APM Terminals Algeciras and University of Cadiz collaborate on terminal equipment innovation and design
A fruitful collaboration between engineers at APM Terminals Algeciras and the prominent University of Cadiz, in Spain has led to a number of terminal equipment design improvements and patents improving both efficiency and safety. In recognition of these advances APM Terminals Algeciras was named “Innovative Company of the Year” in both regional and national Spanish competitions in 2008.
A Spanish patent has been granted for a method of allowing greater lateral flexibility of the spreader of a Rubber-Tired Gantry Crane (RTG) so that slight adjustments of several centimeters can be made when securing a container for lifting without having to move the entire crane itself. The “sideshift” devices do not affect the load capacity or maximum lift height of the RTGs, and permit faster and safer container loading.
“It has been a perfect marriage of operational experience in the yard and academic expertise in making ideas into reality” said APM Terminals Algeciras Technical Department Manager Francisco Amores, describing the collaboration between an APM Terminals team of engineers led by Miguel Tavio and Manuella Vilchez of the University of Cadiz Research Team TIC-168, which began in November of 2006.
Another patented innovation developed by the Algeciras Terminal and University of Cadiz research team their counterparts on the Cadiz campus enables the hoist cables on the massive Ship-to-Shore gantry cranes to be replaced in six hours rather than a 24-hour long procedure, while the boom is raised, so that terminal operations of adjacent cranes are not affected. The reduction in time for the regularly scheduled cables replacements is also a significant safety factor.
“We are very proud of the work that our joint efforts have done, and the very successful results they have produced” said the Algeciras Terminal Chief Operating Officer Laurids Uglvig, adding, “I cannot wait to see what they will come up with next”. The combined research effort was put on temporary hold in December of 2009. Other results of the collaboration include predictive equipment maintenance advances based upon oil analysis and infra-red scanning (both under implementation) and vibration measurement, which is still in development.
APM Terminals Algeciras is one of the largest and busiest container terminals in the Mediterranean with an annual throughput capacity of 3.4 million TEUs, is a major transshipment hub, as well as a gateway for the Andalusia region.