In dialogue with UK port operators, Cooper Specialised Handling, a major UK independent port handling equipment supplier, has identified the conundrum faced by port operators. This is the need to increase throughput whilst, at the same time, reducing emissions. Let’s take these two issues one at a time.
A speed of discharge of dry bulk will ultimately be determined by the speed of the slowest link in the chain which is most commonly the landside operations. As Natasha Barnes, Marketing Manager of Coopers points out, “There is little point in having a crane discharging from a vessel at a rate of 1,000tph [tonnes per hour] if landside operations cannot match this — ultimately the crane discharge rate will be determined by the ability to clear the quay.”
The Mantsinen 200 and 300 hydraulic cranes can easily achieve in excess of 1,000tph, but port landside operations are still equipped for slow rope cranes operating at 250–400tph.
This is a prime reason behind Cooper’s ‘Smart Port’ initiative. Smart Port essentially challenges the existing procurement objectives from looking at straight, maybe faster, replacements into totally resetting the operations whereby throughput is geared around the fastest link in the chain, not the slowest. It also adopts the simple rule of materials handling in only handling product as few times as possible, thus saving money and saving energy. As Barnes remarks, “A loading shovel with a prodding blade is pushing dry bulk up only for 50% of it to fall again — what a waste of energy and resource!”
Smart Port therefore uses a selection of machinery that can cope with the high discharge rates of the Mantsinen cranes. If the sheds are close by to the quay, link conveyors can feed a stacking conveyor which feeds the top of the shed thus eliminating loading shovels handling at a bucket load each time and ultimately creating their own bottleneck. If the shed is a distance away, Coopers suggests rather than using 30t lorries, using translifter-based 80t tipping trailers.
The benefit of using translifters is that trailers can be used as buffer loading areas so unloading can continue into a loose trailer rather than waiting for a returning translifter-mounted trailer. The translifter can then drop off an empty trailer and use the translifter to take the product to the shed. Whilst there, a feeding hopper can take the 80t surge load and use a Telestack conveyor system to feed the roof of the shed this avoiding loading shovels and prodding blades.
In terms of emissions, Mantsinen cranes are available in diesel, electric or can be supplied with both diesel and electric to facilitate futureproofing to begin operations and introduce electric infra structure later on. Telestack conveyors are already available in either diesel or mains electric and terminal tractors are now already mature in battery electric formats. Smart Port can therefore be 100% electrified.
However, if throughput speed is increased and CO2 emissions reduced through Smart Port, the most surprising element is that the cost is reduced by as much as 70%. This is calculated on a cost per tonne basis relative to using a rope crane with a more traditional landside operations to remove from the quay.
Smart Port is not a product; it is an ideology that challenges the operational procurement status-quo. It is faster, cleaner, quieter, less expensive, and importantly, ensures machinery is used effectively and minimizing product degradation experienced through multiple touchpoints.
Operating in all sectors of heavy lifting across the UK and Ireland, Cooper Specialised Handling is the exclusive UK distributor for SveTruck heavy duty forklifts and log stackers, TEC Container, RAM Spreaders and Sany mobile handling equipment, sole UK importer and exclusive distributor for Mantsinen cranes, Movella Translifters, and a long-term specialist in Konecranes lift trucks. The company, which celebrated 20 years in business in 2018, also has a dedicated after-sales division, Cooper Handling Solutions, which specializes in engineering support.
Independently owned, Cooper offers total solutions in both solids and bulk handling. Its customized solutions comprise high quality, high value products and reliable service for businesses operating in the most challenging heavy handling environments, including ports, freight handling, inter-modal terminals, manufacturing and other heavy lifting industries.