Drive monitoring and productivity – 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.