In total, from last September to this January the company either delivered or received orders for over 250 spreaders, with Europe accounting for 85 orders thus remaining the strongest market. Lars Meurling, vice-president, marketing, told CM that globally, orders for 67 units originated from the US and 42 from Asia.
He also added that orders totalling 39 units were received from the Middle East, with 26 units for Africa, both of which are becoming major growth markets; the company is also establishing a new foothold in India.
Sixty per cent of all orders were for fleet expansion rather than replacement. This included 56 of the company’s newly launched special YSX45 yard units with micro-motion headblocks for the Gottwald automated-stacking cranes (ASC) at the DP World-led Rotterdam World Gateway (RWG) terminal; 32 all-electric spreader variants, along with 18 STS45E all-electric STS units, were also order for the Long Beach Container Terminal.
According to marketing manager, Therese Westerudd, more than 80% of all yard crane orders specify all-electric variants, while the number of the company’s units destined for, or in use at, automated terminals globally now tops 520 since it delivered its first such units to Thamesport in the UK in the 1990s.
She explained that the company saw two breakthrough orders in 2012; the first for its ‘Green Zone’ suite of productivity software from DP World Caucedo in the Dominican Republic, while it also received its first order for nine of its new Tandem spreaders for the APM Terminals Maasvlakte 2 project. Three more tandem projects are currently under discussion.
Looking to the future, Bromma has seen a good start to 2013 with more projects expected to become operational than expected, with increased activity in Asia and China.
Turning to product development and following feedback from terminal operators, the company has introduced the second generation of its all-electric STS45E spreader first introduced in 2007. Improvements include the upgrade of 15 major upgrades, according to Meurling, from stronger new flipper arms to better motor drives.
Discussions surrounding tandem spreaders to be used at DP World London Gateway has resulted in Bromma developing an automatic headblock and connector concept for its tandem, twin and single spreaders. “This will allow crane operators to change units within three minutes without human intervention,” he suggested.
Development of the automatic connector, which will be capable of handling all types and make of spreader, is being undertaken with a third part component manufacturer from outside the industry; in-house trials are presently being undertaken. The first proto-types will be operational at APMT Maasvlakte 2 in Q3-2013.
Coupled to the automatic connector is the development of a new ‘light-weight’ telescopic ‘Tandem E3’ spreader, specifically designed only to handle 40ft or 45ft boxes from the new generation of container ships.
Guessing that up 70% of the containers on these new vessels will be either 40ft or 45ft, Meurling suggests that operators are unlikely to want to handle four twenty foot boxes simultaneously based on the difficulty of locating twistlocks on four boxes. Although Bromma has its ‘Tandem Quattro’ option to lift four twenties, he believes that the most efficient method will be to use a convention twin-lift spreader.
In line with the proposed establishment of an international legal requirement for containers to be weighed before being stowed, Meurling explained that while the original principle of the integrated load sensing system within twistlocks remains accident prevention, the industry is now looking for container weight verification. While there is growing interest from global terminal operators, he estimates that any legal requirement on this is still about four years away.