Freight Shuttle has established its own fabrication facility in Webster, Texas, to support rapid prototyping and design flexibility in the development of the Freight Shuttle prototype vehicles and guideway elements. ZAMTEK provides design engineering services and manages the fabrication facility. Self-performing the fabrication provided the efficiencies to bring the Freight Shuttle System (FSS) from final design to reality within a few months rather the few years that would’ve otherwise been required.
New, Cutting-Edge Fabrication Facility
The state-of-the art, 7,500 square-foot space is designed to support rapid prototyping and allow the fabrication team to transition directly from the design phase to fabricating components without intervening steps and delays. The facility is equipped with two gantry cranes, a plasma cutting table, and five welding machines and is capable of fabricating and assembling the numerous components that make up the autonomous prototype transporters and the customized structural steel pieces that comprise the test guideways and loading bay.
The fabrication team is a group of skilled and experienced craftsmen certified and trained in the latest welding, fabrication, fitting, and assembly process technologies.
Integrated Design and Fabrication Teams
The close integration of the design and fabrication teams allows for designs to be sent directly from the CAD to the high-definition plasma cutter, saving substantial time and money and allowing greater flexibility in the design process.
This rapid prototyping process—which takes CAD drawings directly into the component cutting, fitting, and assembly process—is vital to the success of the FSS development. Design changes can be done on the spot, with approved changes being made by the fitting team once an improvement is identified. Without this design flexibility, drawings would need to be revised and approved, resubmitted to the fabricator, and the component recut, refitted, and reassembled. Rapid prototyping cuts time and costs from the process, shrinking turnaround time for improvements and changes from days (or even weeks) to hours.