More orders for Arck – June 2008

France-based Arck Sensor is understood to have another order…


Press release in WORLDCARGO NEWS – June 2008

France-based Arck Sensor is understood to have another order for its Sirrah and Spica sensors from Yaskawa Siemens, in connection with a crane control system being engineered for an automated, rail-mounted stacking crane in a Chinese port. Spica is an optical sensor with infra-red detectors that measures position of the container edge to ensure accurate stacking. One detector is installed at each corner of the spreader and they and the central calculator, which is connected to the main PLC, are protected from shock damage and vibrations in a special steel housing with rubber silent blocks. The Sirrah sensors are used to evaluate beacon angles and measure sway and skew. Normally they are positioned downwards on the trolley while the beacon faces upwards on the spreader. The sensors are connected to the PLC through an RS422 serial interface or a Profibus interface, and they can be designed to measure the beacon’s angular speed as well as the alignment. Details of the new order are not known, but Arck is known to have been working on a tandem spreader application, also believed to have been for a yard crane. In this case the tandems are fitted with six sensors, one on each of the outer corners and one at the same end of each spreader.

Drive monitoring and productivity – June 2006

Press release inWORLDCARGO NEWS – June 2006

Quayside crane productivity is a key performance indicator for terminal operators, yet many have surprisingly little data on actual crane performance.
Operations managers typically get productivity reports from the main Terminal Operating System but these are very limited from a crane productivity perspective, showing only number of cycles achieved over a defined period. Although several software companies have recently launched a range of real-time monitoring applications, they do not break the crane cycle down into information that can be used to identify delays.

Sensing a market
Increasingly, automation systems are developed using off-the-shelf sensors from specialist manufacturers such as Sick, Arck and Micas.

The Spica of life

Arck of France has developed several systems based on infra-red technology including its new Spica system for giving the position of a container in relation to the head block or spreader. Arck sells Spica as an integrated system with sensors and calculator and does not sell the individual components separately. Spica comes in three- and six-sensor configurations depending on the application. Three sensors will detect a container’s position below an empty spreader and six are required to align a container locked to a spreader over another container for automated stacking. In a six-sensor system, one sensor is installed on each end beam of the spreader and two on each side of the spreader. The sensors measure x and y positions by calculating offset angle in both directions and load rotation by measuring offset angle around the vertical axis. Arck’s president Marc Brouant says the advantage of infrared technology over laser systems is that there are no moving parts – laser radar uses spinning mirrors and other sensitive components and cannot, says Brouant, be mounted on a spreader. Spica has been tested at Arck’s development facility and one system has been installed at a port for evaluation.

Arck Sensor formed – May 2006

Press release in WORLDCARGO NEWS – May 2006

Arck Sensor is a new company formed recently by France-based Arck Electronique, part of Groupe Arck Ingénierie (GAI), in conjunction with Marc Brouant, who previously ran the sensor division within Arck Electronique. Arck Sensor will be able to focus on design and engineering, development and marketing of own-brand products dedicated for use on cranes in ports, steel mills and other specialised heavy crane sectors, taking advantage of the sales network that was previously set up by Arck Electronique. There is, for example, a good presence in Korea, China and Japan. Arck infra-red sensor products are already widely used by OEMs to provide feedback control in closed loop electronic anti-sway systems for container cranes, for angle and distance measurements, spreader skew, etc. By splitting off Arck Sensors in this way, dedicated to heavy crane applications, GAI is aiming to increase overall sales.

New Arck Sensors – July 2004

Press release in WORLDCARGO NEWS – July 2004

France-based Arck Electronique is set to introduce a new sway/skew sensor for RTGs, RMGs, OET cranes and other “low height” bridge cranes up to 20m hoisting height. In addition, it is introducing a new spreader positioning sensor. The Sirrah LS08 sensor for yard cranes operates with infrared beacons on the X and Y axes and can be incorporated in a closed loop anti-sway system with feedback control. Skew movement can be regulated through the fitting of additional sensors and beacons. The new SP16 container detection sensor, fitted under the crane spreader, is an optical system based on six infra-red detectors, which measure the position of the edge of the container in relation to its optical centre. The optical view angle is ± 8 deg, which allows a “square” optical detection area of ± 250mm on each side, at a distance of up to 1600mm. This allows for a 100mm gap between two stacks of containers, says Arck. To provide a complete solution, adds the company, six sensors are required – two on the waterside and on the landside and one at each gable end. An RS422 serial interface is provided to communicate with the crane’s PLC.

