30 November 2021

As APM Terminals announces it will use a 5G network to connect all cranes, vehicles, and operators at the Port of Barcelona. Jenny Eagle looks at the latest news in Spain and its bounceback from COVID-19.

APM Terminals Barcelona is taking part in a pilot project using 5G technology to improve security at its port, part of the 5G Barcelona initiative, with Telefonica and Mobile World Capital Barcelona.

The aim of the project is to connect all cranes, vehicles, and operators through advanced communication and localisation technologies to minimise the potential risks of collisions between mobile machinery and fixed elements, vehicles, and people working at the terminal.

Telefónica’s 5G network and the low latency it brings will mean improved communications for Cellular Vehicle-to- Everything (C-V2X) at the port. By using Edge Computing technologies from Telefonica’s Virtual Data Centre (VDC), all data communicated by the cranes, trucks and pedestrian personnel will be sent securely to a geographical location hosted on the Edge, to get an immediate response from an intelligent cooperative transport system (C-ITS) with a dashboard for APMT to see a map of where everyone is.

An alarm system will notify crane drivers and trucks or pedestrian personnel about potential collisions against fixed and mobile fixtures, sending an instant notification to a control centre in case of a collision.

Straddle carrier cranes will be equipped with an onboard unit communicating via 5G and C-V2X between itself and other actors in the port. Trucks, truckers, and terminal personnel will have a 5G smartphone, with a C-V2X app installed.

“Projects like this are part of our Way of Working at APM Terminals, in search of innovation and continuous improvement, and for operations in our terminal to be increasingly safe, more sustainable and more competitive,” says Carlos Arias, MD, APMT Spanish Gateways.

Telefónica’s innovation manager, Mercedes Fernández, explains that the same technology can be scaled into other ports, airports, and industrial sites with similar traffic. The goal is “to reduce the accident rate among workers, vehicles and goods,” Fernández adds.

The project, which became operational this summer 2021, will have different stages of development and will use APMT Barcelona as a test location.

Along with the three promoters of the pilot, Ficosa will assist on implementation of C-V2X in cranes, the C-ITS system, and the integration of geographical location services and Harmana International will participate in the development of the C-V2X application on smartphones.

Damià Calvet, president of the port of Barcelona, met the heads of APM Terminals Barcelona, to address the improvement projects and investments that this container operator will promote. In future, the role that the terminal operator of the Maersk group will play as the base of operations for the 5G Barcelona pilot project will be fundamental. to its success.

According to a report in the Financial Times, factories in Italy and Spain are ramping up production to meet rising demand but also face growing shortages of raw materials and rising input costs. Also, a survey by the European IHS Markit, Spain’s manufacturing PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) rose faster than most economists had expected to a seven-month high of 52.9, up from 49.3. A reading above the 50 mark indicates that a majority of businesses reported an expansion of activity.

This is a level “that has rarely been exceeded in more than two decades of survey history,” says Chris Williamson, chief business economist, IHS Markit. “Producers are benefiting from a resurgent demand for goods in both domestic and export markets, linked to post-Covid recovery hopes, driving renewed stock building and investment in business equipment and machinery, as well as improved consumption.”

Many Spanish manufacturers reported “supply-side shortages, with strengthened global demand and ongoing transportation delays pushing up delivery times”, IHS Markit said.

Spanish factories said their backlogs of work increased for the first time in nearly two years. Despite the supply chain problems, confidence about the coming months rose among both Italian and Spanish manufacturers as they anticipated that a further loosening of pandemic-related activity restrictions could boost demand further.

For example, the Liebherr Group delivered its first LTM 1650-8.1 mobile crane in Spain to Grúas y Transportes Ibarrondo transportation company in May. The crane is available with two telescope boom lengths, Y guying and a luffing jib up to 91 meters in length

The high performance and flexibility of the Liebherr 8-axle crane pursuaded the company based in Bilbao to place an order at Bauma 2019 in Munich. A prototype of the crane was unveiled there and presented as the successor to the LTM 1500-8.1, the best-selling large crane of all time. The first LTM 1650-8.1 units have now been delivered worldwide.

