A busy Asia-Pacific container handling terminal is pointing a way to the future for ports seeking to automate rubber-tyred gantry container handling systems to gain efficiency and safety benefits.
Terminal Petikemas Semarang (TPKS) in Semarang, Central Java, is the second-largest container terminal in the Pelindo III Group, which is an Indonesian State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) that manages 43 ports throughout seven provinces in Indonesia in order to ensure a smooth flow of goods throughout the archipelago. About 70 per cent of its container traffic consists of international cargo.
TPKS recently extended the world’s first commercially operated fleet of Konecranes Automated Rubber Tyre Gantry (ARTG) cranes with nine new ARTGs, as it boosts the safety and efficiency of its expanding operations. The new cranes bring TPKS’ fleet of ARTG cranes to 20, with the earlier ARTGs already operating successfully for more than two years. TPKS’ fleet is the first ARTG installation in the world to be operated on such a wide commercial scale.
TPKS’ ARTG cranes utilize a next-generation automation platform, including fully automated stacking in the yard, Remote Operating Stations (ROSs) for truck handling and the related container yard infrastructure.
The automated RTG system is built around Konecranes’ 16-wheel RTG, which Konecranes says is the only RTG in the world with the technically advanced features that enable it to maintain the highest level of performance whilst totally automated or remotely controlled.
With its holistic design and built-in tolerance for local variations, this crane was made for automation, says Konecranes, which has delivered more than 1000 RTGs of different types globally.
The holistic design combines an intelligent steel structure and Konecranes active load control technology, which enables the RTG to tolerate local variations in areas such as the run-way service, the stacking area and in the rubber tyres themselves. This creates the conditions for RTG automation and results in a safe, productive and predictable automated stacking operation.
“The Konecranes 16-wheel RTG is ideally suited to automation and providesan example of how to design for widely applicable future benefits. Not only can the crane be installed in its automated ARTG form, but also existing versions of the widely used 16-wheel RTG can be readily retrofitted. You can start with your current yard infrastructure as you move to fully automated RTG operation – step by step, block by block, to a fully automated yard,” says Konecranes Port Service APAC Regional Director, Mr Jukka Tukia.
Thomas Gylling, Marketing Director, Port Solutions, Konecranes, says the automation technology represents a turning point – “We can now automate all our RTG’s. Even the oldest models. The RTG is a great machine, but it’s more than just a machine. It is a system. It is a new category of container handling.”
This system will change the industry for the better, he says, because the benefits of automation are well-known and proven in automated rail-mounted gantry (RMG) operation: cost savings; greater productivity; greater predictability and safer operations. These benefits are now available for RTG-based container terminal operations that already use16-wheeled Konecranes RTG’s, which can be automated without major changes to the cranes themselves.
Konecranes’ Vice President of Technology, Port Solutions, Hannu Oja says: “It’s not just about adding components, it’s about the whole yard infrastructure. The ARTG offers process stability and greater safety. If you think about the container yard with several RTG’s, the automation operation will fundamentally change the yard operation.”
The business value will be significant. “When you combine automation benefits with the flexibility of Konecrane’s RTG’s, you’ll get something new. A new level of container handling,” says Mr Oja
The Konecranes ARTG system comprises Konecranes 16 wheel ARTG, equipped with active load control and autosteering, a remote operating station with an advanced graphical user interface, IT architecture that is seamlessly interfaced with the terminal operating system, and an intelligent gate, that acts as the traffic control of the ARTG container on the block.
The ARTG’s anti-collision technology is built on lasers and real-time relative positioning. Trucks are guided safely by a system that integrates truck-scanning and lights.Container picking and placing accuracy is ensured by an innovative scanning system. Automated gantry travelling is accomplished with dual antenna DGPS autosteering.
For existing RTGs converting to automation, electrification is recommended as part of the automation upgrade. Cable reel power is one option, but a busbar option is also applicable – and the company’s diesel fuel-saver technology is also available.
The range of different automation options are particularly useful for fleets considering modernisation or drive upgrades to existing cranes, to add automated functionality to reliable existing RTGs.
