Konecranes has launched a second ARTG system, but this one fits exactly into the layout of existing CYs and no changes to the existing road truck and terminal tractor flow arrangements are required
Only last week Konecranes announced yet another order for its ARTG system from an Indonesian port operator. Clearly this product offering, launched five years ago, is successful, but Konecranes believes it can now broaden the appeal of automated RTGs to a much wider range of customers.
ARTG 2.0 was introduced at a port conference organised by Konecranes in Rotterdam yesterday (30th October) by Tuomo Paukkula, the company’s Director, RTG Cranes.
"Customers trust our ARTG technology and I have seen them successfully ramp up ARTG productivity," he said. "However, there are some terminals that can’t make it fit. They can’t make an ARTG envelope fit into the yard or change the fenced area or the existing truck processes, or the process for safe truck handling is too big a step for them. With ARTG 2.0, we get round these problems."
The first point about ARTG 2.0 is that it retains the principle of diesel-electric drive. Whereas the existing ARTGs are also E-RTGs, with ARTG 2.0, it is not necessary to change the layout.
There is no space to find space for a cable reel or bus bar and no need to fence them off alongside the truck lane. In addition, there is no need to protect the ARTG bogies with lane fencing.
Instead, Konecranes has come up with what it calls a "street bogie" for ARTG 2.0. The bogies themselves have an all-round bumper, with three layers of protection – laser sweeping, a Protection Level D-certified (PLD) sensor, and finally the hard-wired collision bumper.
This fits exactly into the existing yard – and Konecranes existing ARTG installations show that its technology is tolerant of uneven pavements. The terminal’s existing truck/terminal tractor flow arranagements are not compromised in any way. Existing RTGs can be upgraded to ARTG 2.0.
With ARTG 2.0, the part of an existing operation that remains manual is lane-changing. According to Paukkula, the relative infrequency of lane-changing does not justify the infrastructure required for automated lane-changing. Instead, the bogies rotate as in existing RTGs and the unmanned ARTGs are transferred by an operative using pendant controls. The important point, he noted, is that the automation set-up does not have to be recalibrated when the ARTG is in the new lane.
Other than lane-changing, ARTG 2.0 is the same as the existing ARTG system. All operations over the stack are completely automated and the operations over the truck lane are handled by remote control, with the truck/terminal tractor driver staying in his cab at all times. Up to five truck lanes can be supervised from one RC station.
Paukkula said that the system has been thoroughly factory-tested by Konecranes and tests have been going on successfully for some time with a customer in a real operating environment. Performance figures are available for interested customers.
The key point is that, without the fibre optics of a flexible cable or the data transfer signals of a bus bar, ARTG 2.0 uses a wirelesss mesh from Fluidmesh Networks. As noted above, Paukkula says that this is proving resilient and reliable, but it raises an important point of debate.
Kalmar, for example, believes that only f/o cables can support the high data rates required for the TOS, CMS, all the sensors, and the high number of camera view angles needed by the remote control supervisor.
Some operators are now opting for a busbar with ARTGs (Cf Vahle with SMGX or Conductix-Wampfer with ProfiDAT).
It may be that this is an application-specific question. What is unclear is the "stress level" of a wireless mesh if the customer wants more functionalities added as the operation is ramped up.
ARTG 2.0 is the first ARTG system on the market to provide automation without full electrification. Not all operators can go down the road of full electrification, but the promise of ARTG 2.0 is that they can nevertheless share the advantages, including a much higher safety level, of automation without having to tear up their existing yards and start again.
Konecranes is also working on a hybrid RTG, with smaller diesel genst and Li-ion batteries.