Power & performance for the port industry

7th August 2015
Posted By : Siobhan O'Gorman
Power & performance for the port industry

Almost every company on the planet relies in one way or another on the port industry. Whether it’s through import or export of their own goods or relying on the prompt delivery of material from suppliers, the global economy is reliant on ports the world over to keep shipping lanes moving. 

Keeping a port working efficiently is dependent on every piece of plant and machinery operating reliably. With nearly a century of experience supplying the port industry with drive chain and power transmission components, Tsubaki understands the importance of reliability better than most.

A busy port has to operate like a well-oiled machine in order to prevent costly delays which can result in lost revenues for the shipping operators and missed orders for the many companies around the world that rely on them. Ships must be able to dock, swiftly unload their cargo and then reload for their onward journey. This means that ship to shore cranes, gantry cranes, mobile stackers, container spreaders and many more pieces of equipment must all work reliably, 24/7 without any unscheduled downtime.

In any application this would be no easy task, especially for the moving parts within the machinery such as drive chain and power transmission components. Within the port industry, however, the challenge is even greater as components are expected to transfer extremely heavy loads whilst being exposed to the corrosive sea air. Before specifying any replacements parts, site engineers need to know that they can rely on the new component to last their full service life to avoid unexpected surprises affecting the maintenance schedule.

Tsubakimoto is able to supply a range of components that have been tried and tested within port applications and have a proven track record for long lasting reliability. The Tsubaki drive chain, including roller chain, heavy duty ‘Super Chain’ and leaf chain, is perfectly suited thanks to the quality materials and high-tech manufacturing techniques which minimise wear at the contact points between the rollers and bushes and reduce elongation by as much as 50% when compared to competitor products. These properties reduce replacement frequency which in turn leads to reduced TCO.

Governments and legislators around the world view ports and shipping terminals as critical infrastructure assets. Their ability to ‘go green’ by reducing their carbon footprint and by being more sensitive to environmental considerations, is vital to their future success. This philosophy encourages the reduction of engine emissions, fuel consumption and highlights the importance of eliminating oil leaks from hydraulic cylinders and associated circuits.

Tsubaki supports this initiative with a range of products that are designed to be reliable, efficient and environmentally sensitive. Tsubaki power cylinders are electric linear actuators that can be installed and operated with very simple wiring, meaning that there is no requirement for a hydraulic circuit that could potentially cause environmental contamination in the local area.

Rubber tyre gantry cranes can be equipped with power cylinders for steering, allowing the wheels to be turned up to 90°, while being driven by Tsubaki Super Chains. At the same time the length of the spreader arm must be matched to the size of the container and this adjustment can also be managed by the Tsubaki actuators. The power cylinders can be used to adjust container tilting or positioning by moving the hoisting rope to alter the skew, trim and list of the container.

As with most crane facilities, there is a need for a robust and flexible cable carrier system for hoses and electrical cables to ensure continued reliable operation. Tsubaki has combined its expertise with that of Kabelschlepp to produce the Roller Supported Chain (RCS) system that delivers long service life and reduced maintenance. By using rollers in the design, the push/pull forces on lengths of 50 metres or more have been reduced significantly when compared to gliding arrangements. Designed to accommodate high travel speed and acceleration, the RCS system has also been rigorously tested to ensure long term reliability in port side applications.

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