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9/23/22

Innovation

Vale Announces First Autonomous Grab Ship Unloader In Teluk Rubiah


MANJUNG, September 23 – Vale announced today, the deployment of an autonomous grab ship unloader in the Teluk Rubiah Maritime Terminal (TRMT) – marking the first for Vale globally, and the first-ever in Asia. The solution is expected to move 85 percent of Vale operations volume at TRMT autonomously, providing stability, reducing costs in the long term, and improving efficiencies.

According to Rodrigo Ribeiro de Araújo, CEO of Vale in Malaysia, “The implementation of the autonomous grab ship unloader allows us to de-risk our operations, enhancing TRMT’s proposition as a safe and reliable operator. This is in line with Vale’s global strategy to become one of the world’s safest and most reliable mining companies”.

The autonomous grab ship unloader technology was designed to address various challenges faced by workers, including exhaustion, risk of machine breakdowns, and human-induced delays at TRMT. The unloader was also fitted to handle Valemax; one of the world’s largest and most efficient bulk carriers.

Designed to handle up to 30 million tonnes of iron ore, TRMT is the largest single foreign direct investment (FDI) in the state of Perak. The terminal is run by a workforce made up of 97 percent Malaysian; over 60 percent from Manjung. Rodrigo added, “We are proud to introduce this Vale-first technology in Manjung. TRMT is run by a predominantly Malaysian workforce, with strong support from technical specialists from various countries, including Brazil. Ultimately, we hope the implementation of various innovative automation solutions in the terminal, along with the gradual knowledge transfer to local technical professionals, will support Perak’s successful foray into the IR4.0 economic future”. The implementation of the autonomous grab ship unloader in Vale’s operation was also made possible through collaborations with local and international partners, which include iSAM from Germany, Meinhardt EPCM and Everconsult Sdn Bhd.

The implementation of the autonomous grab ship unloader in Vale’s operation was also made possible through collaborations with local and international partners, which include iSAM from Germany, Meinhardt EPCM and Everconsult Sdn Bhd. “We look forward to even more opportunities to collaborate with local and international technology providers to introduce future-ready solutions that can support TRMT’s role as an integral component of Vale’s strategy in Asia – the world’s largest iron ore market”, Rodrigo concluded.

About the technology

The autonomous operating system uses similar technology used in some autonomous cars. Overall, it is introduced to supplement the existing manually operated machine control with a combination of modern 3D sensors, real-time evaluation, and a high-dynamic calculation of all control signals. All functions of the basic automation remain unaffected, allowing teams to switch to manual operation at any time, if required. Incorporating scanner and sensor capabilities, the automated grab ship unloader solution allows teams to measure the trolley and cabin position more accurately and precisely, replacing the ‘eyes, hands and brain functions of a human operator’. Overall, the move will allow more optimisation and produce results that are more efficient for Vale.

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