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Four means to drive uptime in automated terminals

December 7, 2017

In automated terminals, focusing on digital services from a maintenance and operations perspective can help boost productivity.

While improving uptime enables businesses to grow and profitability to increase both in the short and long term, even the most successful ramp up means little if operations are unreliable in the long run. As an example of a ramp up success story, Tero Jaakkola, Product Manager, Automated Rail Mounted Gantry (ARMG) cranes at Konecranes cites the case of the Port of Semarang in Indonesia. Konecranes had delivered a fleet of automated rubber tired gantry (ARTG) cranes to the port in 2016.

To provide context, Jaakkola describes the discussion in recent years as to whether Rubber Tired Gantry (RTG) cranes can be used in automated terminals or not. He asserts that nowadays, this has proven to be possible, and that in increasingly automated port environments, RTGs are performing well.

“When looking at the ramp up period of the Port of Semarang project in 2016, we were able to double production volumes of Automated RTG operations each month and reach the target levels in four months,” Jaakkola says, adding that before embarking on any successful build up phase, everything must be tested and simulated beforehand. All the work done up front serves the target of reaching the highest possible equipment uptime after production has been ramped up.

Special attention must be paid to the functionality of specific parts of automated systems, including data transfer networks, machine vision and scanner system reliability.

In considering the total cost of ownership equation, a major share of the costs comes from operations, whether they are automated or manual systems. “It all depends on reliability, which can be jeopardized by challenges with the equipment. Special attention must be paid to the functionality of specific parts of automated systems, including data transfer networks, machine vision and scanner system reliability.

“Environmental factors including wind, rain and the sun, not to mention variations in yard conditions can also pose challenges,” Jaakkola adds.  

To enhance the reliability of automated cranes, Konecranes offers an IoT-based multilevel approach connecting terminal operators to the global network.

Jaakkola explains that considering four key factors can help drive uptime in automated terminals:

  1. Sensor monitoring
    • Sensors have been utilized in equipment even before the concepts of IoT or Big Data came to the fore. But as sensors become more affordable and more abundant, it is now possible to keep track of metrics that were not previously monitored. This allows Konecranes to serve local service technicians by providing them with real time information that enables efficient preventive and condition-based maintenance.
  2. TRUCONNECT® Remote Support
    • TRUCONNECT Remote Support provides local technicians 24/7 access to a global network of system specialists, providing problem-solving and troubleshooting assistance to help reduce unplanned downtime. Konecranes is connected to more than 16,000 units globally. That is more than the total number of container yard cranes in the world.
  3. Fleet analysis
    • Combining terminal equipment into one portal and obtaining an overview from it offers huge benefits for companies. This allows for a worldwide view of the entire fleet, which can then be assigned particular performance indicators to allow for a greater increase in productivity.
  4. Big data analysis
    • Data can be collected from multiple sources, analyzed and shown in a graphic form. Quite often this analysis is done by humans who are experts on the subject matter, but algorithms are increasingly performing the analysis automatically.

The roadmap to achieving an increase in productivity lies in combining the above techniques. Equipping machinery with the correct sensors, collecting the correct data and analyzing it through a global network so that proper insights can be derived from it enables companies to perform the actions necessary to ramp up their operations.


Text: Leo Pahta
Photo: Konecranes