Hamburg University of Technology: visTABLE® Software in Maritime Logistics

The Institute of Maritime Logistics at the Hamburg University of Technology (Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg) conducts research under the direction of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Carlos Jahn in the logistics planning of seaports, waterways, and terminals. In addition, the research roadmap includes end-to-end process design from ship to hinterland connection, as well as the preparation of maritime forecasts and studies. “The transfer of factory planning methodology to the object area of port logistics is more than just a worthwhile research task for us. It is above all a pragmatic approach,” is how Prof. Carlos Jahn explains the choice of visTABLE®tools for planning support in maritime logistics. Port planning is currently driven by the networking and optimization of individual technical solutions.

Creating a new container terminal with visTABLE®

“The methodology underpinning the planning process is therefore a key factor for us. With visTABLE®touch, we can easily and clearly show the logistical interrelationships of the overall system and thus quickly identify optimization approaches,” explains Dipl.-Ing. Robert Rauer, research associate at the Institute of Maritime Logistics, on the main benefit of the planning software and adds: “The 3D stereo visualization of the port facility in real time in our planning studio is impressive.”

In addition to the latest generation of visTABLE®board, a 120 Hz projector and the 3D virtual reality kit for the visTABLE®touch software are installed there. This VR solution boasts low acquisition and operating costs and is ready for operation very quickly. This is essentially achieved by using standard hardware. Added to this is a software concept that makes it possible to integrate solution-oriented plug-ins – in this case for 3D stereo with Wii or Space Navigator control.

Optimal 3D models for port & shipyard

The visTABLE® concept comes into its own in terms of achieving the targets set by the Hamburg researchers in previously untrodden territory, be it in the coaching of users, in the further development of hardware and software components, or in object modeling. This is because, for example, Super Post-Panamax container gantry cranes, straddle carriers, or large container ships are not part of what a typical factory planner needs in terms of model stock, so new 3D models were required. The devil – as is often the case – is in the detail.

“We initially created 3D models ourselves and were also satisfied with the result,” notes Mr. Rauer. “However, when we had everything in the layout, we clearly recognized the limitations in 3D performance.”

3D performance noticeably increased

“Optimizing the models through plavis noticeably improved 3D performance, as the dimensions of port layouts are different from those of factories.”

Dr. Jürgen Böse, senior engineer at the institute adds: “This was the main reason why we decided to use the modeling services of the visTABLE® team afterwards. A catalog of frequently used terminal devices was created by us and professionally modeled by the Chemnitz partners. This means that we now have a model library with which we can map typical scenarios easily and quickly.”

In a two-day workshop, an initial terminal layout with container yard, two Post-Panamax gantry cranes, and a holding area for terminal-side truck handling (including the corresponding gate structure) was created with its complete material flow definition. Many peripheral issues, such as the intensity measure and the distribution of material flows in the terminal, had to be discussed. Through the methodical approach to layout design, new insights were gained, and many questions were raised. Thus, in the first workshop with visTABLE®, valuable food for thought for the development of practicable planning approaches in maritime logistics and possible extensions of visTABLE®touch were created.

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