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Accurate and real time position measuring: under quay crane, yard, interchange, ... everywhere.

Accurate position detection enhances control over processes

Camco’s Micro Location Technology solution (MLT) allows precise and reliable position detection of containers and container handling equipment (CHE) in difficult terminal environments. By combining DGPS, INS and RF distance ranging technologies, the position can be accurately measured, even in obstructed or difficult areas such as under the ship-to-shore crane, near the (A)RMG crane, or near a vessel.

Knowing exactly where containers are dropped off or lifted, and where CHEs are located, highly contributes to the terminal’s operational efficiency. By measuring a container’s registered position (i.e. the position where it will be picked up next), handling errors by crane operators or CHEs will be prevented and lost containers will belong to the past. Camco’s Micro Location Technology solution (MLT) provides an additional verification step in the terminal’s operational processes, as well as many opportunities to improve process visibility.

Proven accuracy of 20 cm under the quay crane

Successful proofs of concepts have demonstrated the accuracy and reliability of Camco’s MLT solution: the measurements are very precise, with a deviation under the ship-to-shore crane of maximum 20 cm. Compared to systems that rely solely on DGPS, this deviation is negligible.

Reference nodes, strategically positioned on the terminal

The MLT solution is based on a set of reference nodes, positioned at fixed, well known positions. The mobile nodes, fitted on the CHE find their exact position with the assistance of the reference nodes by use of 2.4/5.2 GHz radio distance ranging. The system with reference nodes can be compared with a private GPS network, where additional local nodes are fitted in the more difficult areas, such as STS, ASC, (A)RMG, to guarantee accurate position measurements. The mobile nodes can calculate their position autonomously, without server connection, and send their position to the TOS.

A new software suite was developed for MLT assisted container handling, called CHEOPS: CHE Operation Positioning System. CHEOPS can communicate with all CHEs – as well as the TOS – and receives position information from the CHEs.

Collision avoidance system

Camco’s MLT solution can also be used for collision avoidance. Shuttle and straddle carriers equipped with a MLT based collision avoidance system, will receive an early pre-crash audio signal to warn the driver for an imminent collision. Similarly, terminal staff can be protected against CHEs coming too close.

Any type of CHE can be fitted with the Camco MLT solution: ship-to-shore crane, ARMG, rail mounted gantry crane, terminal truck, shuttle carrier, straddle carrier, reach stacker, empty container handler, forklift and even terminal workers.

Drawbacks of solutions that rely only on DGPS and INS

Technologies such as DGPS and INS have proved to be insufficient with respect to reliable and accurate position detection on terminals. Although DGPS will help measuring positions, it lacks in accuracy and will fail when the line of sight is obstructed. Even the latest generation GPS receivers require unobstructed view of multiple satellites to get a position reading. Employing navigation aids such as INS, using accelerometers and gyroscopes, the position can be more or less guessed. Still, it’s ultimately in those drop off / pick up locations under cranes and near vessels that an accurate position reading is vital. That’s why Camco uses a combination of RF distance ranging, DGPS and INS.