When productivity speeds up at the quay, a fleet of coordinated ASCs becomes a necessity because it is crucial to have a high container through-put to and from the vessels. The yard must be able to fully support the quay operation and deliver good service to landside transportation. During the last decade, many terminals have implemented highly automated stacking cranes. In fact, the number of ASCs delivered and equipped with ABB’s automation system will exceed 500 this year.
Also, stacking cranes are continuously becoming larger and more advanced. Today, end-loading cranes are able to stack five to six tiers high and 10 wide, while the cantilever cranes typically stack six high and 10 to 14 wide.
The handover to all types of vehicles can be automated when proper safety arrangements are implemented. To save time, the cranes operate using an optimum path overlapping horizontal and vertical motion, and multiple cranes in a block are coordinated to avoid waiting times.
Stacking cranes equipped with intelligent automation are able to respond to varying seaside and landside volumes and ensure timely delivery of containers for quay and rail terminal processes. The scheduling function allows the cranes to optimize the use of the cranes within the block based on all known work orders and time constraints. This improves productivity and reduces empty travel and, consequently, energy consumption.