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Load handling in the harshest port operating environments

Thursday, 6 November 2014 ( #692 )
In container and stevedoring ports handling equipment must be reliable and dependable and built for demanding outdoor operations. Click for larger view.
In container and stevedoring ports handling equipment must be reliable and dependable and built for demanding outdoor operations. Click for larger view.
Handling equipment used in ports is faced with a number of challenges due to the harsh operating environment. One of the biggest challenges faced, both in container and stevedoring ports, is the intensity and demands of the operation. "Each loading and unloading operation must be performed quickly to fit with the port's busy schedule and firm deadlines, which are often 24/7 and 365 days a year" explains Chris van de Werdt, Sales Manager Big Trucks, NACCO Materials Handling BV, t/a Hyster Europe Materials Handling. "Each movement of goods must also be carried out with the highest level of accuracy, due to the high cost of goods and containers. Speed and accuracy can be a demanding combination and are dependent on two factors - the equipment and the operators." Equipment uptime and availability is critical to support the busy operation and the, often firm, deadlines, so handling equipment must be reliable and dependable and built for demanding outdoor operations in temperatures ranging from tropical climates to -40 degrees Celsius.
"When selecting container handling equipment, it is important to look out for tough and reliable components, such as robust masts, and a tough spreader design, that are proven in similar operations" says Chris van de Werdt. Engine and transmission protection, as well as oil-immersed brakes and a cooling system are also features that help ensure reliability, as well as ensuring a low total cost of ownership. Service and maintenance support is also an important factor in the equipment selection process. Selecting good quality equipment with suitable support is only the basic preparation for a handling operation in a harsh environment such as a port. Things do happen in real life applications that can impact the operation and most operations will plan for the worst case scenario. For instance the cargo may be heavier than planned, which could affect the equipment selection, or the cargo may have been damaged during transit, causing challenges when handling, but the operational process must continue.
"When selecting container handling equipment, it is important to look out for tough and reliable components, such as robust masts, and a tough spreader design, that are proven in similar operations" says Chris van de Werdt.
In the event of a breakdown or problem with the equipment telemetry can provide fault code descriptions via email so the operators know in advance of a problem and are prepared before arrival. This increases the chance of a first time fix, so that the equipment is up and running in operation in best possible time. Telemetry can also play a big part with the operator. Hyster Tracker, for example, allows different operators to be set up on the same equipment and secured access ensures only certified operators can use the equipment, with timeline features tracking when training must be renewed. Systems can also be used to track who drives the equipment and how they drive, monitoring productivity, fuel costs and mandatory daily checks to help standardise and therefore speed up the daily start-up process. "When it comes to trends in this industry, the focus often comes back to the operator, who plays a vital role in the application with a challenging and high pressured role in the operation" adds Chris van de Werdt. "Hyster has made significant investment in giving the operator a comfortable environment with easy to use controls and excellent visibility so that the operator can make efficient use of its industry leading speed and performance." Tools have been created by Hyster to help the operator drive in the most efficient manner, keeping the cost down without losing productivity. Whether handling containers, steel, lumber, pipes or paper, equipment must therefore be designed with the operator in mind. Features may include all round visibility from an air conditioned, covered cab, which protects the driver from extreme weather conditions. An ergonomically designed seat offering minimal vibration level and reduced noise levels in the cab, among other factors, also contribute to greater operator satisfaction. Many operations managers understand that enhanced comfort and reduced fatigue results in greater productivity, which drives the entire operation. For special handling applications requiring specialist attachments for example, operations are advised to select a supplier with strong special engineering experience.
www.hyster.eu Please Contact: Andrea Cleres- Hyster Europe t: +49 (0) 61 02 3 68 68-25 e: send an email w: www.hyster.eu Hyster® is one of the leading global brands of materials handling equipment and Hyster Company offers over 140 models of counterbalance trucks, warehouse and container handling equipment. The company invests heavily in research and development to ensure Hyster® products are at the forefront of the materials handling industry providing maximum dependability and low costs of ownership for demanding operations everywhere. Hyster Company (www.hyster.com) is a leading worldwide lift truck designer and manufacturer and is part of NACCO Materials Handling Group, Inc. (NMHG), a wholly owned subsidiary of Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc. (NYSE:HY). Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc. and its subsidiaries, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, employ approximately 5,200 people worldwide. HYSTER, and FORTENS are registered trademarks in the European Union and certain other jurisdictions. MONOTROL is a registered trademark, and DURAMATCH and are trademarks in the United States and in certain other jurisdictions. Visit www.hyster.eu for further information.

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