A Control System for the Reduction of Cargo Pendulation of Ship-Mounted Cranes


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Virginia Tech


Ship-mounted cranes are used to transfer cargo from large container ships to smaller lighters when deep-water ports are not available. The wave-induced motion of the crane ship produces large pendulations of hoisted cargo and causes operations to be suspended.

In this work, we show that in boom type ship-mounted cranes, it is possible to reduce these pendulations significantly by controlling the slew and luff angles of the boom. Such a control can be achieved with the heavy equipment that is already part of the crane so that retrofitting existing cranes would require a small effort. Moreover, the control is superimposed on the commands of the operator transparently. The successful control strategy is based on delayed-position feedback of the cargo motion in-plane and out-of-plane of the boom and crane tower. Its effectiveness is demonstrated with a fully nonlinear three-dimensional computer simulation and with an experiment on a 1/24 scale model of a T-ACS (The Auxiliary Crane Ship) crane mounted on a platform moving with three degrees of freedom to simulate the ship roll, pitch, and heave motions of the crane ship. The results demonstrate that the pendulations can be significantly reduced, and therefore the range of sea conditions in which cargo-transfer operations could take place can be greatly expanded.

Furthermore, the control strategy is applied experimentally to a scaled model of a tower crane. The effectiveness of the controller is demonstrated for both rotary and gantry modes of operation of the crane.

This work was supported by the Office of Naval Research under Contract #N00014-96-1-1123.



time-delayed feedback, ship-mounted crane, Crane control