TBA has integrated its machine learning technology, the Yard Crane Scheduler (YCS), into the operations of one of the largest rubber-tired gantry (RTG) crane terminals in the world, resulting in a machine productivity increase of 10%.
By using YCS to automate the task of setting ranges for their 130-plus RTGs, the terminal — which TBA has not been able to disclose — has enabled its dispatchers to work proactively to prevent bottlenecks.
The YCS software has been developed and tested with TBA’s emulation software, CONTROLS.
Its first full-time deployment across the entire terminal took place in July 2017 to automate the RTG ranges in live operation.
What TBA has found is that RTG performance and user experience improved without negatively affecting the quay cranes.
When measuring and comparing RTG and QC productivity to the average productivities of 2016, TBA discovered that they “remained stable”, with a “slight increase” in productivity and a 10% increase in RTG productivity during the first few months of active deployment.
TBA’s YCS works by continuously obtain information from the Terminal Operating System (TOS) about the yard operation.
It analyses that data in real time to provide the user with a picture of the optimal distribution of the RTG workload.
Automatic updates to the RTG ranges in the TOS result in better workload balancing and increased productivity.
TBA has designed its YCS to be suited for terminals with more than 1 million TEU throughput.
By looking further ahead than a human operator could, the RTGs can be in the right place at the right time.
The quality of data in the shipping industry will hinder its adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, according to Dr. Saanen:
The main function of the YCS is to control an otherwise time-consuming manual task so that dispatchers will have the opportunity to work more proactively.
Instead of firefighting yard clashes and working reactively, dispatchers will be able to avoid them in time, meaning they can respond to warnings and solve potential problems due to the YCS’s data processing power.
Commenting on its latest successful deployment, TBA stated: “The TBA Yard Crane Scheduler is still having a positive impact on the terminal’s daily operations as evidenced by their productivity reports.
“Another 10% increase is expected for 2018 when lane change automation is considered.”