UK terminal operator, Tilbury Container Services (TCS) recently awarded Kalmar a major contract for the refurbishment of 13 straddle carriers. This project comes on top of an existing contract whereby Kalmar is carrying out routine servicing of the entire TCS straddle carrier fleet. TCS currently operates 39 straddles at its Tilbury terminal, these being a mix of Kalmar and other brands.

Under the refurbishment programme, each of the 13 straddles was assessed individually and major repairs identified, prioritised and actioned according to need. This process, Kalmar states, provides better value for money than simply renovating each machine according to set guidelines.

Jason Smith, Contract Maintenance Manager, Kalmar Industries, described the work as ‘predictive maintenance.’

‘The object of such an exercise is to carry out repairs to these machines before they break down. That way, you avoid disruption to operations caused through having to retrieve a machine from the stack or the quayside but hopefully too, you will avoid the consequential damage to other components that often occurs when a machine fails in service,’ Smith explained.

Michael Quinn, Terminal Engineer at TCS, explained the background to this deal,

‘Our Kalmar machines are now approximately ten years old and we want them to last 15 years. It had become pretty obvious that without major refurbishment, reliability would become a real problem.

‘Initially, we planned to do the work ourselves and costed the project on this basis. However, in talks with Kalmar, it became obvious that their people could do the work within our budget, leaving our team to focus on cranes and breakdowns.’

Each of the straddle carriers had done about 20,000 hours and so overhaul of each machine’s Volvo engine was the first priority, ensuring that they would be able to deliver another 10,000 hours with reliability.

TCS had also identified increasing reliability problems with the steering and braking systems and so these were renovated too as were the drive systems, the ac invertors, for example, receiving a ‘wash and brush up’ according to Mr Quinn.