Lifted productivity
ABB Crane systems lift buisness in Quingdao
Stephen-JiHao Zhu
Crane control systems from ABB are hard at work throughout the world. They are used by ports, shipping lines, power stations and steelworks - and assure a reliable and fast turnaround, speedy forwarding, and are a cost effective way of moving containers, bulk material and steel products. ABB works together with crane builders or directly with end users - supplying electric equipment, motion control, automation and information systems.

Following China’s economic growth of recent decades, the demand for cranes has also grown. ABB is an important supplier in this market. Most of these systems are used in bulk material and container terminals from Dalian in the north to Beihai in the south. ABB’s extensive knowledge and experience is helping these customers leverage their productivity. The port of Qingdao is a prime example.

Qingdao is an important hub of international trade and sea-going transportation. It is located in the Yellow River basin on the western Pacific Rim. In 2004, the port handled a record volume of over 161 million tons of goods. Its foreign trade volume surpassed 120 million tons – the second largest figure in Mainland China. Besides its large-scale container handling activities, the port also has a first-class iron ore terminal.

Using the cranes equipped with ABB’s system, the Port of Qingdao frequently sets new world production records both in ore-unloading and container handling.

Starting in 1997, ABB delivered two control systems for grabbing cranes used to unload ships in the port. Satisfied with the excellent performance and strong service support that was received with ABB’s systems, ABB was appointed crane control system supplier to continually provide systems to the port. Since then, ABB had delivered an additional three grab crane systems for unloading ships,
18 ship to shore crane systems and
16 rubber tyred gantry crane systems.

Grab crane ship unloader

A grab unloader is a crane fixture used to unload loose bulk material (such as coal or iron ore) from a ship.

ABB’s GrabControl system controls the work of the grab by regulating the different control modes of the drive system to ensure that the grab bucket is always filled to its optimum level. The operation of the grab is controlled so that it is automatically stopped when the bucket is approaching the material. An automatic digging sequence is then initiated.

When the bucket is almost fully closed, the hoisting of the grab begins automatically. This ensures the best possible closing of the bucket and minimizes spillage. The operator has only to supervise the operation. The GPO (Grab Pendulum and Performance Optimizer) ensures that the GSU meets the calculated productivity by minimizing unloading time.

The system controls the unloading cycle to a performance equal –
or better than – the most skilled crane operator.

The control system takes the momentum of the bucket into account. This means that time is saved at unloading. The bucket can be opened before it has come to a standstill because the control can predict the trajectory of its load and so ensure that no material is lost. This leads to faster turnaround times and for the crane and hence for the ship.


ABB Crane Systems lift business in Quingdao

Using the cranes equipped with ABB’s system, the Port of Qingdao frequently sets new world production records both in ore-unloading and container handling. Numerous awards have been won.




The following quotes are from announcements of the Port of Qingdao:
"At 18:20 on October 10, Qingdao Port again broke its own world record while working on the ship ‘Maersk Dortmund’. reaching a net rate of
474 boxes per hour and a berth rate of 380 boxes per hour. After Qingdao Port accomplished 2,035 TEU (twenty feet equivalent units) in under 2.67 hours, Maersk, the world’s largest shipping company, was so impressed that it sent a letter of thanks."

"At 18:00 on December 19th 2004, the imported-ore unloaded to date this year at Qingdao Port stands at 40,069 million tons, an increase by 18 % compared to the previous year. This further consolidates Quingdao’s position as the largest ore-handling port in China and also makes it the largest ore unloading port in the world."

The report on productivity of docking from Maersk says, "since the beginning of the year 2004, the average hour effectiveness of Qingdao Port has been 126 boxes with a peak of 167 boxes reached - the highest among all of Maersk’s docking ports and by far surpassing all the big ports in the world".
ABB Crane Systems lift business in Quingdao

It is reported that for the past several years, the container business of Qingdao Port has been enjoying an increase of over 30% in traffic for such companies as QQCT.

Last year’s container throughput exceeded 5 million TEU, achieving the box volume standard of an international shipping center. This year Qingdao Port has set a higher target. Qingdao wants to become the international shipping center of China’s north.

Container Handling

ABB Advant® Crane Control System is a complete toolbox for efficient control and operation of container handling cranes. Standardized packages are available for electrification and automation of both new and existing installations. ABB’s palette includes a wide range of proven software and hardware blocks that can be modularly combined to meet the customer’s specification.

ABB Advant® Crane Control System provides:
  • Basic drive & control systems
    for individual cranes, as well as for advanced port automation systems.
    • Systems proven in ports of all sizes all over the world.
    • Unmanned automation solutions.
    • Efficient systems for higher productivity.

ABB is looking forward to contributing further to the port’s success!

Stephen-JiHao Zhu
ABB Engineering (Shanghai) Ltd.
Shanghai, China
stephen-jihao.zhu@cn.abb.com