Interest in the navigation and fleet management systems required for automated terminal tractors is high, but automation also has some important implications for the machines themselves.
An equipment failure is a major disruption for an automated terminal, and, to avoid problems, machines have to be maintained to a higher level than is generally found at manned terminals, and in a different way. In a manned operation, terminal tractor drivers normally perform a routine daily inspection for checking fluid levels, and sometimes tyre pressure. They also serve as a sensor, of sorts, for the condition of the brakes and other systems.
It was notable that the Terberg AutoTUG displayed at TOC Europe in Amsterdam this year featured an automated greasing system from Groeneveld.
Speaking with World Cargo News, Johan Bood, sales director for port equipment at Groeneveld Lubrication Solutions, said Terberg and Groeneveld have worked together on terminal tractors and other products in the Terberg line-up for some time now. Terberg offers Groeneveld’s OnePlus progressive lubrication system ex-factory on its DT, YT and RT tractors.
The OnePlus system uses a single reservoir of two litres and divider blocks to deliver grease to all the lubrication points on the AutoTUG, including the fifth wheel, king pin and axles. The quantity of grease delivered and the lubrication interval is programmed by Groeneveld. The grease quantity and interval can be changed by means of the two rotary switches on the pump unit.
Bood said the savings in labour from not having to manually grease the machine, plus the extended life of critical components, mean the payback period is very short in a manual environment. The system itself needs almost no maintenance. A grease reservoir with a capacity of two litres is considered optimal, as grease starts to separate if stored for lengthy periods.
For automated machines, Groeneveld also recommends its Oilmaster system, which ensures that the engine oil is always at the optimum level by continuously monitoring the oil level, and topping up if necessary. As well as protecting the engine against wear, Oilmaster prevents over-filling, which increases both emissions and fuel consumption.
Groeneveld has both its auto greasing and Oilmaster systems installed on AGVs, and Bood is confident that they will also be used on automated terminal tractors in the future.
Groeneveld is now part of The Timken Company, which acquired it in June of this year for an investment of approximately US$280M.
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This complete item is approximately 1000 words in length, and appeared in the October 2017 issue of WorldCargo News, on page 46. To access this issue download the PDF here.