ABB crane solutions keep global trade moving

2009-04-27 - A uniquely productive and completely automatic ABB crane concept – all-electric, emissions-free and energy efficient - is changing the way the world’s busiest ports handle the millions of containers that pass through their terminals each year.

By ABB Communications

In the past few years ABB’s automatic rail-mounted gantry cranes (ARMGs) have revolutionized the way that containers are handled in container terminals the world over.

The ability of the ARMGs to excel in key performance indicators like crane productivity, number of containers handled, low energy cost per container, and fast and accurate automatic operation, has rapidly made the ABB concept first choice among the world’s terminal operators and crane manufacturers.

A perfect 100
In fact so successful is the concept that in 2008 ABB ARMGs took 100 percent of all orders placed for rail-mounted gantry cranes worldwide.

By year’s end five of the world’s ten busiest container terminals – including international benchmark terminals like CTA (Hamburg), Euromax (Rotterdam), Busan New Port (Korea), Kaohsiung and Taipei (both Taiwan) – were equipped with ABB crane automation systems.

More than 10,000 containers are moved each day in a typical modern container terminal. Each one of these moves has to be performed quickly and to the right destination without interfering with other containers, cranes or vehicles.

Phase I of the Euromax terminal, Rotterdam, opened in 2007 and has an annual capacity of 2.3 million TEU (twenty feet equivalent unit) containers. ABB’s scope of supply was immense and includes the crane systems for 58 ARMGs, 12 large ship-to-shore cranes, 4 barge cranes and 2 manual RMGs for rail wagons, as well as terminal-wide maintenance and monitoring

One operator, one control room = one dozen cranes
Whereas conventional rail-mounted gantry cranes require one operator per crane to perform these moves, the ABB concept enables a single supervisor to monitor between 8 and 12 automatic (unmanned) RMGs from a central control room – a considerable reduction in manpower and a massive boost in productivity per operator.

The ARMGs use a combination of patented high-precision ABB technologies – load positioning, target positioning and load control systems – that enable the crane to take the shortest and safest path to the target container, approach it at speed, and build stacks of containers up to 25 meters in height with millimeter accuracy. Click for a short movie about ABB ARMG solutions (32 MB)

The all-electric cranes are also exceptionally energy efficient. They utilize energy three to four times more effectively than diesel RTGs and regenerate electric power back into the grid during low load.

Unlike diesel cranes, ARMGs produce no greenhouse gas emissions.

ABB crane systems consist of advanced power and automation equipment - drives, motors, switchgear, transformers, distribution systems, powerful sensors and control systems. ABB recently supplied a crane systems solution for the world’s first fully automated bulk cargo terminal in Shanghai, China.

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    In 2008, ABB automatic rail-mounted gantry cranes (ARMGs) took 100 percent of all orders placed for rail-mounted gantry cranes worldwide. At the end of the year, half of the world's ten busiest container terminals were equipped with ABB crane automation systems. (Click image for larger view of CTA cargo facility in Hamburg).

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