MAN Truck & Bus
is managing director of Max Bögl Transport und Geräte. This internationally active construction company has its own fleet of around 300 trucks and a wide variety of MAN tractors. Peter Guttenberger is also Chairman of the Construction Industry, Environment and Machine Technology Association (VDBUM) and engages in partnership-based dialogue between construction companies and commercial vehicle manufacturers.
GUTTENBERGER Modular construction means that we assemble a building from prefabricated components – similar to the Lego principle. The building modules are manufactured in series production in large production halls. This makes us independent of the weather and we can build more quickly. Although modular construction does pose new challenges in terms of transportation. Our trucks now drive ready-to-use building elements to the construction site instead of raw materials.
GUTTENBERGER Yes, that's right. The more cargo space and payload the better. In many cases we can more efficiently exploit the maximum load of the trucks with modular building than in the past, but of course only in compliance with the technical and legal requirements. Our standardised components are designed so they can be stacked in a space-saving way.
GUTTENBERGER Exactly. Although we do need more large and heavy transport to bring entire large components – like a roof construction – to the construction site. This requires additional time and effort for planning and approvals. The main aspect of modular construction is that it reduces effort on the construction site, but the cost of transport increases. This makes trucks all the more important for the construction industry.
GUTTENBERGER Without trucks there's no construction. I guess that 95 per cent of the goods needed on a construction site – like stone, plaster and concrete – arrive there by truck. We use different trailers and superstructures depending on the application. This could for instance be a loading crane, a concrete mixer, a tipper or a trailer. Only in the rarest cases is it possible to transport building materials by rail, for example when we extend an industrial plant that has its own rail connection. Before a new building starts, we also need to excavate the soil, possibly demolish old buildings and cart away the rubble. This is naturally only possible using trucks.
GUTTENBERGER As high a payload as possible, a large loading area, cost-effectiveness and safety are the most important criteria for us. Basically construction companies like us don't dispatch a truck, but rather a trailer which unfortunately has to be towed by a tractor unit. Ideally we wouldn't need a tractor at all. The ideal truck of the future – like a driverless underground train – would consist of a large loading area from front to back. Driver and cab would no longer be required, since the loading area would drive itself. It could communicate intelligently with other construction equipment. Loading and unloading would be controlled via automation.
GUTTENBERGER To offer our drivers better conditions, I could imagine the development of a modular cab, in which the work area and private area are separated.
GUTTENBERGER Something like that. We want to utilise our truck investment as profitably as possible yet at the same time adhere to the driving and rest times. We therefore deploy multiple drivers on one truck. Sometimes they sleep overnight in the cab. This will continue to be allowed in the future. It's not very popular with the drivers, however, that they have to share the bed and refrigerator. A standardised modular cab, which could be replaced when the drivers change, would give each of them their own personal sphere.
GUTTENBERGER I can hardly imagine further increases in comfort for modern tractors. What is certain is that there will be incremental optimisation of efficiency, fuel consumption, maintenance, ergonomics and assistance systems. The transition to autonomous driving is sure to be ongoing. This development therefore remains exciting.