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Anti-Skew System for Container Crane

1. Introduction
While the container physical distribution is in an expansion tendency every year, the needs of an efficient container crane that secures the stable cargo work efficiency independent from operation skill are increasing under the present condition that reservation of a skillful driver is becoming difficult. As a factor dependent on operation skill, there is a sway (henceforth called skew) in the rotation direction of a lifted cargo. Since the skew generating frequency depends on operation skill, and once a skew occurs, it will continue vibrating in the form near free vibration, efficiency of the container cargo work lowers. An anti-skew equipment that controls skew automatically as a measure for this has been developed and put into practical use since before. However, it has the problem of high cost for its complicated system composition. From these backgrounds, we have developed a new style anti-skew system that demonstrates the anti-skew performance practically sufficient with an economical system composition. This anti-skew system was applied to an actual machine and the performance was verified. normally since before. The system composition of skewing device is shown in Fig.2.
Trolley upper sheave Front
Small sway cylinder

Girder end sheave Right Main hoist drum Link

Left Trolley
Girder end sheave

Main hoist rope

Skewing system mechanism

Spreader Back Container Skewing cylinder


Fig.2 Skewing device composition

2. Technical demand
The appearance of a container crane is shown in Fig.1. The containers stacked onboard are conveyed on a landside track (henceforth called a chassis). Or it is a crane for performing the cargo work that conveys the container on a chassis onboard.
Girder end sheave Main hoist drum Trolley

The skewing device is a system for correcting a gap of the relative static skew angle between a hoisting accessory (henceforth called a spreader) and a container at the time of container desorption. It is the mechanism in which the girder end sheave connected through the link by flexible operation of a skewing cylinder moves back and forth. By moving the position of sheave back and forth, the diagonal main hoist rope length changes and it is structured so that the spreader hanging through the rope rotates. In order to realize a dynamic anti-skewing using this skewing device, it is required that the lifted cargo behavioral analysis in consideration of the slack of the main hoist rope should be attained, the anti-skew control system that satisfies a target performance based on the lifted cargo behavioral analysis should be designed and developed, and the system performance should be verified.

3. Elemental technology
3.1 Lifted cargo behavioral analysis in consideration of the slack of the main hoist rope In order to determine the design of anti-skew control system, and the specification of skewing cylinder, we first developed a simulator that can reproduce an object of the control faithfully. The skew of lifted cargo can simply be expressed in the form that the right and left of a long lifted cargo with a mass and an inertia moment are lifted with two pendulums (length; L). By moving two right and left points of the upper end point of the pendulum in an opposite direction, a skew occurs. By moving the skewing cylinder of girder end sheave, the two right and left points of the upper end point can move in an opposite direction. However, since the slack of the main hoist rope, which is a nonlinear element, exists among these, a mathematical expression is difficult. In order to simplify an expression model, the reaction coefficient of sensitivity KA was put in between the skewing cylinder and the upper end point of pendulum, and a mathematical expression was carried out.

Main hoist rope Spreader 30m 90m

Fig.1 Container crane sketch drawing

The anti-skew system in the conventional technology has equipped the mechanism that the sheaves for the main hoist ropes of right and left on the trolley can move independently forward and backward. According to skew, the right-and-left sheaves are moved respectively, and antiskewing is realized. On the other hand, the new style antiskew system has realized anti-skew control by using the skewing device with which the container crane is equipped

It was presupposed that sensitivity KA shall be given according to the position of traversing trolley, the height of winding-up spreader, and the lifted cargo mass, and shall be acquired by the system measurement. The dynamic behavioral simulation of lifted cargo, when moving the skewing cylinder, was performed using this expression model. Consequently, validity of the simulator could be verified almost in accordance with the actual skew measurement in the system crane. Skew dynamic behavioral analysis accuracy is shown in Fig. 3.
Expansion rate

Table.1 Specification of the anti-skew skewing device

No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Item Cylinder motor rated speed Cylinder motor rated torque Cylinder rated velocity Lead length (cylinder length in motor 1 rotation) Motor + cylinder axis conversion inertia moment Cylinder stroke Cylinder acceleration/deceleration Value 1500 23.56 0.0555 0.00222 0.168 239 0.26 Unit rpm Nm m/s mm kgm 2 mm mm/s 2

Skew (system measurement) Skew (simulation result)

Expansion Skew angle (rad) Skewing cylinder expansion (m) Cylinder expansion rate (m/s) 0.2



0.2 0


20 Time (s)




Fig.3 Skew dynamic behavioral analysis accuracy

An example of the system examination result is shown in Fig.5. If the anti-skew system can decrease to a predetermined skew within the time to the next container desorption after the previous desorption of the container, it will attain the purpose. From its purpose, it is the target performance to converge on skew of 0.0087 radius (100mm skew at 40ft container end) or below within 30 seconds, and be stabilized without emission henceforth. The data shown in the following figure is the result of the anti-skew performance test implemented after lifting and holding a 20t container of 40ft width by 8.5m in lift, and it is verified that the target performance is satisfied Also in the anti-skew performed during the hoisting and traversing simultaneous operation supposing a real cargo work, it is verified that sufficient performance can be demonstrated practically.
0.15 0.1 0.007rad 0.05 Skwe [rad] 0 0 - 0.05 - 0.1
When the anti skew is Off -

3.2 Control system design The control block diagram of the devised anti-skew control is shown in Fig.4. The skew angle detected by the sway sensor, which consists of a CCD camera on the trolley and a laser light source on the spreader, and the cylinder position LFB detected with the potentiometer built in the skewing cylinder were considered as the feedback of quantity of state, and the PID control system was built. While evaluating the control performance using the developed lifted cargo behavioral simulator, the specification of skewing cylinder was determined. Although a full-voltage starting motor drove conventional skewing device, in order to raise controllability, it was changed into the drive system in which speed control is possible by inverter drive.
Anti-skew control section
Skew angular velocity & Skew angle

Anti- skew On






- 0.15 Time [sec]

Control object

Fig.5 Example of the system verification test result

KD + + + KI Lref

s Skew detection value

5. Conclusion
A new style anti-skew system was developed and applied to a container crane. In the system verification test, it was verified that a target anti-skew performance was satisfied. We are planning to further improve the performance and function of the anti-skew system by accumulating the records of its application to real cargo work operation in future.


s vref
Skewing cylinder target velocity Motor driven Inverter

+ -

Skewing cylinder target expansion


Skewing cylinder expansion Proprietary control microcomputerdetection value PLC

Fig.4 Control block diagram of the anti-skew control

6. Reference
[1] Kobayashi et al., JSME, Collected papers of the 8th traffic and physical distribution section convention; Automatic operation of a large-sized gantry crane

4. System examination result

Specification of the skewing device mounted in the system is shown in Table.1.