Fully integrated Anti-Collision, Positioning and Volumetric Control Solution for Shiploaders/unloaders

Automatic Shiploading has always been one of the biggest dreams of the mining and material handling industries. Currently, operators still need to guess the accurate material distribution in ship holds. This, however, is highly safety critical as the generally static ship designs require specialized task lists.

Years of research by indurad and experience have shown that the feasibility of automatic shiploading primarily depends on the exactness and reliability of the sensors that scan for collision objects, do the positioning and measure the interior of bulk carriers in real-time during loading/unloading cycles. The indurad DualRangeRadar (iDRR™) is the first industrial grade sensor to truly live up to these requirements. 

How does it work?

Solution Layout: Several indurad DualRangeRadar (iDRR™) sensors are installed around the shiploader/unloader. Usually, the sensors are mounted next to the boom to scan for collision objects, and at the chute to measure the inventory. The position of the shiploader/unloader is determined in a fail-safe way by the indurad LinearDynamicRadar (iLDR™) plus RTK L1L2 Differential GPS.

Besides, the ship drift is monitored with the unique and disposable indurad SwitchedReflectorRadar (iSWR™) transponders. These were specifically designed as disposable as they are not frequently dismounted from the ship. All information is processed in the indurad RadarProcessingUnit (iRPU™) that seamlessly integrates  into all PLC, SCADA, MES systems.

Why is it an improvement?

Common Technologies: Until today, there has not been a single automatic shiploading technology on the market — apart from R&D technology still under development. Alternative technologies comprise laser scanners that are mounted on poles, lanyards or tripper switches. A truly reliable collision avoidance solution, however, is difficult to achieve with these types of technology:

  • Laser scanners are very well suited for the initial surveying scan of the complete ship before the loading process commences. However, in order to keep them clean, they need to be installed as high as possible, resulting in massive blind spots
  • IECEx / ATEX regulations prevent laser scanners from being very close to the coal flow due to dust explosion matters
  • Model-based loading systems depend on exact drawings of the ship. If they are wrong or if the position of the ship on the quay changes, collisions may occur and dangerous loading situations are bound to happen (e.g. uncontrolled ship rotation)
  • Lanyard and tripper switches as the innermost collision avoidance layer do not allow for control of a machine, but may only act as the last fall back for collision avoidance. However, even when they are pulled, it mostly is too late

Breaking Limitations: In fact, iShiploader™ consists of a full package comprising collision avoidance, shiploader positioning, operator assistance and full automatic loading support. indurad is the only solution supplier on the market to provide fully integrated solutions of this type to the industry. With iShiploader™, you get:

  • 2D high range laser scanners exclusively for the initial ship scan, obstacle mapping and profiling. The 2D laser scanner is shut down during ship loading as data will be less reliable and MTBF of scanner increases.
  • Proximity information for predictive model based path planning before conventional near-field shutdowns. Additionally: 2D radar layer for preventive non-static collision objects.
  • Scans of the hold of the ship for automatic loading and loading control online with 2D/3D Radar
  • Automatic hold scan trimming to reduce the likelihood of cargo shifting according to International Maritime Organization IMO IMSBC Code 2009 for Group A (Coal) by ensuring maximum height difference in ship hold

What are the Benefits?

iShiploader™ provides benefits both for loading and unloading vessels in any type of port:

  • Safe solution based on absolute positioning and obstacle mapping
  • Increasing performance by automatic learning from the best-practice operator
  • Fast due to precise information and real-time information updates
  • Use existing planning tools and production execution routines

Where is it used?

Industries/Materials: The core components of the iShiploader™ solution (collision avoidance, 3D level monitoring and automatic loading functions) are mainly in use in coal and iron ore operations in South America, Australia and Europe. Smaller shiploaders, e.g. in the copper industry, usually need to be equipped with the collision avoidance functions only. This solution also comes with special benefits for the loading process of multi-purpose ships.


If you want to know more about this solution, please contact us directly.

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