Spread that market share – April 2004

Press release in WORLD PORT DEVELOPMENT – April 2004

New technology
[…] With the increased use of high-tech spreaders comes extra urgency on the need for companies to develop new systems. French company, Arck Electronique, has recently launched its new spreader positioning system SP16 and SP13. The SP16 sensor is dedicated to container detection under the spreader on harbour cranes. Its purpose is to help the crane driver adjust the hoist position in order to pick-up the container, thus overcoming the problem incurred when adjusting the position of the spreader if it is swaying, and saving time. It can also be used on unmanned cranes, where the spreader should be automatically positioned to pick up the container. The sensor analyses the spreader position above the container, and provides some indication to the crane PLC in which direction to move to get the right position, and will also confirm if the position is correct. SP16 is an optical sensor, which uses three or six infrared detectors, depending on the type. These detectors look downwards and measure the position of the edge of the container in regards to an optical centre. The optical view angle is +/- 8. This allows a square optical detection area of +/- 250mm on each side, at a distance of 1600mm. This also allows a 100mm gap between two rows of containers. The sensor will be placed at a certain height along the spreader sides (typically 150mm far from the spreader lower surface) to guarantee a +/-50mm square when the spreader arrives at the point 200mm from the container. Arck offers two solutions by using six or three sensors. On the six-sensor system, two sets are placed along the seaside of the spreader, two others along the landside, one on the left side and one of the right-side. This is a complete solution, and is useful when the containers are not all of the same type. The use of two symmetrical sensors makes “differential detection” possible, with the central computer distinguishing between each position. Therefore, if the container width is smaller than the standard container, the set of two sensors will always give the container position. When the container is at the exact position under the spreader all six detectors have a “0” state. Each state is 0 when the container position is centered with a tolerance which could be factory  defined (typical +/-15 mm at 200 mm distance)
If the spreader is moving , some sensors will have a  state “+1”.
A central computer dedicated to the system analyses the state of every sensors and calculating the state of the spreader as follows :
– no container detection
– bad detection
– spreader centered on container
– right side of spreader to go landside ( SpRi -> LS)
– right side of spreader to go waterside ( SpRi -> WS)
– spreader to go left side (SP -> L)
– spreader to go right side( SP->R)
– left side of spreader to go landside ( SpLf -> LS)
– left side of spreader to go waterside ( SpLf -> WS)
If many movements are necessary, information on these movements  will be activated at the same time.
When one side of  the spreader should move alone, only one of the SpRi or SpLf is activated to move spreader  for position adjustment.
If two sides of spreader need to move in the same direction, both outputs are activated and this should be interpretated as a trolley movement.
As option it is possible to deliver distance information giving the gap between the container and the spreader.
This information is obtained from a sensor which measures the distance to the container with a laser beam.
This sensor has the same type of robustness as the angle detectors: waterproof and able to work with the vibration and shocks of the spreader.
The SP16 sensor is delivered with 6 detector boxes in stainless steel, for higher protection against shocks, vibration, rain and corrosion.
An additional box is the central calculation unit. It receives the information from the 6 detectors and allows the connection to the 24volt DC power supply and the 9 relays outputs.
The 6 detectors are installed on the spreader. The central box is installed on the hoisting system. It is waterproof but should be installed with shocks absorbers. A connection is designed from the spreader to the hoist to allow disconnecting when changing the spreader. This will be analysed case by case with the spreader manufacturer.
Installation of each detector should make in accordance with ARCK to assume the following rules:
– detectors installed are in perfect vertical orientation (looking down)
– detectors installed on the spreader at the six positions defined in drawing N°2
– detectors positioned inside the external part of the spreader with a protecting sheet steel.

To use three sensors (product SP13), one sensor is placed along the seaside of the spreader, two others along the landside; one on the left side and one on the right side (see drawing no 2). This system is most effective when the containers are all of the same type. The SP13 sensor is delivered with three detector boxes, and one additional box, which is the central calculation unit. It receives the information from the three detectors, and allows the connection of the 24volt power supply and the nine relays outputs. Once again, as option, it is possible to deliver distance information, giving the gap between the container and the spreader. This information is obtained from a sensor, which measures the distance to the container with a laser beam. This sensor is also the same type of robustness as the angle detectors: waterproof and able to work with the vibration and shocks of the spreader. Output is the same as with the six-sensor solution. Information on any sales or orders for the product was not available at the time of going to press, but rest assured that over the years Arck has been proven to come up with new ideas for crane drivers.

Sirrah sensors increase crane productivity – Winter 1999

Press release in PORT TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL – The Tenth Edition – Winter 1999
The continuous increase in container traffic also requires more accurate and more efficient container cranes. Performance can be improved in different ways but the most important factor is to avoid waste of time by decreasing the transfer time of the container from the vessel to the quay.