The automation process is flexible and widely applicable. But given that automated RTG operation is a powerful thing – which can deliver cost-savings, improved safety, more predictable productivity and greater reliability -why have only a few container terminals implemented automated RTGs so far?
Mr Tukia says one reason was the difficulty of safely separating man and machine within the automated container handling process. Another was how the technology must handle the rough operating conditions of RTG yards.
“The technology involved needs to be able to be retrofitted in a brownfield scenario. And it needs to be proven and ready in a greenfield scenario. You get all of this in the Konecranes 16-wheel ARTG system, which went into service successfully in 2016, with other sites following since.”
“Now you get the latest technology for fully automated truck handling, carried out in a supervised operating mode. The remote supervisor can easily handle up to five ARTG’s at the same time. Even inexperienced remote supervisors can land containers accurately and quickly on the truck trailer.”
ARTG Version 2.0
“Konecranes is taking the RTG automation process a stage further with its ARTG Version 2.0, which can be retrofitted into any brownfield container terminal. It can fit any container stack envelope because it uses space very effectively. Additionally, truck handling is automated, with remote supervision. One remote supervisor can handle up to five ARTGs simultaneously,” says Mr Tukia.
ARTG version 2.0 cranes are equipped with the latest wireless communication technology, including control signals and video signals that are now wireless. This means that the ARTGs can be diesel-powered and there is no need for cable reels and fibre optics.
“The Konecranes ARTG system version 2.0 will be instrumental in driving the evolution of RTG-based container terminals to fully automated operation in the future,” says Mr Tukia.
“With Konecranes ARTG2.0, there’s no need for truck lane fencing. ARTG 2.0 has a redesigned safety concept built on the ARTG. “We like to call it the ‘street bogie’. It fits in your current yard envelope. This enablesfree truck flow with a bypass lane as you know it in conventional RTG yards,” he says.
Trucks flow freely, going under the ARTG’s and using the bypass lane to go in and out. The ARTG’s have wireless video and control signals. This enables automation for RTG’s, powered by diesel gensets, which are still today the most common power choice.
The ARTG’s can quickly switch between container blocks and get to work without recalibration. The system comes with the advanced equipment control system teams by TBA/GBA. Konecranes ARTG 2.0 – automation for any container yard, with uncompromised performance guaranteed, says Mr Tukia.
“Being able to switch between container blocks without recalibration is a major commercial advantage. Additionally, it’s advantageous for maintenance, including component changes,” he said.
Claims Proven in Service
The new ARTG cranes in service at TKPS have demonstrated automation’s benefits in service – “TPKS is constantly striving to improve our facilities to meet customer needs and boost our competitiveness. Konecranes is constantly innovating its products to meet container terminal needs, and by choosing them to provide new ARTG cranes, we have taken our operations to the next level of safety and efficiency,” says Mr Recky Julius Uruilal, General Manager, TPKS.
“The new ARTG cranes minimize the risk of workplace accidents, which not only improves our workplace, but gives our customers greater confidence in us,” says Mr Recky.
“As Pelindo III updates to the latest and most modern equipment in line with the needs of its customers, we know there will be lots of new knowledge to acquire. Konecranes’ neat and detailed documentation, plus their experienced and helpful staff, have been very helpful in this process,” he says.
Mr Tukia, is delighted to see Pelindo III’s readiness to power their business process with advanced technology.“The latest Konecranes technology installed at Pelindo III provides efficiency improvements in many areas, including operational efficiency, efficiency in utilising manpower, and efficiency in maintenance and support functions through modern tools such as TRUCONNECT® remote monitoring,” he said.
“Konecranes’ customer focus is on entire service solutions. Once cranes are delivered to customers like Pelindo III and TPKS, we can take complete responsibility for the service and maintenance of the equipment, to optimize its performance and safety over its entire lifecycle,” says Mr Tukia.
As the world’s leading crane service organization, with more than 600,000 pieces of lifting equipment under service contract worldwide, Konecranes is ideally placed to provide the latest and most advanced service to any organization using cranes or lifting equipment.
“The service and maintenance technologies Konecranes provide us with are world-class. They help us maintain the highest levels of safety, and they can also plan our maintenance schedules more effectively so that we have minimal downtime,” says Mr Recky.