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Ingenuity on the move

Cranes with brains

Euromax The modern automatic container terminal
Uno Bryfors, Hans Cederqvist, Bjrn Henriksson, Andrew Spink

T he shipping container which

was introduced during the 1960ies
has revolutionized shipping and
port operations. During 2006, the
worlds ports will handle approxi-
mately 300 million containers, ship-
ping an innumerable variety of prod-
ucts. With the push for increased pro-
ductivity and enhanced efficiency, the
automated handling of cargo is be-
coming a necessity.

The introduction of the shipping con-

tainer has reduced costs and signifi-
cantly increased the volume of goods
that is being transported by ship. Sea
containers are 8 feet wide and 8,5 or
9,5 feet high. The most common con-
tainer lengths are 20 feet long de-
fined as one TEU (twenty feet equiva-
lent unit) and 40 feet (2 TEU). Before
the container was introduced, the on
and off-loading process was so slow
that ships had to remain in port for
weeks at a time. Today, a large con-
tainer ship carrying a total of 6000
Containerization has been a catalyst in the growth of global trade. One of 9000 TEUs can typically exchange
the ingredients of its success is that it has driven down transportation 4000 to 5000 TEUs (up to 50,000 tons)
costs significantly to the point that shipping accounts for only a small in less than 24 hours.
part of the products price-tag. To further raise productivity, the ports of
the world are seeking to automate handling. This breakthrough in efficiency has
been an important factor in the rapid
globalization of world trade and man-
In a modern container terminal more than 10,000 boxes are moved
ufacturing. Transport costs now make
every day. Every one of these moves is unique it has to be performed up a very small part of the products
quickly and to the right destination without interfering with other price-tag.
containers, cranes or vehicles. These moves were previously performed
using manually operated equipment but technology from ABB now In recent years, automation has revo-
facilitates the full automation of these operations. lutionized many industries. Port oper-
ators have been slower to take advan-
tage of automation. The size of the
containers, cranes and terminals as
well as around the clock operation in

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Cranes with brains

Ingenuity on the move

all kinds of weather conditions, pres- This year, automation systems for six During 2005, potential suppliers for
ent substantial challenges. This has yard cranes in the port of Kaohsiung, the automatic terminal were evaluat-
called for development of dedicated Taiwan have been put into service, ed. ABB won the order for electrical
equipment and control concepts. and deliveries to the large Euromax and automation equipment, with
project in the Dutch port of Rotterdam Zhenhua Port Machinery Company
Today proven automation technology have begun. (ZPMC) of Shanghai, China, being
is available to reliably handle the chosen for the mechanical part of the
machines and conditions required for Euromax cranes.
efficient and economical operation . . . The Euromax shipping terminal is a
joint venture by Hutchinson-Whampoa Process flow in Euromax
ABB takes the lead of Hong-Kong, and AP Mller of The process flow 1 and the types of
ABB is leading the way in the automa- Denmark two of the largest terminal cranes used, will be basically the same
tion of the container port industry, re- operators in the world. Their objective as what is used in CTA. Containers are
sulting in better utilization of resourc- is to design, build and operate a new unloaded/loaded from the vessel by
es and reduced costs for the ship terminal in Rotterdam, utilizing ad- means of a ship-to-shore crane (STS)
owner, the port operator and, ulti- vanced technology in order to keep 1a 2 . Such a crane typically weighs

mately, the consumer. ABB has deliv- ship berthing times short and cost per 15002200 tons and makes
ered automation and electrical systems handled container low. 35 to 50 moves per hour. In each
to a large number of automatic yard move one to four containers are trans-
cranes and ship-to-shore cranes all
over the world thereby becoming
1 Container handling within an automatic terminal
the market leader in this segment.
ABB played the leading role in sup-
a ship-to-shore crane
plying 52 fully automated yard-cranes
b automatic guided vehicle
to Container Terminal Altenwerder c container storage area
(CTA) in Hamburg (title picture) the d automatic rail-mounted gantry crane
most advanced container terminal in e road truck
the world operation of which started b f internal transporter truck
in 2002. g manually controlled gantry
crane for rail wagons

Euromax at a glance

Phase I of the terminal, built for 2,100,000

TEU/y, will be taken into commercial opera- g

tion in 2007 and will require the following

handling equipment: e

12 large ship-to-shore cranes

4 barge cranes
58 automatic RMGs (rail-mounted gantry
cranes) 2 With modern ship-to-shore cranes a ship with 4000-5000 TEU (twenty feet equivalent)
2 manual RMGs for rail wagons to unload/load can be handled in less than 24 hours

The ABB integrated crane control system

Over 300 ACS 800 crane drives
1600 AC motors from 10 to 700 kW
Medium voltage switchgear and
Low voltage crane distribution
AC 800 crane control systems
Advanced sensors
Terminal wide maintenance and
Cameras and remote operating

The crane equipment is fitted to the cranes

at the crane manufacturers site and is
commissioned at the Euromax terminal.

ABB Review 3/2006 57

Cranes with brains

Ingenuity on the move

ported between the ship and the dock. In order to meet these targets, several able operation with minimum main-
STSs are operated semi-automatic with technical issues had to be resolved: tenance
a driver located in a cabin on the trol- Design of equipment for the harsh Handling of large flexible crane
ley about 50m above the quay. The crane environment, enabling reli- structures
container is automatically loaded on Fast and accurate automatic opera-
an AGV (automatic guided vehicle) 1b tion
3 which takes the container to a stor- Handling of ground/rail conditions
3 Automated handling of containers using
age area 1c . This area is divided into allowing cost efficient civil engi-
automatic guided vehicles and automatic
blocks, each covered by two automatic neering concepts
rail mounted gantry cranes
rail-mounted gantry cranes (ARMG) 1d Flexibility handling of various
3 . The container is picked up by one container as well vehicle types
of these and moved to the desired Safe interfacing to manned equip-
position in the block this operation ment
is performed fully automatically.

