Automation & Digitization of Cranes

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  • Network with top industry experts and exchange views on the latest developments in crane automation and digitization
  • Gain top-level knowledge from high-end presentations
  • Learn from the best and visit the fully automated EMO Terminal in Rotterdam, Europe’s largest dry bulk terminal
International VDIConference „Automation & Digitization of Cranes “ | VDI Wissensforum

The VDI Conference ‚Automation & Digitization of Cranes‘ offers a detailed overview of future and cross-industry developments in automation and digitization of harbor and industrial cranes. Enhance your knowledge on how to automate existing cranes and find out how your facility can benefit of automation. Further, you will gain in-depth insight into the technical, operational and legal aspects to consider. As a consequence you will be well equipped to successfully drive forward the crane automation and digitization process in your company.

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Author : Andres van Swalm, Founder & COO at Unifly BV as well as chair of the working group Global UTM Association

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Increased productivity using automation

There are still many industries focusing on manual crane operations although automation and digitization are known for higher productivity rates and provide improved safety. Spearheading automation is the harbor industry, offering valuable experience to other industries and sectors. The most likely organizations to benefit from cost savings are companies with continuous crane operations.

The international VDI Conference ‚Automation and Digitization of Cranes‘ will showcase how digitization of cranes and processes can improve usage and maintenance of cranes whilst still ensuring safety of data and staff. Plus, it will show how automation will increase plant efficiency. Visit the fully automated EMO Terminal in Rotterdam and get up-to-date with cutting-edge best practice.

Don’t miss the following keynotes:

  • „Automation as an upgrade to older crane systems”, Joseph Discenza, CEO, Smartcrane LLC
  • „Cybersecurity for crane digitization”, Siân John, EMEA Chief Security Strategist Symantec
  • Dinner speech on the topic of soLITE® rope: „High strengh fiber ropes for cranes”, Dr.-Ing. Björn Ernst, Teufelsberger, Head of New Fiberrope Applications

The agenda boasts of presentations of internationally renowned experts and has been put together by our supporting Experts of the VDI Conference „Automation & Digitization of Cranes“

  • Robert Histon, President, PortRep Consulting Group, USA
  • Jochen Lang, Business Development Cranes, Process Industries and Drives Division Large Drives, Siemens AG, Germany
  • Yvo Saanen, PhD, MSc., Commercial Director, TBA, Netherlands
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Thorsten Schmidt, Mechanical Engineering Department, Technical University Dresden, Germany

Download Program PDF

Program of the Conference

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Registration & welcome coffee


Chair’s welcome and opening address


Emerging Technologies: The Impact of IoT and M2M on Crane Performance Management

  • Big Data with asset intelligence to support predictive analysis
  • Lowering the cost of ownership and improving operating performance of heavy equipment
  • Analyzing crane systems and web based predictive tools of the future leveraging Information
  • Economic data captured from the biogas plant and from biogas conditioning

Michael C. Dempsey MBA, Vice President Sales Container and Port Solutions, ORBCOMM, USA

I. Digitization of Cranes & Processes


The Digital Twin: Digitization in Crane Building

  • Overview of the crane market and digitization strategy
  • Increasing efficiency of engineering with the Digital Twin
  • Simulation of crane operations
  • Reducing planning time and raising planning security

Jochen Lang, Business Development Cranes, co-author: Alexander Willhöft, both: Siemens AG, Germany


Automation as an Upgrade to older Crane Systems

  • Understanding older crane controls
  • Testing drive and motor response
  • Deciding on new Hardware
  • Choosing a communications protocol
  • Negotiating demands and response sequences

Dr. Joseph Discenza, President and CEO, SmartCrane LLC, USA


Process Automation: Introducing Smart Technologies in the Operations Management

  • Software challenges: System integration, software testing and quality assurance, training, tuning
  • The human factor: Experience vs. automation
  • Key performance indicator: Data collection and analysis
  • Revenue analysis: Break down of revenue and costs
  • Best practice by the example of Maasvlakte 2 and future trends

