Port automation targets carbon footprint

Mr Groenveld said that using digital twins of the cranes allows different simulations Photo: Siemens Mr Groenveld said that using digital twins of the cranes allows different simulations Photo: Siemens

Technology firm Siemens will supply eight electrified automated rubber-tyred gantry cranes plus remote control systems to the UK’s Port of Felixstowe to help it achieve a reduction in its carbon footprint.

With the port, located in the east of England, currently expanding Berths 8&9 and yard capacity, the aRTGs will support the extra yard capacity needed.

The port — part of Hutchison Ports — decided that in order to lower its ecological footprint, it would electrify its rubber-tyred gantry cranes and gradually bring in automation in the yard to improve safety and competitiveness.

The cranes will be taken in operation on new blocks being developed, which enables the terminal to maintain normal commercial operations.

The eight cranes will be delivered through collaboration with the Chinese engineering business Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Company, or ZPMC, and will go into commercial operation in the first three months of 2019, with virtual commissioning ensuring a quick go-live at Felixstowe Port’s premises.

“Using digital twins of the cranes enables various simulations, allowing for flexibility and providing us the ability to test our automation systems against a virtual crane and simulated environment and create all sorts of work-through scenarios,” said Rink Groenveld, head of Siemens Cranes Projecthouse.

“Implementation of automation modules allowing for collision prevention and automated stacking, integrated safety solutions and remote control will lead to safe, productive and consistent operations in the container terminal.”

Siemens confirmed that a conductor rail will power the new cranes.


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