Konecranes opens a new chapter in technology with lithium-ion battery Automatic Guided Vehicles

- , 03/07/2017, 16:58


Konecranes, pioneer and technological innovator in terminal automation, has received an order from Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) in Germany for 25 Konecranes Gottwald Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) with lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery drives for the Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA). The order was booked in the first quarter of 2017.

The machines are scheduled to be delivered in spring 2018 together with six fully automated quick chargers, writing the next chapter of the AGV technology story for both Konecranes and HHLA.

Mika Mahlberg, Executive Vice President, Business Area Port Solutions, Konecranes, is pleased about this further cooperative step forward in innovation with HHLA: “The order is significant in several respects. It stands for continuity in customer relationships and in technological development. It also accentuates HHLA’s leading role with regard to the future of terminal automation.”

Jens Hansen, Board Member and Chief Operating Officer of HHLA: “Our CTA with its high degree of automation is already leading the way for container handling of the future, to which the AGV technology of Konecranes has made a major contribution. With our entry into lithium-ion battery drive technology, we are continuing to develop consistently in terms of efficient and sustainable container handling.”

HHLA and Konecranes have been partners in technology for many years. The first AGVs were supplied to Hamburg in 2001. These were equipped with diesel-hydraulic drives, but in 2006 there followed AGVs with a diesel-electric drive train and, in 2011, AGVs with lead-acid batteries were delivered. At the time, these were the first battery-driven AGVs on the market. To date, a total of nearly 100 AGVs have been delivered to CTA.

The battery-driven AGVs from Konecranes are now established in reliable fleet operation in automated terminals in Europe and the USA. Some 200 of the approximately 650 machines delivered since 1991 are fitted with a battery drive. Terminal operators benefit from the high efficiency of the drive train combined with particularly low energy consumption. Noise emissions have also been considerably reduced and exhaust emissions have been completely eliminated from the terminal. As the drives are less complex than diesel-hydraulic or diesel-electric drives, maintenance costs have been noticeably reduced.

Klaus Peter Hoffmann, Vice President, Integration, Port Solutions, Konecranes: “The battery technology for AGVs used in terminals has developed rapidly, particularly in the last three years. As the technology leader for AGVs, Konecranes is exploiting this dynamic development for its customers. With the Li-ion batteries, we are now able to offer terminal operators a battery with greater efficiency at lower deadweights and up to three times the number of charging cycles in comparison to lead-acid batteries.”

“Since the Li-ion batteries can be charged around four times faster, it is also possible to charge in the vehicle in connection with an automated quick charger. This also means that the electrification of brownfield AGV terminals can be facilitated without the need for major investment in the infrastructure. With this innovation, we are again leaping forward with AGV technology in terms of cost-effectiveness, and showing our continuity as a pioneer in this constantly evolving market," he further said.

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