GE Develops Head-Block Coupling System for STS Container Cranes
GE, Berlin, Germany, has developed a new head-block coupling system that enables double hoist ship-to-shore (STS) container cranes to handle different container weights rapidly and easily. Up to four containers with completely different nominal loads now can be handled simultaneously. In addition, the automatic coupling or decoupling of the freely suspended spreaders will be possible at any time.
The new GE technology will enable ports to compete more effectively in the challenging and rapidly growing seaborne cargo industry. According to the Drewry report 2011, the world port TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit) throughput will reach the mark of 1.1 billion in 2020, compared to 542 million TEU in 2010. Besides expansion projects, advanced container cranes increasingly will be needed to efficiently handle the growing volume and the outsized New Panamax ships with capacities of more than 10,000 TEU in the world’s ports.
GE’s new offering improves the utilization of the container cranes as well the handling rates. Under optimal conditions, the new system can double a crane’s cargo handling per shift. The GE head block coupling system features high levels of flexibility and is equally suited for every container crane.
Previously, the hoisting of containers with very different loads led to different rope lengths, resulting in disruption of the head block coupling. With the new system, these head block displacements can be accommodated by the drive system using sensor data and real-time controller calculations.
“With the new head block coupling, GE again is demonstrating the innovation that differentiates us from our competitors and supports our customers in increasing their productivity, which will help GE to become a leading company in the crane industry,” said Georg Möhlenkamp, global product leadership manager for GE Energy’s Power Conversion business.
GE is supplying the complete drive equipment for container cranes based on its ProCrane drive technology and also is providing the automation equipment and crane management systems for smooth and efficient cargo handling.