Five Continents International Container Terminal (FICT) plans to automate its fleet of 31 rail-mounted stacking cranes using technology from ABB to increase throughput capacity and meet “mega-age” requirements.
ABB, working in collaboration with ZPMC, has equipped the cranes with an automation and remote supervision solution and refurbished the equipment with its electrical systems that will be delivered in pre-assembled, containerised E-houses.
The stacking cranes, specifically designed for the facility, have two vehicle lanes within the crane porter and some of the cranes have a rope tower, while others have a reeving similar to a ship-to-shore (STS) crane.
Within a few months after the contract was signed, the first batch of cranes were rebuilt, automated and commissioned for production.
Senior vice president of ABB Ports, Uno Byfors explained how automating stacking cranes without a rope tower is more demanding. He said: “The sway control needs to handle trolley movement, gantrying and hoisting, and often all the three simultaneously.”
Equipped with the automation system, the cranes have delivered a very stable performance of 30 moves per hour according to general manager at FICT Song Tianwei.
Song said: “With this performance, we will obtain more than a 10% increase in the terminal’s capacity at the completion of the modernisation of the project.”
The Port of Tianjin, where FICT is located, is the largest port in Northern China and the 10th busiest port in the world and throughout the modernisation process, the container terminal will remain operational.
When FICT first opened for operation in 2005, it was designed for an annual throughput of 1.5m teu but now, due to bigger ships and increasing container volumes, that capacity has become insufficient.
Byfors claimed that terminals around the world are now re-equipping their yards for more efficient operations needed to serve today’s mega-ships.
He added: “We believe that automatic stacking cranes and especially cantilever type cranes will be the preferred type of equipment for yards in many terminals around the world, including in China.”