QCC advantages :
MCS advantages :
PSA Singapore is preparing to meet the future growth in global trade by constructing a new port with fully automated terminal operations to revolutionize the future of shipping. Self-driving platforms are automatically charged during the operation process. The Quick Charging Connection solution from Stäubli provides only 20 minutes charging time for every four to five hours of continuous operation while fast battery replacement systems are implemented for maintenance purposes, integrating Stäubli’s Multi Connect System.
Automating port operation
PSA Singapore is ranked the world’s largest container transshipment hub. Its excellent network services link the shippers to shipping lines with connections to 600 ports globally. In 2019, PSA Singapore terminals handled 85.2 million TEUs of containers (TEU: twenty-foot equivalent units). To anticipate the future growth in global trade, PSA is constructing a new mega port at Tuas to be opened in a first phase in 2021. This future port will feature totally automated terminal operations and the buildup of a wider supply chain ecosystem to further Singapore’s connectivity.
In the preparation for this new automated mega port, PSA has been testing these processes in their current operations at the Pasir Panjang Terminal. A part of this development is the evaluation of fully battery powered AGVs (automated guided vehicles), which have a carrying capacity of 65 tons and a cruising speed of 25 km/h. With their electrical drive, they are more energy-efficient, need less maintenance and have a positive effect on reduced CO2 emissions for port operations.
Highly efficient and fully dependable
The project for these new vehicles combines new technology, new suppliers and a new design specified by PSA. The AGVs are supposed to provide as much operation time as possible, therefore the charging of the energy supply needs to be fully automated, reliable and efficient – in terms of both time and costs.
The fastest and reliable way to reload the battery during operation time is the automated Quick Charging Connection solution (QCC) by Stäubli. The positive results of a similar setup from a pilot project for buses at the Nice Airport persuaded PSA. Should a battery replacement be required during maintenance, downtime needs to be as short as possible. Here, the Stäubli quick Multi Connect System (MCS) for battery connection convinced the PSA engineers and was integrated to increase dependability and efficiency of the operation.
Quickly charging AGVs for ongoing operation
Together with all the involved technology suppliers, PSA decided to implement the QCC solution, which provides a long service lifetime as it is designed for high numbers of mating cycles, features a fully enclosed design to protect the contact elements and ensures low maintenance. The high level of safety is guaranteed by a completely touch-protected and waterproof design. This electrical connection solution supplies power to enable four to five hours of continuous operation of the AGVs with less than 20 minutes charging time.
The latest adaptions on the functionalities have been implemented by the engineering experts of Stäubli in very close cooperation with PSA engineering team. This approach made sure that the integrated angular and positioning misalignment compensation at the QCC charging station suits the automated arrival and departure of the AGVs. To meet the operating outdoor environmental challenges at the port, leak-tightness has been enhanced according to the customer’s specifications.
Replacing AGV batteries during maintenance
To maintain high availability for the operating AGV fleet, quick battery pack replacement is implemented to allow battery maintenance to be carried out off-board the AGV. The power supply connection and disconnection has to be handled quickly, safely and easily without any human intervention. The Stäubli Multi Connect System (MCS) centralizes different energy sources and connects them in one single movement. Therefore, this system is the perfect fit for such automatic and quick operations.
Efficient and economical solution
The Stäubli connection solutions ensure productivity and continuity in the AGV operation at PSA with the Quick Charging Connection system promising high power transfer in a minimum time. Thanks to the resistance to harsh environmental conditions and water ingress, this connection and charging solution grants high reliability and efficiency, which is due to the unique properties of the used MULTILAM contact technology. Furthermore, the battery exchange during maintenance is carried out very quickly thanks to the automated coupling of all needed connections.
The Stäubli engineering experts thoroughly supported the implementation on-site and interacted closely with both PSA engineering team and involved technology suppliers to deliver a safe and dependable, high power electrical transmission solution for PSA battery-powered fleet.