FREDD is a traffic scheduling system that maintains a continuous supply of agricultural product to a milling location by managing the trips for the fleet of trucks that supply that mill.
The scheduling strategy is based on a “Just in Time” principle with an ultimate goal of a zero yard stock at the mill, and each delivery arriving just in time to maintain a continuous supply of product at the mill.
Achieving these goals minimises transport costs and capital costs in bin stocks as bins are reused throughout the day.
FREDD works best when combined with telemetry in the harvesting fleet to notify the mill when and where product is ready to pick up in real time, and the ETA calculator that continually estimates the time of arrival of each vehicle in the fleet.
In normal operation, FREDD calculates the following a trip schedule that ensures that a continuous supply of cane for crushing is available at the mill and , at the same time ensure that cane is crushed with minimal cut to crush delay whenever possible.
It is also schedule driver shift change times are scheduled accurately to minimise any labour penalties and OH and S issues such as driver fatigue, as well as maximum maintainable crush rate. There are interfaces to forward information on the health of the supply chain to the factory control system in real time, so the factory can run at optimal efficiency.
FREDD’s outputs include:
The automatic traffic-scheduling program that has been developed operates in real time in order to provide the flexibility and capability to react immediately to changes in:
- Mill crushing rate,
- Average bin weight,
- Changes in trip time due to variable road conditions such as fog, rain, holiday traffic and road works
- the number of trucks available at any time, to allow for breakdowns.
The operation of FREDD is enhanced when it has the best available information about current harvest progress available to it.
SweetNet is a product that works on touch screen computers located in the harvesters that allow them to notify the mill when cane is ready to be picked up and from where (termed consignment).
Communications from the harvesters to the mill is through mobile networks.
The result is that the mill can be notified when and where product is ready to be picked up, and this data can be added to a queue of available options for supply to the mill.
This technology and web enablement of the devices has allowed a range of ancillary features to be developed on these on-board computers and their capacity to link to the mill systems including:
FREDD ETA calculator is a web based system that can receive the truck locations from various other tracking systems and integrate with FREDD to provide estimated time of arrival information of those trucks back to the mill.
It has a map interface that allows receivals staff can see where the truck fleet are in real time, as well as get information on what each vehicle is doing.
The trips that each truck is assigned to are maintained by FREDD, and the ETA Calculator provides back the status of the trip and ETA back to FREDD.
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