Patrick introduces world-first AutoStrad

News Story
- 8 Dec 2005 ( #238 ) - BRISBANE, Australia
2 min read
The AutoStrad fleet on display on December 1.
The AutoStrad fleet on display on December 1.
After years of intensive research and testing, a fully automated straddle carrier system, started operations in Patrick Corporation's Fisherman Islands' facility in Brisbane, Australia, when three new berths opened on December 1.

The AutoStrad system was developed by Patrick Technology & Services (PTS), a joint venture between Patrick and Kalmar Industries. PTS claims the AutoStrad system is a world first.

Research on the automated straddle project began in 1996 and, in 2001, Kalmar joined PTS as an equity partner. Patrick, as majority shareholder, owns intellectual property rights for most of the on-board technology and all the essential real-time control systems.

The 65-tonne straddles are fitted with motion control and navigation systems that allow them to operate unmanned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and in all weather conditions. They move containers with pin-point accuracy.

Unlike other automated systems, the AutoStrad is free ranging. It can move freely on a computer-generated virtual grid and does not require installation of in-ground guidance or communication systems to operate, PTS said.

Kalmar's role was to apply its knowledge and experience to developing machine control systems that move, brake and steer the straddle carriers and ensure precise picking and placing of containers.

Patrick terminals division Brisbane manager Matt Hollamby told a business lunch last week cost was not a factor because AutoStrads used in trials were essentially late-generation Kalmar machines with "bolt-on" automation packages.

"Whatever Kalmar model you have we can bolt on all the components to make it automated. One of the models used in our trials was the 4011135-80-T, built in 1997," said Patrick terminal division operations manager Isnan Rahman.

Eighteen AutoStrads service the Brisbane terminal's new berths 7, 8 and 9, and will handle an estimated 350,000 TEUs in the first year of operation on the 25 hectare site. They will move containers from the 750 metre quay, stack them in holding yards and load them onto vehicles.

The machines are Kalmar EDRIVE straddle carriers, the first to be purpose-built for unmanned operations.

At the terminal's official opening, Patrick managing director Chris Corrigan said there was potential to on-sell the 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 that will be attractive to terminal operators around the world," he said.
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Tel: +61 0) 7 3448 0010 or 1300 66 1976 (within Australia)
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Are you recruiting? Find your ideal candidate among a diverse range of materials handling professionals:

Forkliftaction's JOB MARKET

Whether you have low or high volumes of container movements, we have a container handling solution that will suit your business. With high quality, superior design, and a range of safety features, our mini-straddle carriers are used across a variety of industries including logistics and transport, glass, steel, food, customs and border protection, and import and export.

Mobicon Systems
Tel: +61 0) 7 3448 0010 or 1300 66 1976 (within Australia)
www.mobiconsystems.com