Self-driving straddle carriers coming to Yara Porsgrunn and Herøya Industrial Park
Replacing diesel vehicles: "Battery-driven straddle carriers are on the way and will gradually replace the current diesel vehicles," says Yara's Arve Haavik, Process Data Controller for the Yara Birkeland project.
Kalmar is responsible for developing the autonomous straddle carriers now being tested at the Kalmar testing station in Tampere, Finland. In 2020, they will arrive in Herøya.
Coming next winter: The straddle carriers, which could be the first self-driving trucks on busy roads, will be arriving at Yara Porsgrunn and Herøya Industripark next winter. (Photo: Kalmar)
From spring 2020, operator-controlled test driving of Kalmar's battery-driven straddle carriers will begin at Yara's transloading area in Herøya Industripark.
The carriers will transport the fertiliser containers between the factory stores on the land to the quays at Herøya, from where an automatic crane will control the subsequent loading operation onto the container ship Yara Birkeland.
"Towards an autonomous future"
Sverre Gotaas, CEO of Herøya Industripark AS, thinks that large parts of the industrial park's infrastructure are headed towards an autonomous future.
"Predicting the future is always difficult, but it would be foolish to think that this is not going to continue," Gotaas says.
Sverre Gotaas, CEO of Herøya Industripark AS
"In ten years I hope to see the world's most advanced and efficient logistics system here at Herøya," he says in an interview with the magazine Powered by Telemark.
A natural first step
"It will be a natural first step to make loading and unloading of the Yara Birkeland ship automatic and autonomous. We are a partner and enabler for Yara, which is currently engaged in realising the world's first autonomous logistics chain here at Herøya," Gotaas states.
"We shall be increasing the autonomous transport system activities at the industrial park in 2019," he continues.
Testing at the transloading area for Yara
The transloading area: "The roads at Herøya will now become a pilot and testing area for straddle carriers," Haavik explains.
The route over which the straddle carriers transports the fertiliser containers is about one kilometre long, and is a road in heavy use within Herøya Industripark.
The roads are currently very busy, and the carriers will have to negotiate both people and vehicles.
"Testing will proceed in parallel with ordinary road usage," Haavik says. "These roads are currently very busy, and the carriers will have to function together with both people and vehicles present in the area at the same time. That's a challenge, so we shall be taking lots of time for testing and ensuring that everything functions correctly before switching to driverless operation.
"We're not seeing a showstopper so far," Haavik comments. In the long term the self-driving straddle carriers will handle around 160-200 transport operations and 80-100 containers per day.
"The top priority for the project is safety, and we can see that our cooperation partners share the same ambitions."
Haavik has great faith that Yara, together with Kalmar, Herøya Industripark AS and others, will be able to get the self-driving straddle carriers to function correctly at Herøya.
Siri Krohn-Fagervoll <siriSPAMFILTER@krohnfagervoll.no>