The location of the container in the

During 2006, the worlds
storage area is chosen by the Terminal ports will handle approxi-
Operating System (TOS) an advanced mately 300 million con-
process control system from which the
ARMGs receive their work-orders. tainers.
Containers to be forwarded by land ABB automation technology
are loaded onto road trucks 1e or onto The ABB standardized ARMG and STS
internal trucks 1f for transport to a crane automation packages are based
railway loading point 1g inside the ter- on fast and accurate measurement of
minal area. All operations of Load position
the ARMGs are fully auto- Target position
4 Supervision of automated rail-mounted gantry cranes at
matic except the handling of Obstacles positions
CTA Hamburg
road trucks at the land-side combined with advanced
interface, where manual su- load control
pervision of the movement
is a safety requirement due Load position measurement
to interaction with the truck The Load Positioning System
driver. From when the load (LPS) 5 consists of a camera
reaches a limit a few meters equipped with a video proces-
above a road truck, until it sor and an infrared transmitter
clears the same level on the box mounted on the spreader.
way back to the container The transmitter includes a
stack, the motion is con- number of infrared markers,
trolled by an operator in a each of which the camera
remote office 4 (one super- identifies to an accuracy of
visor for eight to twelve better then a millimeter.
ARMGs) using four to six
5 The load positioning system uses infrared sensors to identify
compact cameras located The control system then uses
the precise load position
on the crane. the positions of the markers
d e to calculate the position and
Port operations orientation of the load rela-
The key performance indica- tive to the trolley. This infor-
tors for a container port are: mation is used as feedback

Berth productivity how Load
v = speed
into the position and motion
v=0 a = max v = constant a = max v=0
fast is a vessel unloaded a=0
a = acceleration controllers to ensure maxi-
and re-loaded. mum precision.
Yard-crane productivity load speed
Speed, angle
Number of containers han- load angle Target and obstacle position
dled per yard area c trolley speed measurement
Service time for road v, The TPS (Target Positioning
b d
trucks a
System) uses a high precision
Energy cost per TEU time laser beam that is directed by
Labour productivity how a series of controlled mirrors
many containers per man- to enable three-dimensional
year scanning 6 . In ARMG appli-

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Cranes with brains

Ingenuity on the move

cations, one or two of these scanners reproducibility build stacks of loaded mum approach for the load, with
are mounted on the trolley and used containers of up to 25m in height with rope lengths of 350 meters and
for a number of tasks within the auto- a tolerance of just a few cm. with trolley and hoist speeds of
matic sequences. During automatic 300 m/min and 200 m/min respec-
operations within the stack, the TPS is tively.
used to locate the exact position and
The Target Positioning Positioning without final adjust-
size of the target container, check the System is used to locate ments
clearance to adjacent stacks and verify the exact position and The TPS provides continuous mea-
the positions of the containers as they surements of the target position en-
are stacked. size of the target contain- abling the load control to aim di-
er, check the clearance rectly for the actual target position.
The TPS is also used to generate cor-
rection references when operating con-
to adjacent stacks and Integration of information
tainers in transfer areas with both auto- verify the positions of the Automatic cranes receive orders from
matic and manually driven vehicles. containers as they are the Terminal Operating System (TOS).
Additionally, the TPS is used to identify The TOS optimizes the yard utiliza-
positions of obstacles which can influ- stacked. tion, while the crane control system
ence the path of the hanging load. find the optimal transport path and is
Load control responsible for collision avoidance.
The LPS and TPS jointly enable the ABB The ABB load control is based on a
yard cranes to swiftly and with a high software model of the physics of the The crane control system manages the
hanging load. This include algorithms interaction with and deployment of
to control the pendulum movements remote crane operators. It also con-
6 The target positioning system uses
in trolley, gantry and skew (rotation trols safe access for vehicles and staff
a precision laser and mirrors to identify
around the plumb line) directions, into the automated area.
with great precision the box to be
which ensue every time a container is
lifted and transported 7 . Large fleets of cranes makes it neces-
sary to integrate the terminal wide
With the position feedback from the maintenance and monitoring functions
800 800 load position sensor external influenc- with the logistic and operations infor-
es such as wind and asymmetrical mation. This provides operations as
loading can also taken into account. well as maintenance staff with a com-
Optimum productivity is reached plete overview and control of the termi-
based on: nal as well as decision making support.
Short but safe load path
By traveling the shortest route, over ABB and ports
LPS the landscape of containers, sub- ABB has developed an automation con-
stantial time is saved. The path is cept for container cranes enabling au-
calculated based on measurements tomation to be combined with efficient
by the TPS. crane and terminal designs. Modern
Fast approach to target control theory ensures fast handling.
The model based load sway and po- Innovative sensors provide the flexibili-
sition control calculates the opti- ty needed in practical operation.

By providing standardized integrated

7 The automated movement of the trolley must take into account the sway of
systems including electrical and drive
the container
equipment and automation and termi-
nal wide information management,
ABB enables the rapid introduction of
automation in new as well as existing

Uno Bryfors
Hans Cederqvist
Bjrn Henriksson
Andrew Spink
ABB Process Automation (Business unit Marine)
Vasteras, Sweden

ABB Review 3/2006 59