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Leuven-based Camco Technologies builds intelligent cameras for world's largest builder of container terminal infrastructure

15 January 2021

The Leuven-based technology company Camco may build intelligent cameras in China for the cranes of ZPMC, the world's largest builder of container terminal infrastructure.


In December, two contracts have been awarded to Camco’s new China office by ZPMC, the world largest crane builder and general contractor for the Beibu Gulf Port Qinzhou greenfield fully automated terminal: a first contract for STS crane OCR and another for the gate automation of Qinzhou terminal, China’s first fully automated terminal for sea-rail transportation.

"It's an important contract on several levels," says Alain Buyle, marketing manager for Camco Technologies in De Tijd. "It gives us an important entry into the Chinese market and it opens the gate for even more projects. China is home to seven of the ten largest container ports in the world and handles more than half of the world's container transshipments. In terms of automation, China is working its way to the top with its new container terminals. In addition, it is contracting with ZPMC, the world's largest builder of container terminal infrastructure and one of the world's largest manufacturers of cranes and large steel structures, with a 78 percent market share."

Camco BoxCatcher STS Crane OCR for Qinzhou greenfield fully automated terminal project

Camco Technologies has been awarded the integration of its BoxCatcher crane OCR technology for 5 STS cranes, built by ZPMC. The cranes will be installed at the automatic container berths in Beibu Gulf Port Qinzhou terminal. Camco’s sliding BoxCatcher technology will be used for container registration and identification during vessel loading and discharging. The disruptive OCR hardware will be installed on the cranes manufactured at the ZPMC Shanghai production facility. After shipment, the cranes will serve the first automated container berths at the Qinzhou Greenfield terminal located in the China (Guangxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone. The construction of two automated container berths in Qinzhou terminal has been a major project in the establishment of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor in the western region and the Beibu Gulf International Gateway Port. After the operation of the two berths, Qinzhou terminal will be the fifth fully automated container terminal in China and the first automated terminal applying sea-rail transportation in the country.

Cutting-edge STS crane OCR

The sliding BoxCatcher OCR system will register every container during the vessel loading or unloading at berths N° 7 and N° 8 in the Qinzhou terminal. In order to allow the BoxCatcher camera to follow the flight path of the spreader, the camera is sliding along vertical rails, mounted on the crane portal legs. With a traveling speed of up to 6 m/s and data processing time of 8 seconds per move, the BoxCatcher supports up to 36 moves per hour per crane. Whether it concerns a single, twin, tandem or quad lift, the BoxCatcher system will capture every box, feeding the Terminal Operating System (TOS) with accurate data.

While the reading of the PLC guarantees that images are made at the exact height, the integrated laser scanner adjusts positioning and triggering for any skew and sway during crane operations. Given the 2 cameras for the short sides and 2 cameras for the long sides, the BoxCatcher is able to capture 360° images of the container. All image processing is done on-board the camera system. The Camco OCR engine, acknowledged as the best available on the market, runs on Camco proprietary image analysis software and Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) algorithms. The engines keep the images for storage enabling Qinzhou terminal to perform efficient claims management.

State-of-the-art Gate Automation

The second contract includes the automation of the terminal gate and yard access processes. The Camco gate automation solution will handle up to 600 trucks per hour, feeding the terminal TOS with accurate date for process optimization. Camco provides 2X2 OCR Truck Portals In and Out as well as all kiosks for the terminal In- and Out- gates and lanes as well for the yard access. The Camco gate automation solution integrates the Gate Operating System (GOS) software for managing kiosks, OCR portals and access control systems as well as the operator exception handling application.

Sources: Camco & De Tijd

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