Optimising the efficiency of automated container lifting and handling systems



GianBattista Dubini, Control Techniques SpA & Drive Centre, Milan, Italy


Contship Italia Group

Contship Italia S.p.A, part of the largest European group involved in container terminal operations, is the holding company controlling activities in the Mediterranean area, with a specific focus on Italy.

It was during the 1990s that the Contship Italia Group developed its present structure, based on three main business lines:

• Port services

• Intermodal & transport services

• Cargo logistics (added value logistic services)

Enhancing the offer of physical services, the Contship Italia Group today is able to provide reliable and powerful IT/web services to its customers. Offering the added value of real time information has become one of the Group’s principal business strategies.

Through its operating companies, the Contship Italia Group performs a host of ancillary activities related to its core business of container handling, storage, distribution, logistics and intermodal transport, with the aim of offering seamlessly integrated services enabling goods to reach all destinations in Europe through its Mediterranean ports.

With its proven track record, Contship Italia is today the acknowledged market leader in maritime container services. A full range of logistic services meets all the requirements of a more and more demanding clientele, Europe-wide.

Terminal Daresena Toscana

The Terminal Daresena Toscana (TDT), owned by the Contship Italia Group, is one of the biggest container-handling structures in Italy. It is also one of country’s premier intermodal ports, and among the most advanced in the application of high technology to transport logistics.

With a storage area of 180,000 m2 and a 1,600-metre quayside, the terminal is able to handle more than 800,000 TEU per year. Operating round the clock, 360 days a year, the terminal has eight dockside cranes of which six are equipped with Control Techniques drives, five rubber tyred gantry cranes and an extensive fleet of hoists and FLTs with capacities up to 40 tonnes. Faced with the pressures of international competition, while seeking ever higher performance and ease of operation, and looking to minimise machine down times, TDT has responded by procuring two new straddle carriers, built by Officine Meccaniche Galileo (OMG and piloted using an evolved automation and control system supplied by Control Techniques.

Officine Meccaniche Galileo

Officine Meccaniche Galileo (OMG) is a name particularly associated with the design and construction of high quality engineering products. Operating in Italy and abroad, the skills of the company cover a wide range of activities taking in overall project management, electrical and mechanical design, costing and control, turnkey solutions, after-sales and maintenance services, revamping and refurbishment, feasibility studies, technical consultancy and parts supply.

OMG has worked toward and secured a position of prominence in the market, having delivered a great number of hi-tech systems: quayside container cranes, overhead and gantry cranes, ship-to-shore cranes, polar cranes, stacking cranes, hydroelectr ic gates, screen rakes, fixed and rotary screens, cofferdams, navigation locks, pumping stations and water screening systems of all kinds for heat-generating and hydroelectric plants, also water filtering and treatment systems for industrial applications.

Aims of the project

• Ensure speedy handling of containers

• Optimise the load/unload cycle utilising load sway control

• Use Differential Global Positioning System for automatic crane guidance

• Guarantee performance, availability and reliability

• Help the crane operator by providing information on machine status and faults

• Operate management program for scheduled maintenance and repairs.

Main machine specifications

• 1 x a.c. lift motor rated 200kW Nominal lifting capacity: 40 tonnes Lifting speed: 25 m/min (nominal load); 50 m/min (no load)

• 2 x a.c. trolley motor rated 15kW each

• Trolley speed: 70 m/min

• 4 x a.c. gantry motor rated 37kW each

• Gantry speed: 80/130 m/min

Solution proposed by Control Techniques

With a decade of experience in the development, construction and application of drives – and in dealing with the quality constraints to which they are subject – Control Techniques is able to guarantee maximum efficiency of automated container lifting and handling systems. Control Techniques automation systems are designed using the very latest digital methods.

The distr ibuted architecture of the automation system designed by Control Techniques, based on field bus technology, brings a significant saving in material and in the time taken to install the electrical system on board the machine. Subsequent commissioning of the crane is also simplified.

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