It may seem extraordinary in this age of automation that the hundreds of millions of ‘twistlocks’ that are used every year to secure the containers that underpin World trade are fitted and removed manually. 
Over the past decade several companies and inventors have tried to create fully automated solutions using machines and robots and so far, have not succeeded. 
The main reasons for this has been the extensive variety of different Fully Automatic and Semi-Automatic ‘twistlocks’ and additional securing devices such as Mid-Locks and Twist-Stackers, and the fact that these devices, generally owned by the shipping lines, are principally designed for their functionality on board vessels rather than for the ease of handling on the quayside. 
Recognising that full automation is still not possible, BLOK Container Systems has produced a pragmatic hybrid solution of ‘machine assisted pinning’ that can be implemented today. The solution enables most ‘twistlocks’ to be fitted and removed mechanically but also involves a man to load and empty the device and that same man can easily deal with exceptions in a safe and ergonomic way using an integrated pinning platform. 
Most ‘pinning’ (the fitting and removal of ‘twistlocks’) is currently carried out by men under the crane and requires three crane actions. The time taken reduces crane efficiency because the cycle time is interrupted by the additional crane actions required and the wait while ‘pinning’ is carried out. The BLOK system only requires a single crane move and all four ‘twistlocks’ are dealt with in less than 10 seconds increasing crane efficiency by up to 30 %. 
The BLOK Pinning Station can be located in a variety of places. Under the crane is similar to most current practice but pinning stations away from the crane are another attractive option from a safety perspective, with one BLOK Rig, pinning device, able to service two cranes. For trailer operations able to mount a pinning station on a crane leg, the BLOK Rig is also a much more efficient than a manual pinning platform. 
For interested terminals, detailed information and video material can be provided on request and where appropriate a demonstration can be organised at London Container Terminal. 
Tagged as: BLOK
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