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Transponder technology vs. DGPS for crane positioning in container yards

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Author(s): Goetting KG, Lehrte, Germany

Over the last few years, many ports have decided to invest in positioning systems for their RTGs and RMGs.

The goal: Container Location Tracking (often called PDS = Position Detection System) and/or Automatic Steering as driver assistance feature on RTGs (also referred to as: Steering Control).

But which technologies have they chosen and why?

How can this be transferred to other ports?

Most of these cranes where equipped with either Transponder Positioning Systems or DGPS.

What are  the differences, advantages and disadvantages of the different technologies?

In answering this question, above listed questions will be answered as well: DGPS DGPS rover units on cranes enable a very flexible operation and therefore are ideally suitable for the use on RTGs, where the terminal operator requires the flexibility to change the location of stacks and add new stacks as business develops.

For DGPS applications, except for a central reference unit, no installations in the  environment are required.

Often, for Container Location Tracking applications, even this reference unit is not necessary, as coast guard DGPS reference beacon signals are available.

DGPS for Container Location Tracking is most suitable for the installation on all Rubber Tired Cranes and Straddle Carriers. DGPS also  enables Automatically Steering rubber tired vehicles and cranes, as long as the sight connection to the satellites is established, as if driven along a virtual rail.

Transponder Positioning Systems For all rail mounted vehicles and cranes, the Transponder Technology will be the most cost effective solution for positioning and recalibration when comparing these two technologies.

Also whenever the environment does not supply sufficient sight connection to the satellites, such as for  Container AGV, the long proven and very reliable Transponder Technology remains the most suitable solution for positioning and steering control.


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Edition 34

PTI Edition 34 • Digital & Print
In edition 34 of Port Technology International, we look at how fast-scan technology increases security and decreases bottlenecks; how WiFi technology is powering real-time intermodal operations at Deurganck terminal; and focus on the growth of the Baltic States, and development strategies for Lithuanian ports.



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