When Grúas Ibarrondo decided in 2019 to buy the Liebherr LTM 1650-8.1 mobile crane, there was no way of knowing that just one year later a global pandemic would break out. But despite all the challenges, the company believes it was a wise decision to continue with its investment.

Ever since it first opened for business, Grúas Ibarrondo says it has remained true to its policy of continuously updating its fleet so as to keep up with state-of-theart technology. This is the only way it can achieve its objective of offering customers the best possible service at all times in the form of a modern fleet.

This was also the main reason behind the investment in the Liebherr LTM 1650-8.1 all-terrain crane.

“Purchasing this new Liebherr mobile crane is another step towards cementing our competitive position in our markets. The 8-axle crane will be profitable for us thanks to its high technical development. There is also the fact the concept behind the LTM 1650-8.1 is designed for sustainability in the form of its ECOdrive,” said Mikel Ibarrondo, managing director, Grúas Ibarrondo.

“With its range of equipment versions, the LTM 1650-8.1 is a flexible, versatile crane. We can use the LTM 1650-8.1 for a wide range of jobs. This is essential for us as we operate in different sectors, including public and private construction, industry, ports and wind farms.”

The 8-axle crane is between 15% and 50% more powerful than the LTM 1500-8.1, which means it can tackle challenging hoisting work in the 700t class. Technical developments have made this possible because the Liebherr plant in Ehingen has been working on improvements and developments in crane technology since its predecessor first went into production 20 years ago.

It has also inherited two concepts from the LTM 1500-8.1 – firstly, it is available with two telescopic boom lengths, 54 metres and 80 metres, and secondly, it features Y-guying which has been developed for telescopic booms. This increases lifting capacity and improves lateral stability. Furthermore, the crane has a 91 metre luffing jib and a 62 metre fixed jib.

The LTM 1650-8.1 completes the Grúas Ibarrondo fleet, which comprises 66 cranes, 41 of which were supplied by Liebherr. They cover almost the entire range of the LTMportfolio, from the LTM 1030-2.1 to the LTM 1750-9.1. The fleet also includes the 750 ton LG 1750 lattice boom crane.

Just before the Covid outbreak, Konecranes carried out an order for a busbar retrofit of its Rubber Tyre Gantry (RTG) cranes to enhance their sustainability at The Port of Valencia, which handles more than 4.2 million TEUs a year.

MSC Terminal VLC (MSCTV) is a major terminal within the Port of Valencia. It converted its existing Konecranes RTGs to a fully electric operation, in addition to buying new Konecranes RTGs that came fully busbar-ready.

The busbar retrofit provides a CO2 emissions reduction of approximately 20%, as well as producing less noise, requiring less maintenance and operating at higher levels of productivity and reliability.

Vicent Lladó, director, Port Services Mediterranean, Konecranes, says despite a pause in some orders during Covid, the market is resuming all equipment-related activity in Spain right now.

“The new features installed in the RTGs have proven to be better than expected, so future orders from this customer will no doubt will have the same specification. We are seeing more customers following in the footsteps of MSC by planning a brownfield retrofit, and more requests for RTGs with alternative power options,” he said.

In another sign of post-Covid posterity HMS Industrial Network, part of HMS Networks, acquired 60% of all shares in the Spanish company Owasys Advanced Wireless Devices, headquartered in Bilbao with 20 employees.

Owasys is a wireless communication company designing and manufacturing products for utility vehicles and industrial machines. It offers wireless embedded communication platforms for remote monitoring and control of mobile machines.

“Owasys allows HMS to enter the vertical of mobile machines and utility vehicles, which is an interesting part of our strategically important ‘Information Centric’ playing field. With Owasys, we strengthen our position for remote access and data solutions beyond our current sweet spot in factory automation.” said Staffan Dahlström, CEO, HMS Networks.

“Owasys has an impressive technology and customer base for a company of their size and HMS will provide a good platform for future development.”

Its portfolio includes owa4x, an IoT gateway for processing and transmission of data from wired and wireless sensors, devices and peripherals to the cloud, and owa450, an IoT platform for controlling and monitoring data from vehicles and industrial machines at the Edge.

