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Delivering 600 Auto Stacking Cranes: Five Lessons Learned

TMEIC Corporation (TMEIC) has managed to meet the ever-increasing demands of customers globally by delivering over 600 auto stacking cranes.

From facing the ice and snow of New Jersey to the arid heat and dust of Abu Dhabi and points beyond, TMEIC has accomplished world class automated performance which drives world class terminal productivity.

TMEIC provides the automation systems which manage the operation of cranes in varying degrees of semi or total automation. Our experience integrating advanced automation on high speed rail mounted gantry cranes, wide span intermodal cranes, and both single and double cantilevered rail mounted stacking cranes is extensive.

The following is a short list of important lessons TMEIC has learned over the last 16 years on nine different sites globally, through 17 major project efforts.

Lesson One: Functional Specifications…Setting Mutual Expectations

A functional specification is the written description of how a completed system should perform. It drives the discussion of how your terminal will perform and how your vendors will deliver what you need. It is the first step for a vendor in developing a control system concept based on user requirements and identifying the system requirements regarding data gathering, interfaces, environment and technical and physical constraints. It is focused on how the automation system will operate in production, how various elements of the system will interact and function together, how safety systems will behave, and many more concerns.

The discussion and development of a functional specification between automation supplier and end user should happen at the earliest stages of the project. It provides information to assist the automation supplier is understanding what functionalities the customer desires and why. It also reduces the likelihood of any misunderstanding as to what the customer wants and what the automation system vendor can provide.

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