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Enhancing port logistics with automation systems and engineering services

Home Engineering Electrical Enhancing port logistics with automation systems and engineering services

VERT Energy – exclusive distributors for Leroy-Somer in southern Africa – offers automation systems and engineering services for container, dry bulk terminal and port material handling.

Leroy-Somer’s automation systems for port logistic operations encompass variable speed modular drives, high-efficiency motors and a dedicated Crane Management System (CMS). These compact systems are installed at harbours around the world, with the necessary power and control to maximise the automation, speed and reliability of cranes and material handling equipment.

“In conjunction with Leroy-Somer specialists, the Vert Energy team offers port operators completely new equipment automation installation services and also has the expertise to modernise existing port installed systems,” said Grant Robertson, Managing Director, Vert Energy.

“This not only extends the lifetime of equipment and maximises benefits from the initial investment, but also increases safety on site and reduces operational costs. Furthermore, our eco-friendly fuel-saving solutions minimise environmental impact, by reducing CO2 emissions and decreasing equipment noise levels.”

Robertson said projects vary from small logistic machine automation, to comprehensive electrical turnkey port automation solutions.

“Specifically, our port logistics services comprise advanced drives and motors technology and scalable automation solutions, which extend from simple drive and motor conveyor or hopper control, to a complete crane or port handling equipment automation solutions.

“Customised technical services encompass consultation, installation, commissioning, training, maintenance and repairs, to ensure optimum performance of port equipment.”

He said the benefits of modular drives systems and advanced automation systems include fast turn-around of containers, bulk cargo or freight, by optimising the loading/unloading and storage cycles. “Intelligent and safe automation solutions enhance efficiency of crane operators and also assist engineering and maintenance staff to resolve and analyse faults.”

He said Vert Energy’s LS drives and motor technology has specially designed features, to make port equipment safer. These include a range of motors and brake gear motors for static hold and dynamic braking and variable speed drives with built-in safety features for electric brake control and overspeed management.

Leroy-Somer’s Crane Management System (CMS) which monitors the physical and operating conditions of port equipment on a real-time basis, is used to operate cranes, schedule maintenance, analyse faults, reconfigure the drives and provide crane production data.

Single or multiple crane control systems communicate with the remote crane management system (RCMS) over fibre optic cables or via wireless communication systems, to reduce equipment maintenance and downtime. RCMS can be used at maintenance level for service monitoring, operations level for equipment availability and management level for performance data.

Fault-tolerant modular AC drives systems are used to control crane and handling equipment movements, with built-in redundancy for continuous operations.

“The differential GPS control system (DGPS) is a highly accurate and safe automatic steering for cranes and yard tracking systems linked with the terminal operating system.”

Leroy-Somer’s hoisting induction motor range has features for improved crane performance, including high-speed for greater productivity and low inertia for smoother start/run/stop operations, as well as reduced maintenance requirements.

Modular AC and DC drive crane systems can be set-up with an active front end (regenerative mode) where control of the brakes via the drive software and constant power hoisting via feedback from load-cells, prevents overload/over-speed.

During lowering operations, the system is able to automatically move into regeneration mode to feed energy back into port grid system, providing significant savings in energy consumption. Where appropriate, energy on cranes can be also be channelled into energy storage systems.

Robertson said electric motors account for nearly 65% of the electricity used by the port logistics industry. “LS drives and motors solutions are developed together to maximise energy savings and performance. For example, Dyneo permanent magnet solutions and IE2/3 induction solutions, are combined with variable speed drive technologies, to offer the highest levels of energy saving.”

RISGA is a compact, energy and fuel-saving system for diesel electric cranes. This system, which Robertson said is easy to install in new or existing crane cabinets, is designed to manage the generator, allowing its speed to be reduced when idling, but still supplies auxiliaries, such as lighting and heating.

Savings of approximately 50% of fuel consumption are achieved when the crane is idle. Other benefits include fewer refuel stops, reduced wear and extended life of the diesel engine, generator and electrical auxiliaries. Emission and noise levels are also reduced.

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