New facilities look to create future trucks
As engine manufacturers continue to look for new ways to run truck engines, research centers are popping up all over the planet.
“Shell Lubricants three months ago pulled the curtain back on a new research and development facility in Shanghai, China – the company’s third worldwide Global Technology Center dedicated to lubricants and oils, joining complementary facilities in Hamburg, Germany, and Houston, Texas,” Overdrive Magazine recently reported.
The new facility is a “Proposed Category 11 next-gen engine oils, a general update on lubricants technology, a global energy and alternative fuel outlook and Shell’s growing lubricants presence in China.”
The new facilities join the company’s more than $1 billion in annual R&D spending, says Selda Gunsel, Shell’s VP of Downstream Global Commercial Technology, and they drive home the point that the company views itself as much a research and innovation company as an oil marketer, said James Shen, General Manager of Shell Lubricants in Hong Kong.
The new research center is another example of the continued growth of new generation engine research, which is changing the future of commercial trucks.
The Shell plant isn’t the only example of a growing investment in trucking research.
TruckingInfo.com recently reported that “Volvo Trucks is making a $69 million investment in new equipment and processes while embarking on a plant redesign that it says will further improve manufacturing efficiency and vehicle quality at its New River Valley truck assembly plant in Dublin, Va.”
Volvo officials said the investment will allow the company to increase production.
“This investment will spur significant improvements in material handling and parts flow that will allow us to increase throughput and reduce tied-up capital,” said Vice President and General Manager Lars Blomberg. “In addition to helping us further improve product quality, the redesign and additional equipment will also provide our employees with an even safer and more ergonomic working environment.”
The enhancements will include energy-efficient upgrades to the paint facility that will increase North American paint capacity and deliver better quality. New racking and storage systems, docks, and lifting devices, together with the redesign of a variety of work areas, will allow improved material delivery, according to Volvo Trucks.
“The NRV plant and the passion of its employees are a competitive advantage for Volvo Trucks,” said Göran Nyberg, president, Volvo Trucks North American sales and marketing. “This investment gives them the tools to continue optimizing delivery precision and quality for our customers.”