Automation & Humans Working Together



David Moosbrugger, Managing Director, Kuenz, Hard, Austria


David Moosbrugger looks at the challenges and benefits of implementing automated technologies within a terminal environment.

Kuenz has a long history when it comes to automation. We have been delivering special purpose handling cranes for the mining industry and machines for the hydropower sector – with a very high level of automation – since the nineties.

It may surprise some of you that hydropower plants have been fully automated, without any workers on site, since this time. Given our experience in this area, it meant we could transfer our expertise to the first automation project in an intermodal yard, which was completed in 2005 when one sole crane was delivered to the Warsteiner Brewery.

The crane had been built without a cabin and the crane operated semi-automatically, handling the stack fully automatically, with the loading/
unloading of trains done remotely via remote operating station (ROS). This was built in a very similar way to a ROS from a traditional automated stacking crane (ASC) operation.

Once this project was done, between 2005 and 2016 we executed several more automation projects in ports. Over the decade we’ve seen the sensor, camera, laser and crane become optimized, heralding the fully- and semi-automated terminal.

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