When converting a manual container terminal to automation, there are five stages that need to be followed so that installing automated equipment and building the infrastructure goes to plan.
However, to ensure the terminal is running optimally, the services and maintenance of an automated terminal also needs proper attention.
Below are Port Technology's top five tips that need to be followed from Kalmar's Maintenance of Automated Terminals technical paper.
1. Planning phase:
Converting to automation needs a major change in the terminal’s maintenance, operations and IT teams’ practices and attitudes.
IT becomes a critical function that needs to integrate seamlessly with operations and maintenance.
This is a new way of thinking for container terminals, sometimes overlooked in the planning phase.
Automated terminals call for a new calibre of technical knowledge at all levels of the organization.
Even traditional technical roles will need some understanding of the entire automation system, which is a factor easily overlooked in terminal automation deployments.
Terminals typically need support in handling the full range of start-up activities.
Operators often experience a sense of urgency in getting the system running, even if all the in-house competence is not yet in place.
This is when the risks of unplanned downtime are at their maximum.
4. Maintenance planning:
Automated equipment always needs to run faultlessly to ensure it does not become a constraint on the performance of the terminal.
The breakdown of a single piece of equipment can lead to shutting down part of the terminal for 15 to 30 minutes to remove the machine from the yard.
Planning the operations and maintenance of an automated terminal is a complex task that needs continuous optimisation of multiple variables.
A structured approach to maintenance ensures greater equipment availability, which in turn increases overall equipment efficiency.