Marco Fehmer M.Sc., CEO, DSP Data and System Planning SA, co-author: Celine Cometti, SUPSI University, both: Switzerland



II. Maintenance & Cybersecurity


Cybersecurity for Crane Digitization

  • Drive for digitization of crane Solutions
  • Threats to digitized crane solutions
  • Approaches to managing the cybersecurity risk

Siân John, EMEA Chief Strategist, Symantec Corporation, United Kingdom


Predictive Maintenance in connected Cranes

  • Making the transition from remote monitoring to remote maintenance
  • Managing connectivity and data quality
  • Developing predictive algorithms based on machine data
  • Using Big Data for improved reliability Analysis

Juha Pankakoski, Executive Vice President, Konecranes Plc, Finland

III. Industry Cranes


Automated Cranes: Best Practices out of the Box

  • Industrial cranes in automated applications
  • Cheese factory investment in automated warehouse cranes
  • VW Wolfsburg: Nominated supplier „Innovated Logistics“
  • Best practices
  • Automated cranes future: Out of the box

Juha Erikkilä, Entrepreneur, co-author: DI Petteri Lempiäinen, Technical Director, both: ERIKKILA OY, Finland


Networking & coffee break


How Europe’s largest Terminal for the Transhipment and Storage of Coal and Iron Ore was fully automated

Ton van der Leer, Maintenance, ICT & Projects Manager, EMO Terminal, The Netherlands


Visit of the fully automated EMO Terminal in Rotterdam, the largest terminal for coal and iron ore in Western Europe. The excursion will take three hours. Beforehand Ton van Leer, the maintenance, ICT & Projects Manager of the EMO Terminal will provide you with detailed insights about the operations of the plant that you are well prepared for the bus tour


End of conference day one

Get-together At the end of the first conference day we kindly invite you to use the relaxed and informal atmosphere for in-depth conversations with other participants and Speakers.

High Strength Fiber Ropes for Cranes

Dr.-Ing. Björn Ernst, Head of new Fiber Rope Applications, Teufelberger Fiber Rope GmbH, Austria

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

IV. Automation of Terminals


Finding Path to best Performance in Terminal Operations

  • Benchmarking outside of the port industry
  • Finding optimization opportunities from today’s operations
  • Is automation the ultimate answer?

Pekka Ranta MBA, General Manager, co-author: Umair Savul, National Manager Systems Optimization, both: DP World Australia, Australia


Automation of Operations in Container Terminals

  • Automated equipment for container terminals
  • Automation solutions for seaports, inland ports and intermodal rail terminals
  • Overview on systems and components of an automated container terminal
  • Comparison of different automation concepts

Dr. Jan Philipp Schmidt-Ewig, Project Engineer, Konecranes, Germany


Simulation Lifecycle Support for complex Automation Projects

  • Optimizing the automated terminal design through detailed modelling
  • Test and fine-tune the control software using dynamic modelling
  • Train users of control software in a near-to-live environment
  • Optimizing system parameters in a controlled Environment

Dr. Yvo Saanen Ir., Commercial Director, TBA B.V., The Netherlands


Networking & coffee break


Automation of Cranes a must?

Chair: Dipl.-Ing. Frank Hildebrandt, Managing Director & CEO, Stahl CraneSystems FZE, United Arabian Emirates


Dr. Yvo Saanen Ir., Commercial Director, TBA B.V., The Netherlands
Dipl.-Ing. Thomas Brandenburger, Head of Product Management,
Johannes Hübner, Fabrik elektr. Maschinen GmbH, Germany
Pekka Ranta MBA, General Manager, DP World Australia, Australia
Dr. Joseph Discenza, President and CEO, SmartCrane LLC, USA

