Terminal operators, the Dubai Ports Authority (DPA), has placed an order for the Kalmar Smartrail automatic steering and container position verification system to be fitted to 40 of its RTG cranes being used at the Jebel Ali terminal.
Kari Ronkainen, General Manager, Knowhow Services, comments:
"This order is significant because it is the first time we have installed the Smartrailsystem to machines not manufactured by Kalmar.
"The first stage of this project has now been successfully completed and the according to the customer, Dubai Ports Authority, the Smartrailautomatic steering system has proved to offer superior performance in comparison to the system that waspreviously used in their operation.
The Dubai Ports Authority enquired about the Smartrailsystem having heard about it via Kalmar's own sales network, and numerous articles that had appeared in the trade press.Negotiations surrounding the deal began in late 1999, and the deal was closed in July 2000.Kalmar's system was the only one that met the Dubai Ports Authority's tough requirements.
According to Kari Ronkainen, the Smartrail system is superior to anything else currently available. He says:
"Kalmar Industries has pioneered the use of GPS technology with RTGs. Today, the Smartrail system is being used in numerous applications throughout the world."
The benefits associated with the Smartrail system, previously used exclusively in Kalmar's RTGs, include:
"h GPS technology, in association with the RTGs on board sensors, enable real time positioning of the RTG and it's spreader with centimetre accuracy
"h The Smartrail system is practically service free since there are no civil works such as buried wires, transponders or painted lines to be maintained.Installation of the Smartrail system is also extremely operation friendly causing very little if any disturbance to the normal operation in the container terminal.
"h The Smartrail system works also as container position verification system: each time the spreader twistlocks are activated, the yard management system is automatically updated and the new position of the handled container is recorded.This means grat improvement in operation quality and less time is spent looking for lost or misplaced containers.
According to Kari Ronkainen, installing the Smartrailautomatic steering system to the Dubai Ports Authority's RTG cranes went very smoothly. He explains:
"At the end of the day the success of this project boils down to good communication and co-operation between ourselves and the customer.We worked closely with the Dubai Ports Authority to assess the application and the requirements and know how of running a large RTG- terminal ."
The project continues to generate interest The first stage of the project has now been completed.This comprised ofcompleting all the design work, providing the customer with one RTG fitted with Smartrailand the delivery of a GPS ground station and copletion of tests with the yard management system.
The second and third stages of the project will be completed by October 2001.Stage two consists of fitting 25 RTG-cranes with the automatic steering system andthe transference of container tracking data to the yard management system supplied by Navis.Stage three comprises of the installation of the automatic steering system on the 14 remaining RTGs.
"As a reference Dubai Ports Authority's RTG-cranes is excellent:DPA had a good understanding of terminal automation and knew thorouhly what they wanted to achieve. It is also a well-known terminal operator with business activities in many other countries" says Kari Ronkainen.
Ronkainen predicts continued good fortune for the Smartrailsystem.The trend throughout the world at the moment is for terminals to streamline operations in a bid to become more efficient; they can do this by automating container handling. Smartrailis a well-functioning and reliable system, which aids the development of ports and terminalstowards a completely automatic future.
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