INFORM GmbH Software Simplifies Rail Expansion


HHLA Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA) put INFORM's Rail Crane Optimisation module to the test when they completely reconfigured their rail terminal to accommodate two additional tracks in an ambitious expansion project.

The expansion had to utilise the existing terminal footprint. Subsequently, to add the two new tracks, six of the seven existing tracks had to be disassembled, moved, and reassembled to allow space within the existing terminal footprint; throughout the project, the terminal’s rail capacity was significantly reduced.

The project was delivered in August 2016 and was completed in two phases that took four months to complete. The Rail Crane Optimisation module helped Germany's largest container rail yard to expand their rail terminal without compromising on customer service.

Commenting on the project Ingo Witte, Managing Director for CTA said “We had concerns that the expansion project would negatively impact on the excellent service that our customers have come to expect from CTA”.

To build confidence in the Rail Crane Optimisation module's ability to handle the unique construction scenarios, INFORM GmbH conducted a simulation process and presented the results to CTA.

“The simulation report was crucial in giving us confidence that the project would not adversely affect our customer service standards,” added Ingo Witte.

“The project presented multiple unique construction scenarios that challenged INFORM’s team and software,” said Dr. Eva Savelsberg, Senior Vice President Logistics Division at INFORM GmbH, “But our simulations showed we'd be able to accommodate the project scenarios”.

Read more about INFORM GmbH in PTI’s Supplier Directory

The most complex construction scenario included three of the existing seven tracks closed, reducing the site capacity by 42%. Additionally, the rail cranes were not allowed to move load units over the construction zone.

“SyncroTESS was able to adapt easily to the changing construction scenarios. Amongst many innovations within the project, INFORM’s Optimisation Modules were configured with 'virtual construction fences’ that enabled the system to adhere to the constraints of the construction scenarios while managing the workload efficiently,” commented Eva Savelsberg.

The expansion was necessary to allow for current demand and future growth. The project increases the rail terminal's capacity by 140,000 TEU to approximately 930,000 TEU per year.

HHLA has noted that this expansion would enable them to ensure the efficiency of CTA, thus positioning them well for future increases in shipping volumes through their rail terminal. CTA has been a customer for 14 years utilising INFORM's Rail Crane Optimisation module as an add-on to their existing Terminal Operating System (TOS). The Rail Crane Optimiser was upgraded to the latest generation module earlier this year.

The latest Rail Crane Optimisation module features INFORM's newest Agile Optimisation algorithms delivering increased optimisation performance. It also provides the ability to readily adjust to changing terminal layouts and capacity to handle additional rail cranes providing CTA with the resources to continue to grow their rail terminal capacity into the future.

The Rail Crane Optimiser dynamically assigns work orders to cranes to optimise their sequence of work reducing travel distances and improving on-schedule performance.

It has also been confirmed that Dr Eva Savelsberg will speak at the upcoming Terminal Automation & Training C-Level Networking Conference taking place 19 – 20th April 2017 in London. You can view Eva's speaker profile here.

Review the PTI Terminal Automation & Training C-Level Networking Conference and purchase your delegate ticket.

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