Automate The Freight: Shipping Containers Sorted By Robot Stevedores

Towering behemoths are prowling the docks of Auckland, New Zealand, in a neverending shuffle of shipping containers, stacking and unstacking them like so many out-sized LEGO bricks. And they’re doing it all without human guidance.
It’s hard to overstate the impact containerized cargo has had on the modern world. The ability to load and unload ships laden with containers of standardized sizes rapidly with cranes, and then being able to plunk those boxes down onto a truck chassis or railcar carrier for land transportation has been a boon to the world’s economy, and it’s one of the main reasons we can order electronic doo-dads from China and have them show up at our doors essentially for free. At least eventually.
As with anything, solving one problem often creates other problems, and containerization is no different. The advantages of being able to load and unload one container rather than separately handling the dozen or more pallets that can fit inside it are obvious. But what then does one do with a dozen enormous containers? Or hundreds of them?
That’s where these giant self-driving cranes come in, and as we’ll see in this installment of “Automate the Freight”, these autonomous stevedores are helping ports milk as much value as possible out of containerization.

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Stretch Bike Hauls All

cargobike

Need to haul some stuff? Got nothing to haul it with? Then fashion yourself a cargo bicycle! We’ve seen cargo bikes before, but none quite like this one. Built from a German “klapprad”, [Morgan] and his father fashioned a well constructed cargo bicycle which is sure to come in handy for many years.

They started by cutting the bike in half and welding in a 1 meter long square tubing extension. The klapprad style bicycle is made from thick metal stock, making it sturdy and easy to weld. This process also make it a true “stretch” vehicle as opposed to one that replaces the front end in order to keep the handle bar assembly near the rider.

Along with some nicely done woodwork and carbon fiber, they used parts from an old mountain bike including a front fork, front bearing and handlebar, tubing from an old steel lamp, a kickstand from a postman motorcycle, and a kitchen sink to complete the build. It should handle well so long as the weight of the cargo is not heavier than the weight of the driver.

[Clement] Sees The Cargo Bike And Raises A Bicycle Cargo Trailer

[Clement] and his friends were going on a long bike tour and needed a way to carry their gear along with them. They set to work and managed to build this cargo trailer from mostly reused materials.

The only part of this trailer that is reused junk is the connection mechanism that lets you attach it to just about any bike. That was made (presumably in a machine shop) to act as a removable pipe clamp, making it pretty quick to swap between different bikes. It has a universal joint welded to it so that the angle of the seat post won’t affect how the trailer rides.

A goose neck keeps the trailer far enough back to avoid getting in the way of the rear wheel. The mesh basket was made from parts of an old industrial machine. The rear wheel is attached with a swing-arm that has what looks like a rubber bumper to act as a shock absorber. But if you want to make sure a big bump doesn’t send your luggage flying, [Clement] included a picture at the bottom of his post showing a much nicer spring shock on a different bike trailer.

If you’re confused by the title of this post you must have missed the cargo bike that was recently featured.

Stretch-bike

This long bike is built for haulin’. After needing to find a truck to transport his welding equipment (ironically in order to build another bike) [Nick Johnson] decided it was time to make a two-wheeled cargo transport. He extended the frame in order to add a cradle in the front. Eventually there will be sides on that box but for now it works like a charm for transporting his groceries. With the long wheel-base this should be pretty stable as long as you balance your cargo. We’d certainly be more apt to try a ride on this rather than the double-decker death-trap from a few weeks ago.