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Published: 11 January 2018      

Singapore considers exoskeletons for stevedores

PSA Singapore is offering a glimpse into its intentions for the PSA ‘Intelligent Port of the Future’ at an exhibition running at Pasir Panjang Terminal Building 3 from 10-14 January 2018.

PSA plans to use the event to show its vision for how technology will drive the transformation of jobs at its terminals. “Touching on elements of PSA’s heritage and progress, the exhibition will feature technologies never before seen at container terminals in Singapore, including amphibious drones, automated quay cranes, exoskeletons for port staff, and robotic arms for related container activities,” PSA noted. A showcase of new and updated details of the future Tuas Port will also be available.

Mr Ong Kim Pong, Regional CEO Southeast Asia, PSA International, said, “The Intelligent Port of the Future exhibition presents an opportunity to showcase PSA’s commitment to advanced technologies and innovation for port operations at both our current terminals and the future Tuas Port. We also look forward to the opportunities to upskill our people to handle the new systems coming on stream. These are key in ensuring that we continue to serve our customers well into the future as industry consolidation grows.”

The technology on display includes:
  • A “Robotic Arm for twist lock handling”. PSA believes an “automatic platform or robotic arms” could be used for twistlock handling, and notes there is “potential for a single trained operator to support multiple robotic arms in case of exception or error handling”.
  • Unmanned Drones. Use cases include delivering ships’ supplies, crane structural inspections, and “complex inspection of an energy installation in the port infrastructure”, as well as amphibious drones for fender inspection and other underwater work.
  • A “Future Command Centre -  A one-stop command platform for co-ordination of automated port equipment, including Automated Rail-Mounted Gantry Cranes (ARMGs), Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) and Automated Quay Cranes (AQCs)”.
  • Powered exo-skeletons - these are “wearable mobile machines driven by a system of motors and linkages allowing for limb movement with increased strength and endurance”. They would enable arduous tasks like lashing to be performed without fatigue. 
  • Smart Glasses with Augmented Reality (AR), these will link onsite equipment specialists to online manuals and remote support. 
PSA will also discuss its plans with regard to data analytics and simulation. It is looking to data analytics to improve equipment maintenance through a “a more effective and just-in-time approach through predictive maintenance. “Simulation too will play a key part in the port of the future, with computer software utilised to imitate the behaviours and interaction of real-world actors – equipment, people and systems – in a virtual environment. Planners can predict outcomes before implementation. Beyond this, container terminal emulation models will allow PSA to predict, evaluate, and refine in high fidelity the behaviours of our future fully-automated terminals,” PSA concluded.


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