Case Study: Electrifying Machinery to Make Ports More Sustainable

Danfoss’ Editron division partnered with Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries to assist in the development of electric straddle carriers.

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Danfoss Editron

The electrification and automation of ports are receiving significant attention globally, with the majority of the largest ports in the world preparing or already implementing ambitious programs. However, for ports to realize global net-zero targets and achieve carbon neutrality, manufacturers of port equipment and ports themselves must accelerate the introduction of these technologies.

Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (ZPMC) is one of the largest port machinery manufacturers in the world. The company has a strong track record, successfully building the largest single automatic wharf in the world and China’s first fully automatic wharf. With the confidence and ambition to lead global market trends and accelerate electrification, ZPMC has developed a multitude of hybrid and fully electric port machinery.

One such product in ZPMC’s portfolio is electrified straddle carriers, which are already in operation at the Port of Barcelona in Spain and South Africa’s Durban Port. Due to the complete range of electrification products and rich market experience of Danfoss’ Editron division, ZPMC asked the company to assist in developing these electric straddle carriers by providing its hybrid system.

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Breaking into the global marketplace

The projects in Spain and South Africa represent ZPMC’s first entry into the global market, making their successful delivery significantly important as the company looks to build benchmarking and enhance its international reputation.

Danfoss’ Editron division fully supported the delivery of the straddle carriers to the two ports, customizing its solution and optimizing system performance to meet ZPMC’s requirements. The company also faced other challenges, including machine size limitations and ensuring that the straddle carriers met fuel-saving and emission reduction requirements. 

Innovative technology unlocks space and weight savings

Editron’s experts based in China worked closely with ZPMC to ensure it delivered the best complete system solution to meet the needs of straddle carrier operators. The company’s hybrid Editron system comprises a generator, two generator inverters, one hoist motor and a hoist inverter featuring customized lift-safety control logic. The system also features four gantry traction motors and four traction inverters, with a customized structure that perfectly matches the wheel reducer. Sc Spain 3Danfoss Editron

The system’s fully water-cooled components feature synchronous reluctance assisted permanent magnet technology. This has helped ZPMC save over two-thirds in weight and installation space compared to other similar-sized systems available on today’s market and helped control the height of the upper platform of the straddle carriers. Additionally, the EDITRON generator and generator inverters can run in a unique DC-voltage control mode instead of the traditional torque control mode. This controls the over 400 kw (536.4 hp) diesel-generator system and helps to stabilize the output DC power with dynamic engine speed and time-varying load cycle without the need for a power storage device.

Successful delivery and impressive performance

Twenty-two of the hybrid straddle carriers are currently operating at Durban Port, with two further functioning at the Port of Barcelona. Each straddle carrier has averaged more than 2,000 operational hours between May and December 2021.

Commenting on the successful delivery of the straddle carriers, Danfoss’ Editron division’s head of sales for China Chao Wang said, “Our strong partnership with ZPMC and the successful delivery of these projects is further recognition of our leading position on the global electrification market. Our team in China was fully supportive during the commissioning of the straddle carriers, with an on-site engineer available 24-7 to solve any issues to make sure we could deliver the equipment on schedule.”

Mei Sijun, site manager at ZPMC who is responsible for the company’s straddle carriers at Durban Port, added, “Danfoss’ products offer outstanding performance. We adopted the company’s complete EDITRON electrification system for our straddle carriers and have encountered zero issues so far. The fact they are liquid-cooled designed saved installation space, with this advantage enabling the company to stand out from its competitors. We are also grateful for the support provided by Danfoss’ team in China throughout the project, with the team’s working efficiency particularly impressive.”

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