Sunday, February 03, 2013
Scanner helps crane operators view cargo, place containers on ships
The latest from The Ticker blog
Ship-to-shore gantry crane operators have the delicate task of loading and unloading trailer-sized containers from cargo ships.
The operation comes with a unique set of challenges.
Operators have a hard time seeing around the massive machinery and seeing exactly where to place a container on a ship. Vision impairments often result in broken equipment, wire rope snags, stress on the crane, maintenance costs and lost time.
As the result of customer requests, David Stocker and Michael Bartel, chief specialists in the material handling business unit of TMEIC Corp. in Salem, invented a cargo scanner as part of TMEIC's Maxview Smart Landing system.
It gives the crane operator another way to view the cargo and other structure obstacles, aiding in container placement on the ship.
"This system assists the operators of these giant ship-to-shore gantry cranes by helping prevent high-speed collisions of the suspended load and the ship, and the containers on board the ship," Stocker said in an email. "The concept is very similar to the back-up protections that are now becoming standard equipment on high-end automobiles."
According to a TMEIC Maxview video, a laser scans the cargo and other objects aboard the ship. The scan helps the operator see the depth of each cell on the ship and avoid collisions and damage to the equipment. The scanner gives depth and object measurements up to 80 meters.
A Port Technology International article co-written by Stocker says that the new scanner is a replacement for a scanner that could be blocked by the container and was prone to misalignment and failure.
The smart landing system has been in use for several years. A pilot landing system was installed in Vancouver, Canada, in 2007. Since then, additional systems have been installed in several other ports worldwide.
Inventors: David Stocker, Roanoke; Michael Bartel, Roanoke
Assignee: TMEIC Corp., Roanoke
Title: Dynamic protective envelope for crane suspended loads
Patent No. and filing date: 8,352,128; Sept. 25, 2009