“We are very excited to be able to continue to develop our market together with HMS. We see good opportunities for technology collaborations and HMS’s international presence will be of great use for Owasys in our continued expansion,” adds Javier Gurtubay, CEO, Owasys.

The 60% share in Owasys was acquired by HMS from the existing management team which remains in ownership of 40% of the shares and will continue to manage the business. Owasys is expected to have Net Sales of €5.5m and EBIT €1.4m in 2021.

Affirming faith in Spanish products, TC/ American Crane Company has signed an agreement with JASO Industrial Cranes to distribute its products in the United States.

JASO Industrial Cranes was founded in Itsasondo, Spain in 1965 and has been serving the steel industry for over 50 years. It has production centers in Spain, India, Mexico and Argentina and has a distribution network across more than 20 countries.

“We are very excited to be partnering with JASO to be able to offer these components in the states,” said Dustin Krauth, regional sales manager, TC/ American Crane Company.

“Their commitment to providing high quality components at a competitive price is what led us to want to work with them in the first place”

Although all JASO’s product line will be available through TC/American, it plans on stocking a variety of hoists, end trucks and crane kits in the US to cut down on lead times and freight costs.

The portfolio includes; underhung and top running girders which can be attached to structural or box-shaped end trucks. TC/ American will be providing both single and double girder JASO end truck options.

Also, hoists - JASO makes two different styles of hoists: “N” Range and “V” Range. Each is designed for its own specific application. Both can lift up to 100 tons and has OP 55 protection available to keep operations running smoothly. The “N” Range has a two-speed lifting motor, and the “V” Range is variable speed through a variable frequency drive.

TC/American Crane Company designs and supplies overhead cranes and monorail systems. Specializing in Patented Track underhung crane systems, TC/A Box Girder and wide flange top running cranes, and Spanmaster enclosed track workstation cranes, the company has grown to be a “one stop shop” for overhead material handling applications, based in Minnesota.

In other news, JASO has partnered with Tecnalia, the largest applied research and technological development centre in Spain, and a member of the Basque Research and Technology Alliance. to ‘convert industrial cranes into robots’.

The result is an alliance that encompasses Tecnalia’s knowledge of cable technology and Jaso’s experience in the lifting sector. This means a crane is no longer limited to vertical and horizontal movements, but increases its freedom of action and its precision.

The cable technology allows the crane to work with very heavy and/or high-volume elements with a margin of +/- 2mm and a total control of 6 degrees in the orientation of parts. The project has been named ‘Cranebot’.

The technology is geared towards applications in industrial sectors including handling of molds, aeronautics, civil engineering, logistics; manual processes and precision and positioning of large pieces, as well as wind power, most notably polishing the blades of wind turbines, in their manufacturing phase.

“Nowadays, when the blades are increasingly larger, this task is carried out manually by most manufacturers. The new system automates the process, which means improving quality and safety (reducing accidents at work by 50%), as well as reducing costs (by 20%) and increasing productivity (by 50%). The prototype has already proved to be effective, and has moved on to the commercialization phase”, said Raúl Fernández Niso, sales and marketing director. JASO Industrial Cranes.

‘Cranebot’ will make its debut at MetalMadrid (November 17-18, 2021) at IFEMA, Madrid and the Bilbao Machine Tool Biennial (BIEMH), June 13-17, 2022

HMS Industrial Networks has acquired Oways.
TC/American Crane Company has become an exclusive distributor of JASO in the USA.
Konecranes busbar retrofit.
Konecranes busbar retrofit.
TC/American Crane Company has become an exclusive distributor of JASO in the USA.
Leibherr mobile harbour crane devliery.
JASO Industrial Cranes is launching ‘Cranebot’ in alliance with Tecnalia, Spain.
TC/American Crane Company has become an exclusive distributor of JASO in the USA.
TC/American Crane Company has become an exclusive distributor of JASO in the USA.
APM Terminals Barcelona, Spain.
APM Terminals Barcelona, Spain.