Kalmar Industries' newly-developed MTS Tractor has been undergoing trials in Rotterdam where container terminal operator ECT provided the necessary facilities for realistic simulation of the various conditions which such systems may expect to encounter in full operational use.
"The test machine was one of four TRX-252 terminal tractors which we have built for the Port of Kingston, Jamaica. These will operate together with 24 Buiscar trailers which will be used in four-car sets.
"In the Rotterdam test, which was also attended by Buiscar engineers, the tractor hauled five trailers. It was important to ensure that the trailers all followed the same track and did not 'cut corners'. It was also essential to check the adjustment of the automatic trailer couplings to ensure that the turning radius diameter was not less than 32 metres for better stability and safety.
"The braking system was tested thoroughly. In an MTS train, the last trailer must brake first and most strongly so as to avoid the trailers shunting into each other. Again, these particular tests were completed satisfactorily."
The individual components used in the Kalmar MTS Tractor are well-proven, the TRX-252 tractor, for example, being very similar to those being supplied by Kalmar for handling 95-tonne StoraEnso cargo units (SECU). However, the Kingston tractors are not fitted with elevating fifth wheels; instead, they are fitted with automatic trailer couplings on the rear bumpers.
Following the trials, the tractor was shipped directly to Kingston together with the last batch of Buiscar trailers.
The Kalmar TRX-252 terminal tractor is ideally suited for use in multi-trailer systems, says Matikainen:
"It is an innovative piece of machinery that has already proven itself in the ro-ro market handling the heavy StoraEnso units. However, we feel that it has great potential in other areas,not only in ports but also in industrial applications where heavy loads and/or steep gradients are encountered.
As supplied to Kingston, eachtrailer train will be able to move eight 20ft containers (or an equivalent mix of 20s and 40s) simultaneously, thus providing significant economies over single trailer systems. However, various other MTS options exist including dual-function tractors which can serve both as tugs in MTS systems and as conventional ro-ro/terminal tractors."
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The caption for the photograph reads: Kalmar Industries' newly developed MTS Tractor has completed trials in Rotterdam where container terminal operator ECT provided the necessary facilities. The TRX-252 terminal tractor used in the trials is one of four which have been built for the Port of Kingston, Jamaica."