Transportation challenges: Coca-Cola & wind turbine blades

Common transportation challenges between 1,5L Coca-Cola bottles and 54M wind turbine blades

Everybody will agree that both a 1,5 L Coca-cola bottle and a 54M wind turbine blade have a lot of differences but a few million people working in logistics will immediately recognize some common challenges!


Source: Transoft solutions

If you remember, a few months ago we launched a competition to improve the maritime transportation of wind turbine blades.

Such blades are being manufactured somewhere but need to be moved for final installation at wind farms, far away. Transportation is performed first by road and then by ship, well … this depends on the origin and destination.

Similar stacking



Our challenge here was to find the best stacking solution from a volume point of view and from a handling process (you can imagine how complex can be to manipulate a 54 M long blade! Well, nothing comparable to a 1,5 M Coca-Cola).



Source: F Martin-Mora SL

People from many countries joined our competition and our engineering community found a way to optimize the stacking and reduce the shipping volume up to 24%! And this goes to a direct cost reduction in maritime transportation cost… not bad!

But,… before going to the Coca-cola example, we invite you to dream for a while with these futurist technologies to transport blades using zeppelins! These are fresh technologies and innovations coming soon … so use your passenger belt!

Now, let’s look at the 1,5 L Coca-Cola transportation challenge!

Unit transportation volume is small compared to the blades, however, the number of transported units is tremendously higher! … And looking at the labor-intensive character of the handling of the bottles from production until the shelf delivery, including the return-cycle of empty bottles and crates, the Dutch retailer Albert Heijn and Coca-Cola launched a project called ESSO and invited the  Flex/TheInnovation Lab to help them redesign the packaging.

Source: Coca-Cola tray by Flex/The Innovation Lab

This dutch innovation agency, inspired by packaging for eggs, developed a new system that doesn’t require individual handling of crates and bottles until the consumer buys a Coke!

The new system is a big cost-saver for Albert Heijn: A reduced overall labor costs by approximately 15 million euro a year and direct material cost savings of over 1 million euro!

David Butler. Photo: Brett Falcon.


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