BOXmover GmbH, based near Linz in Austria, has developed an innovative technology for combined load/unload and transportation of ISO containers and swap bodies. BOXmover.eu is well proven in use throughout Europe for three-axis truck, truck trailer, saddle carriage and even railway wagon transportation – saving considerable time and cost – and offering greater flexibility over traditional crane/terminal based transhipment methods. The system employs two synchronised hydraulic actuator units permanently integrated on the vehicle that safely lift and lower the container sideways. As an integral part of the technology, Boxmover.eu uses cable extension transducers and pressure sensors from Variohm EuroSensor to maintain safe and reliable positioning and control.
Each actuator unit has two telescopic cylinders, arranged as a triangular closed force and moment-free structure capable of lifting and lowering swap bodies with 16 tons and ISO containers with 32 tons gross weight, within a comparatively small working footprint. Not only does BOXmover.eu enable reduced standing and waiting times, the autonomous transportation/load/unload system enables delivery or collection from almost any type of location without reliance on special loading units, cranes, forklifts or ramps etc. This complete independence from the normal infrastructure required for container shipping offers transportation management many advantages, and has set new standards for optimising standardised container transhipment.
Variohm EuroSensor began working with BOXmover GmbH through its German sales office in 2006, providing technical support and application assistance for the early development phase of BOXmover.eu and related products for the transportation industry.
As the exclusive distributor for Celesco Inc. in both the UK and Germany, Variohm EuroSensor were able to facilitate a custom modified version of the leading USA cable extension transducer manufacturer’s SR1 series ‘string pot sensor’ that provides a durable, cost efficient and high performance position feedback solution for wet environments and outdoor applications. For the latest BOXmover.eu development, the SR1CN, has a modified extended stroke length – from 3.5 to 3.8 metres – and a non standard mounting bracket. Most significantly, the sensor features a CANopen DS 406 device profile output from its plastic-hybrid precision potentiometer for simplified integration with the actuator unit control system. The SR1 series was originally designed for off-road construction equipment and has a proven track record for demanding applications where its -40° to 85° C temperature range and IP67 environmental rating is called to the fore. The SR1CN is located on each hydraulic segment of the actuator unit, providing position feedback that the control system uses to determine the extended and contracted distances for the container during the load/unload operations. The choice of a cable extension type sensor for this application exemplifies the unique advantages of the technology in terms of simplicity and cost, far outstripping enclosed-cylinder linear position measurement systems.
BOXmover.eu also uses a Variohm EPT3100 pressure sensor with 400 bar rating and 4..20mA output. It has also performed very reliably for the project.
‘Variohm EuroSensor continue to provide us with excellent service and support,’ explains BOXmover GMbH Managing Director and creator of BOXmover.eu, Dipl.-Ing. Rudolf Hubauer, ‘the stringpot position and pressure sensors have proven extremely reliable in the field – in particular the stringpot provides a very cost effective position measurement solution.’
Variohm EuroSensor designs, develops and sources a comprehensive range of sensor technologies for linear and rotary position, load, force, vibration and temperature – providing complete pre-sale and post-sale application support for demanding measurement applications throughout industry, agriculture, construction, autosports and research.