Thursday, December 01, 2005

Robots replace workers on the wharves

Patrick Corporation has been testing robotic container carriers - or straddlers - at one wharf in its Port of Brisbane operation for the past two years, but yesterday Mr Corrigan opened all three of Patrick's Brisbane wharves to be operated by the robots.

Other waterfronts will be modelled on Brisbane, with the most noticeable feature being that they are completely off limits to humans. If a person enters the fenced area, a series of lasers will trigger an alert.

This means not only fewer people employed on the waterfront, but also greater efficiency, because the driverless container straddlers can move within millimetres of one another without slowing down or crashing.

Previously, about 40 per cent of Patrick's 80-strong workforce at the Port of Brisbane were straddler drivers.

The AutoStrad (automated straddle carrier) technology is the result of more than nine years research, development and piloting and is the world's first 'free-ranging' automated straddle system.

The automated 10-metre high, 65-tonne straddle carriers are fitted with sophisticated motion control and navigation systems which allow them to operate unmanned - moving and stacking containers from the quay, into holding yards, onto vehicles, and back to quay cranes with pin-point accuracy.

Mr Corrigan said there was clearly enormous potential to sell the AutoStrad technology globally.
"The AutoStrad offers a very long list of significant benefits from 24-hour operation, more efficient use of sometimes limited portside land, greatly improved workplace safety, and a range of other cost-savings which will be attractive to terminal operators around the world.

webcams of quay

The Courier-Mail: Robots replace workers on the wharves [02dec05]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 10 meters tall and 65-tons these are probably the largest robots in the world!

6:19 AM, December 02, 2005  

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