Usaha Teknikal Banks on Ports’ Automation (NST)

New Straits Times | 10 Apr 2018 | AYISY YUSOF | KUALA LUMPUR |

Ports can expect improved workflow consistency, enhanced labour competencies and safer workplace

USAHA Teknikal Sdn Bhd plans to take advantage of local port operators’ move to embrace automation. Its managing director Syed Sadiq Obaidi Albar said automation would provide workflow consistency and enhance labour competencies to handle innovative technology while creating a safer workplace.

“Automation improves operation efficiency with lesser human intervention and reduces error and cost. It is an effective method to maximise productivity, although it requires a certain amount of capital initially to put in place the automation infrastructure,” he told NST Business recently.

Usaha Teknikal mainly provides port and rail equipment and engineering solutions, including prime mover, reach stacker, empty stacker and mobile harbour crane, as well as maintenance services.

Syed Sadiq said it was impossible for port operators to fully embrace automation but added that Optical Character Recognition (OCR) was a good starting point to embark on automation.

“We are capable of providing the initial automation module leveraging on OCR, a system that uses multiple cameras to scan containers’ code at the terminal and automatically update the information.

“OCR can be operated remotely, without human intervention. The system can be installed on the quay cranes ,” he added.

Syed Sadiq said Usaha Teknikal was partnering with ABB, a Swedish-Swiss digital technology company, to build the OCR platform for regional ports.

He is positive on the acceptance of OCR among port operators in the region, noting that the system was expected to be launched in the third quarter of this year.

“With OCR technology, ports can reduce damage claims against them by 50 per cent. It will help improve the consistency of machine operations and increase moves per hour,” said Syed Sadiq.

Usaha Teknikal sales director Alizi Ismail said the company was also keen to develop the Rail Mounted Gantry (RMG) cranes with an additional automatic operation feature.

“We have the RMG fabricationready design for the structure and it is a matter of finding the right yards to fabricate the structure.

“We are looking forward to securing more RMG orders that suit our clients’ requirements,” he said, adding that the cost depended on the port’s size.

He said currently, most local ports were using the rubber tyred gantry crane to load containers from trucks or terminal tractors to the container block and vice-versa.

He said the company was building its prototype “Rhino” terminal tractor with alternative energy power source for the handling operations.

Since its establishment in 2007, Usaha Teknikal has been primarily involved in commercial activities, including leasing port equipment, refurbishment and maintenance of port and rail equipment and automation projects in ports as well as research and development.

On its overseas ventures, he expects to secure crane refurbishment and automation projects in Indonesia and Brunei this year and next year.

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Article Photo : Usaha Teknikal managing director Syed Sadiq Obaidi Albar is positive on the acceptance of Optical Character Recognition among port operators in the region. Picture by AZIAH AZMEE.