Kalmar has developed brand new combined camera and laser applications for the automation of HHLAs Container Terminal Buchardkai (CTB) in Hamburg.
Focus in the first stages of work at CTB has been on fine-tuning the measuring algorithms needed to secure reliability of the camera and laser systems, which is fundamental to the projects success. Commercially available hardware and software platforms have been used as a basis from which Kalmar has developed the new application technology.
HHLA has chosen Kalmar to supply an automatic stacking crane (ASC) system and related technology in phase one of the CTB conversion project. Kalmar will equip the first five yard stacking blocks with 15 ASCs, along with their automation and control systems, during 2007 and 2008.
According to Jorma Tirkkonen, President of Kalmar Intelligence and Automation, the doubling of handling capacity at CTB while the terminal is in full operation is a demanding challenge. The project is based on Kalmars automatic stacking crane technology, upon which control and monitoring systems will be built.
Container positioning system
Accurate container positioning is essential. The automated stacking cranes must keep the container stacks within certain limits, which can be problematic in heavy winds, at high transfer speeds and on uneven ground.
At CTB, container positioning will be implemented by a camera and laser system, which utilises reference points on the ground, explains Mr Tirkkonen. The ASC spreader is equipped with four cameras showing the corners of the container, which assist it in automatically placing the container in the right position.
On the land side of the terminal, loading and unloading of road trucks will be remotely controlled with the assistance of cameras. Thus the camera will serve as the operators eyes.
The camera system is also used to speed up stacking in the automated mode.
Communication is vital
The most advanced communications technology is crucial for this project. Information is passed through different channels of an optical fibre, conveying both control system and video image information.
Information transfer must also be very reliable, explains Mr Tirkkonen. Therefore, communication channels have been secured so that if something happens, say, the cable is broken, the system will not be vulnerable.
Block system reliability is also critical. As such, the blocks are equipped with three cranes each so that if one is out of order, the two other machines can undertake its work.
Kalmar will implement the automation as a distributed solution, with a dedicated computer, or server, for each block. Each server is run by the same software and neighbouring servers back each other up. The system is thus easily and flexibly expandable whenever necessary. Multiple computers will ensure high reliability.
Cooperation with IT system suppliers
Kalmar will also supply a traffic signal system for the ship-side transportation where manual straddle carriers are employed. The terminal operating system will be provided by another supplier, while Kalmar focuses on machine technology and related automation. However, the two suppliers will co-operate closely.
Communication with the upper level system is important. A typical automation system must be able to communicate with a number of other systems, says Mr Tirkkonen. According to Mr Tirkkonen, Kalmars trump card is the synergy between its competence in machine technology and in automation. Kalmar is thoroughly acquainted with port conditions. The automation supplier must understand the full process, otherwise the solution cant be successful for all users. This kind of embedded activity is a growing trend in the market.
At CTB, Kalmar has to fulfil certain performance requirements and operational guarantees. The commissioning of the renewed terminal can be efficiently supported by Kalmars remote interface service, so progress can be monitored from the engineering and support centre at the factory.
The CTB project has been running for four months now. Preliminary work is far advanced and the specifications for the different systems will be completed by the end of June. The main software blocks will be completed in July / August and integration testing will start in September / October. The first test phase will be a simulation, thus minimising the time needed for field testing. The first ASC block will be in place in early 2007.
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The caption for the photograph reads:
An artists impression of how operations will look at HHLAs Container Terminal Buchardkai when phase one of the new Kalmar automatic stacking crane system is in place in 2007/2008.
Kalmar is a global provider of container and heavy duty materials handling equipment, automation applications and related services. It is the world's leading supplier of cargo handling equipment to ports, terminals and intermodal facilities.
Every fourth container or trailer transfer at terminals around the world is handled by a Kalmar machine. The company also supplies a wide range of machines to demanding industrial customers for applications as diverse as handling steel and paper to shunting road trailers at distribution hubs.
Kalmar is also leading the way in port automation applications with its application of unmanned container handling technology, on-board smart features and remote maintenance products developed in co-operation with customers and partners.
Kalmar's product range is complemented by a large range of value added services such as maintenance contracts and fleet management. Production plants are situated in Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Malaysia, China and the USA. Kalmars net sales were EUR 1,147 million in 2005.
Kalmar is part of Cargotec Corporation, the world's leading provider of cargo handling solutions, which are used in local transportation, terminals, ports, distribution centers, and ships. In 2005 Cargotec's net sales exceeded EUR 2.3 billion. Cargotec's class B shares are listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange.
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