Urban logistics is one of the ten trends that supply chain managers and material handling engineers are going to have to grapple with over the next few decades. Can we put warehouses inside our cities?
We do today. There is a major apparel distribution center occupying an entire city block in Brooklyn, New York. The Bronx has another. You would not recognize either of these facilities for what they are because from the street they look like retail shops. If you walked around the block, however, you might notice that there is only one very large building taking up the entire block. There may be an office entry along one of the side streets, and loading dock doors in the back, but there are no other indications of what is inside the brick building that takes up an entire city block.
Who said that American ingenuity is gone? Have you ever seen an industrial-strength air guitar?
One of the areas of study I followed when I went back to college was fluid power. Compressed air is a fluid power, as is hydraulics. The brake system in your car is an example of an everyday fluid power system. Where hydraulics can transfer impressive power in pressure, air is great for the transfer of the lightest of power, when control is more important than power.
I remember using Clippard miniature air valves and cylinders in several college projects in the fluid power lab. They were little gems of machines, tough enough to take the everyday abuse that a bunch of college-age future industrial engineers and industrial managers could dish out. I took both fluid power and advanced electronics controls the same year, and while my projects in electronics did not always work the first time, the fluid power projects always did.