Research and development of automatic bulk cargo equipment in modern ports: Part 2
Part 1 of this article was originally published in edition 40 of Port Technology International and is available for download here.
The abstract is provided once again as a refresher. Part 1 introduced bulk grab ship unloaders and automatic and fully automatic bulk loading bucket wheel stacker-reclaimers, jointly developed by Shanghai Port, Shanghai Port Machinery Plant, ABB (China) and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Part 2 focuses on key technologies and methods involved in automated bulk operations including contour detection technology, materials distribution testing, optimisation of ship unloading strategy, fixed-point ship unloading, balance ship unloading, continuous ship unloading, and automation equipment operations.
This paper describes research and development into automatic grab ship unloaders, automatic loading machines, and automatic bucket stackers and reclaimers for bulk cargo in the Port of Shanghai, which have been integrated with a multitude of advanced technologies, such as long-range detection, computer networks, automatic control, and intelligent decision-making etc. With the above integration, efficient automatic bulk loading and unloading can be implemented in the port, along with creative management and integrating control into automated operations, and establishing a solid foundation for building fully automatic bulk cargo terminals.
Contour detection technology
Within bulk cargo handling operations, real-time monitoring is needed, with certain rules of calculation to determine the working parameters of follow-up operations. Certain parameters cannot be measured, such as irregular bulk height, using a ruler and other such conventional measurement tools. At present, this type of data is estimated by the driver with the naked eye, or through installation of cameras, which help to monitor the situation. However, while the results of any observation will be affected by a driver’s experience, emotions, weather interference, and other such factors, it is difficult to guarantee accuracy, and incidents such as the ship capsizing, the bulkhead (end) receiving damage, or yard ground damage occurring, could easily happen if the driver is the slightest bit negligent or he loses control.
It is with this in mind that automatic contour detection technology is used in port bulk materials handling operations, which is of great value. Furthermore, automatic contour detection technology is also the major prerequisite for realising the automatic operation of feeder loading and unloading equipment, such as ship unloaders, loading machines and bucket stackers.
There are many advanced detection technologies used to automatically detect contour materials, such as photogrammetry, machine vision, laser scanning, ultrasound detection, ray detection, etc. The port of materials testing applications determines the appropriate detection technology with its own characteristics.