The MPET terminal at the Port of Antwerp has equipped its 41 ship-to-shore (STS) cranes with Camco Technologies’ BoxCatcher OCR camera system for container identification and condition recording.
The flying camera, hoovering on crane mounted rails, is linked with the crane PLC and captures every box, regardless of the container light path.
Camco was awarded the contract for the supply implementation of BoxCatcher Crane OCR systems for the 41 cranes in 2018 and now all the equipped quay cranes are fully operational two years later.
Camco organised to have the 42 m rails assembled beforehand on a dedicated warehouse on-site and hoisting the rails took place in scheduled windows of two by two cranes.
This allowed Camco and MPET to install and commission two cranes in just a two to three day time window.
The MPET also took into account all aspects of the operation to avoid disruption in operations with detailed planning of installation weeks, maximum preparation of the cranes and relying on an in-house partner for STS welding works.
Harold Kunst, Camco Technologies CEO, said: “With 82 BoxCatcher installed on 41 cranes in less than one year, and minimal operational impact in a record year of handling more than 7.5m teu in Europe’s single largest container terminal with the biggest crane density, this project has been very successful to say the least.”
MPET had assessed different routes such as a PTZ camera system, which was not deemed to be a viable solution, or fixed CCTV camera which would require a substantial set of cameras per crane to avoid blind spots as well as a complex system integration and possible significant downtime during maintenance.
On the other hand, Camco’s BoxCatcher system needs only two dynamic cameras per crane over vertical rails fixed onto the crane frontal legs.
The cameras offer 360° images of each box, whether it’s a 20, 40, or 45 ft container, and improves safety by letting the crane do the OCR work and allowing tallymen to only focus on exceptions from a remote and safe office.
BoxCatcher connects to the crane PLC via a PC fitted in the e-house of the crane and the system predicts the precise location where the container will cross the frontal crane legs, avoiding unnecessary moves for identification.
The system reads the container number, ISO code, dangerous goods labels and checks for seal presence while capturing high-resolution pictures for later damage claims management.
Captured container data is then verified against the load lists, thus fully automating waterside container handling with human intervention being needed only in the case of exceptions.
Through seamless integration via the PSA middleware ConEqtER, which serves as the tallyman exception portal, the captured data is instantly sent to the terminal operating system (TOS).
MPET is the single largest container terminal located in Antwerp, having moved its operations from the Delwaidedock on the right bank of the river Scheldt to the Deurganckdock on the left back in 2015/2016.
The termina’s annual throughput capacity thus expanded to 9m teu, with 41 quay cranes across nine berths, 234 straddle carriers and a quay length of 3,700 m.