Kalmar, part of Cargotec, has expanded its lineup of container-handling equipment with the launch of the Autoshuttle, an automated self-loading shuttle carrier that can pick, place, and transport containers between ship-to-shore and yard stacking cranes.
Powered by a U.S. EPA Tier-3-certified Scania or Cummins QSM11 engine, the Autoshuttle is controlled by an onboard automation system according to the routes specified by the terminal logistic system. Using odometer-based data such as wheel revolution and steering angle, the automated vehicle continuously calculates the distance and direction it has travelled.
Vehicle navigation is based on Kalmar’s magnetic measurement system (MMS) technology. The system uses data from magnetic markers embedded in the terminal surface and MMS sensors located on the vehicle’s side frames to calculate position. The spreader includes intelligent sensor technology that controls its fine positioning, although the spreader can also be remotely controlled when required.
The new shuttle carrier is designed to function within the framework of Kalmar’s terminal logistic system (TLS), which controls the terminal’s overall operations and logistics. TLS provides simple and comprehensive interfaces to the terminal operating system, implementing orders by assigning concrete job tasks to specific vehicles based on a defined negotiation/contract protocol. Together with a distributed network architecture that controls vehicles locally, the system’s negotiation/contract protocol allows TLS to provide a flexible, scalable network of terminal operations.
The new Autoshuttle is an evolution of the shuttle carrier Kalmar originally introduced in the 1990s to meet the anticipated needs of future mega-terminals. “Requiring ever-faster turnaround times, higher productivity, and better cost efficiency, Kalmar is again anticipating the needs of its customers by offering the Kalmar Autoshuttle as a faster, more flexible, and productive solution,” said Jorma Tirkkonen, President, Kalmar Intelligence and Automation.
Kalmar’s new Autoshuttle allows terminals to create a buffer between its vessel and yard operations, in addition to reducing traffic congestion and better using the space behind a STS crane. It can be used to replace a terminal’s existing automatic guided vehicles (AGVs), with two to three automated shuttle units capable of serving one STS crane that would previously have been supported by five to seven AGVs, according to Kalmar.
Like its manually-operated counterpart, Kalmar’s new Autoshuttle is capable of handling 20- and 40-ft (6.1- and 12.2-m) containers, as well as two 20-ft (6.1-m) boxes in twin-lift operation with load ratings of 40,000 kg (88,000 lb) for single lift and 50,000 (110,000 lb) for twin lift. It can operate at speeds up to 30 km/h (19 mph), and has a minimum turn radius of 9 m (29.5 ft) from the vehicle’s center point.