uniforms and logo.  I'm inspired!

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Smart strategy for cost efficiencies
Ann R. Thryft   7/20/2012 12:13:29 PM
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Beth, thanks for that input about other mass transit and delivery projects using new materials. UPS is certainly not alone: the company building these trucks, Utilimaster, has made similar delivery vehicles for other companies, including Federal Express.

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