At Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL), 3D parts printing, 3D computer-aided design (CAD) and QR codes are among the technologies being adopted to help boost production efficiency.
Isuzu Australia Limited’s local product development centre and engineering department have working on various projects behind the scenes at the brand’s headquarters in Melbourne’s west.
In an industry first for a Japanese OEM, Isuzu staff locally and in Japan have worked to create a portal to provide 3D CAD models for Model Year 21 and beyond for access to approved truck body builders.
“This was an efficiency born out of the pandemic and one that’s been a genuine win-win for all involved,” explained Isuzu’s engineering support manager Jeff Gibson.
Isuzu says that due to increased industry demand and supply chain limitations, many Australian truck body builders are pushing forward scheduled body design work, before a customer’s truck has arrived or even been shipped.
Having millimetre perfect 3D CAD modelling in hand before the truck has arrived means a body and its mounting system can be designed and manufactured in advance.
“This speaks further to the complete Isuzu package, our focus on better supply chain operation and ultimately, to our customers receiving their truck as soon as possible,” Gibson said.
Another industry first for IAL’s engineering department is the recent implementation of QR code labels, attached to new model trucks, in responding to requirements under the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018.
“We made a decision to once again take the opportunity to look for efficiencies for our customers and find a better way of utilising existing, familiar technology,” Gibson said.
“We developed a website framework at IAL whereby the individual information of each truck model can be stored and accessed via individual QR codes attached to labelling on the inside trucks’ door frame.”
Everything from registration and VIN information, identification codes, warranty timelines, gross vehicle mass, combined mass through to the number of seats, can be accessed via a QR code.
“It’s introductory information but it is now easily accessible for a number of parties, from body builders, insurers, emergency services to the owners themselves.
“The potential for the smarter use of this technology is huge and we’re currently developing further ideas around the user experience of owning an Isuzu truck.”
IAL is also using 3D printing for quicker design progression and proof of concept for sample prototypes.
This could be something as simple as a mount for camera or an outrigger body mount bracket being tested or could involve more dimensionally accurate pieces.
Isuzu’s Engineering Department has expanded its printing program recently due to movement restrictions and prohibitive turnaround times, enabling it to problem-solve quickly, with the company says has added to its research and testing capabilities.
“As any student of the Australian truck market will tell you, there’s a level of product parity, in a general sense, between a number of competing brands,” said Gibson.
“You can expect to see some fairly similar traits between comparable models, products and services – for the most part.
“What sets Isuzu apart though, is our approach to the bigger picture. It’s a very deliberate attempt to find the best solution for our customers, wherever that solution can be sought.”