V. Crane Components


Environment Sensors and Operator Assistance Systems for Cranes

  • Overview of available environment sensors for crane applications
  • How new class of assistance controllers provides high computing performance for complex data processing on board
  • How to design a new system architecture with assistance controller and electronic control unit for crane-environment interaction
  • Enabling operator assistance systems for cranes based on environmental sensing and advanced system architecture

Stefan A. Lang M.Sc., Head of Systems & Solutions, Sensor-Technik Wiedemann GmbH, Germany


Reducing operating Costs with smart and robust Sensors

  • Sensor requirements caused on environment conditions
  • New possibilities by technological progress
  • Sensor skills generated by functional safety requirements
  • Forecast: Smart sensors for the internet of Things

Dipl.-Ing. Thomas Brandenburger, Head of Product Management, Johannes Hübner Fabrik elektr. Maschinen GmbH, Germany




AC & DC Motors controlled from the same VFD – A very new Development

  • Design Concept and Development
  • How both AC and DC motors can be controlled from a common variable speed drive platform
  • Advantages of using this technology in retrofit applications
  • Why this technology advancement is particularly useful for large crane retrofit applications

James Gabbard B.Sc., Specialist Automated Crane Systems, TMEIC, USA

VI. Safety


Modern Brake and Safety Systems

  • Environmentally friendly thrusters: No leakages & biodegradable oil
  • Fast setting brakes
  • Better protection of the crane’s steel structure by new Anti-Snag System

André Neth, Branch Manager, PINTSCH BUBENZER GmbH, Germany


New Developments in Storm Brake and industrial Brake Products

  • Advanced safety and maintenance requirements for storm brakes
  • Electrification and critical component protection
  • Advanced safety and maintenance requirements for industrial brakes and electrification
  • Providing suitable device status feedback from storm brakes and industrial brakes

Allan Murdoch, Manager Engineering Development, Portal Crane Parts Ltd., Canada


A comprehensive Guide to Collision Protection of Cranes

  • Collision avoidance for cranes on the same rail/crane bay and for multiple cranes operating on different levels/same bay
  • Preventing accidents of free ranging cranes with other objects/buildings/ vehicles
  • Intrinsically safe solutions

Dipl.-Ing. Dirk Brunnengräber, CEO, Symeo GmbH, Germany


Networking & coffee break


Radio Control Systems – Safety and Efficiency in wireless Machine Operation

  • HMI and wireless machine control
  • Safety design of radio control Systems
  • Challenges of worldwide application

Dr.-Ing. Friederike Brendel, Head Technical Division, co-author: Dr.-Ing. Jochen Antes, both: HBC-radiomatic GmbH, Germany


Bringing IIoT to industrial Hoists – Safely, securely and costeffectively

  • Design concept for a mixed-criticality IIoT-enabled controller device for industrial hoists
  • Possibilities and risks for machine control, operation and service from increased connectivity and computational capability directly on the machine level
  • Taken approach towards safety and security assurance
  • Ongoing research co-operation project with KIT and industry partners

Tommi Kievelä M. Sc., Research Associate, co-author: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Markus Golder, both: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany


Closing remarks


End of conference 

Who should attend the VDI Conference „Automation & Digitization of Cranes“?

Conference participants include senior management of companies using harbor or industry cranes, including:

  • CEOs and Technical Directors
  • Head of Cranes & Hoists
  • Terminal Operators
  • Plant Operators / Manufacturers in paper manufacturing and metal industries
  • Terminal Equipment Manager / Terminal Engineering Manager
  • Business Development Managers
  • Applications Engineers Cranes

Book now

Are you keen to extend your knowledge on crane automation and digitization and learn from leading industry experts how your company can benefit from the latest developments? Ensure to reserve your place and book your ticket now for the international VDI conference „Automation & Digitization of Cranes“.

Are you interested in promoting your company and products at the international VDI conference Automation & Digitization of Cranes? Contact Sandra Klack Klackvdide for more details.

Eventnumber : 02KO016

International VDI Conference - Automation & Digitization of Cranes

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