Konecranes and Fluidmesh Networks have successfully carried out proof-of-concept testing of fully wireless communication for the crane manufacturer’s automated rubber-tyred gantry (ARTG) system.
This development allows container terminal operators to roll out remote control and automation to RTGs in the container yard without running fibre or cable spools, with substantial savings in cost and time.
In recent years, many container terminals have adopted some level of automation and support for remote operations: from ship-to-shore (STS) cranes, to horizontal transport, to automated stacking cranes (ASCs).
Much of the world’s RTG fleet is diesel-powered although there are several electric options on the market, including conductor bar systems, e-chains and cable reels.
According to the Finnish company, there have been limited options for automating RTGs given the fact that running cables to them is costly and often unpractical.
The automation solution for RTGs comes as part of the Konecranes ARTG 2.0 system update, which was in development for over two years with thousands of hours of field testing.
Fluidmesh MPLS-based wireless technology has been used to guarantee low latency and high throughput to the RTGs for control and live-video data.
The system has been designed to operate on licensed as well as unlicensed frequencies around the world, providing north of 99.95% uptime in real working conditions.
Cosimo Malesci, Fluidmesh co-founder and evp sales and marketing, said: “Our wireless MPLS-based technology has been proven in many vehicle automation systems around the world where 802.11 WiFi or LTE haven’t been able to deliver.
“Our focus on seamless roaming, extremely low latency and high throughput wireless networks to drive productivity, safety, and security continues to pay off.”
Sampo Pihkala, chief system engineer ARTG at Konecranes, stated: “We have been testing many different wireless technologies for crane operations over the last decade and the throughput and reliability delivered by Fluidmesh is unparalleled.”
This cooperation with Fluidmesh is part of Konecranes’ “path to port automation”, which aims to enable container terminals improve productivity and safety in manageable steps.
From smart features up to full automation, the path can include supervised operation and remote operation to smoothly introduce automation.