Konecranes launches its A-STRAD automated straddle carrier


Leading the way in container terminal automation, Konecranes confirms its role as a technological pacesetter for brown, green and future fields. At this year’s TOC Europe in Amsterdam, the Konecranes Noell A-STRAD was introduced to market.

In addition to its A-STRAD automated straddle carrier, Konecranes is launching its A-SPRINTER, the 1-over-1 version of its A-STRAD for horizontal transport. In both the A-STRAD and the A-SPRINTER, mature machine design and automation technology, two proven pillars from Konecranes, are combined.

Container terminal operators appreciate the sophisticated machine design of manual Konecranes Noell Straddle Carriers. The mature design features the industry’s leading diesel-electric drive system, which gives maneuvering precision. This makes the difference when it comes to vehicle navigation and positioning – in both manual and automated machine versions.

A-STRAD and A-SPRINTER also incorporate cutting-edge automation technology from the complete product portfolio and long experience Konecranes offers for container stackyard and horizontal container transport. These automated solutions include all of the requisite sub-systems and software, such as the renowned Navimatic® navigation system and TEAMS fleet management system, as well as consulting and comprehensive lifecycle service.

Tuomas Saastamoinen, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Port Solutions, Konecranes: “Our innovation strategy is built on mature technology and decades of experience. This is of particular importance in a complex segment such as terminal automation, where we have supplied numerous terminals with equipment and infrastructure. In automated horizontal transport, our customers are currently operating more than 650 of our AGVs, most of them equipped with our Navimatic® navigation system. Moreover, some 300 of our ARMGs and ARTGs are in operation around the world. In addition, we are the only supplier to have put an entire automated terminal into operation from a single source – ranging from machines for horizontal transport and storage to navigation, fleet management software and interfacing.”

With the A-STRAD and the A-SPRINTER, container terminal operators can begin with an automated terminal right from the start or convert their manual infrastructure to an automated system in controlled phases. For a brownfield conversion, existing man-driven, diesel-electric Konecranes Noell Straddle Carriers can easily be converted to automated operation as their control systems are automation-ready.

Konecranes draws on field-proven technology undergoing continuous development – not only for the straddle carriers themselves but also with regard to sub-systems and software, such as the vehicle navigation. Depending on the customer’s requirements, Konecranes uses various systems for the position detection. “Local GPS” technology utilizes a terrestrial radio system that makes use of GPS, achieving outstanding navigation precision. The transponder system, familiar from the Konecranes Gottwald AGV systems, is based on a grid of passive transponders, i.e. electromagnetic route markers, embedded in the terminal ground and sensed by a surface antenna with a sender/receiver unit on the equipment itself.

Saastamoinen continues: “With A‑STRAD and A‑SPRINTER, Konecranes is again leading the way in terminal automation. Whether the field is brown, green, or a future vision, container terminal operators can realize a step-by-step conversion in the most flexible way according to their long-term-strategies with the help of our standardized automation modules. Our automated straddle carrier solution paves the way for container terminal operators to set the pace in automation for their business while investing in a sustainable future.”

The first customer to benefit from this flexibility in straddle carrier automation is Ports of Auckland Ltd. (POAL). Konecranes will supply 27 A-STRADs to New Zealand and at the same time upgrade 21 existing manual straddle carriers. All automated machines are scheduled to be fully operational by mid-2019. Says Saastamoinen: “Along with mature technology and deep experience, testing is a key element of our go-to-market approach. Based on these pillars, we have gradually extended our portfolio and provided customers with sustainable solutions for every container terminal situation.”

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