AUTOMATION IS THE KEY FOR PRODUCTIVITY AND SAFETY IN THE ALL-WEATHER TERMINAL GHENT
Over two million tons of high-grade steel coils are handled per year in the All-Weather Terminal (AWT), located next to the premises of Arcelor Mittal steel mill in Ghent, Belgium. The AWT-Ghent was created to store and load steel coils into river barges and sea-going vessels in a covered facility. Thus, the entire operation from production to ship loading can be done in dry conditions without interruptions due to weather.
AWT-Ghent, has chosen Euroports to operate the terminal for a period of at least 20 years. After a careful study of various crane types and brands, Euroports selected Mantsinen cranes via their local distributor Heavy Handling and crane rental company Goeyvaerts-R who rents the machines with a 24/7 technical service to the terminal.
The AWT is an innovative solution that needed to be matched with an innovative and efficient logistics chain. Trains with covered wagons move the steel coils in general directly from Arcelor Mittal’s production to the AWT storage building, where they are unloaded by massive automatic overhead cranes. When a ship is underway for loading, the coils are transferred from the storage to the neighbouring covered quay building. Semi-portal cranes pre-sort the coils into the specific loading sequence. This enables the Mantsinen cranes to be exploited their full potential and load the ships in record time.
“AWT allows a continuous operation, so there will be no waste of time nor money. The technology in the material handling machines enables us to take the next step in production figures and achieve better levels of safety. It also supports operators in their work.”
HIGH STANDARDS FOR OPERATIONS
The Mantsinen electrical material handling machines bring unprecedented benefits to the day-to-day operations and they also contribute to environmental goals.
Choosing Mantsinen as a partner to this project was easy according to the Technical Project Manager Peter Broers from Euroports. “We already had experience of Mantsinen machines from our Antwerp terminal, so we knew about the benefits. We needed a reliable material handling machine that could handle material with high speeds – up to 30-35 coils per hour. Mantsinen was one of only two players in the world that could provide us that, and due to the quality, reliability and the high level of automatization we ended up choosing Mantsinen 200ES and 300ES material handling machines. We have very high standards for operations, and with Mantsinen we can reach them. For the operators, Mantsinen material handling machines are a heaven; the view is very good. They are light, consistent and safe to use. The overall design is practical and robust.”
A UNIQUE SAFETY SYSTEM
A safety system to avoid collision between the two Mantsinen material handling machines and the two semi-portal cranes, was developed to constantly monitor position, direction and speed of all machines and actively intervene in case of potential collision. This safety system works according to a failsafe performance level D norm, which means it is extremely robust and is also self-controlling the accuracy, making it as safe as it gets. To our knowledge the implementation of such a system on this kind of equipment is a world’s first.
A warehouse management system guides the flow of coils from their entry by train until they’ve been loaded into the ship. A computer screen in the Mantsinen operator cabin shows the operator which coil to pick up next. At pickup the Mantsinen automatically sends its boom tip position and weight measurement to the warehouse management and the system then doublechecks that the right coil was picked.
These special automation systems were developed in close cooperation between AWT Ghent, Euroports and Mantsinen. They are not only improving safety and quality, but also the productivity.
“Without automation we would not be able to reach the high productivity numbers and this was a key factor when selecting Mantsinen.”
AWT fits perfectly in the environmental wave of material handling with less pollution, less noise and less waste. By using trains, vessels and barges it is possible to reduce the amount of material being moved by road trucks and thus greatly improves the carbon footprint.
The Mantsinen cranes at AWT are powered by electric motors, effectively releasing zero local emissions.
“Cleanliness and low noise levels are very important for both the terminal staff as well as to the surrounding neighbourhood”, Broers says. Making sustainable choices is also closely connected to efficiency as electric machines also come with higher working speeds.