Port of Antwerp and technology company Zensor are joining forces to increase safety at the quay walls. Zensor developed the Bollard Monitor for this purpose, a digital sensor that measures the tension on a bollard. The first five Bollard Monitors have already been installed at the North Sea terminal, five more are planned soon.
The port of Antwerp has about 120.6 km of quay walls and 7,000 mooring posts and bollards. Ships attach their ropes to this when they moor. This way, ships do not move during unloading and loading. In case of wind or storm, the ship’s ropes of large seagoing vessels put an enormous pulling force on the mooring posts and bollards.
Bollards, with their bolt or anchor connections, are more sensitive in this respect than bollards. If such a bollard – 650 kg of steel – were to come loose, there is a risk of a ship drifting or injuries. Regular inspection and maintenance are therefore required.
Digital solution increases security
To measure the tension in the bolt connection of bollards and to warn when a bollard threatens to come loose or break down, the Port of Antwerp launched a call in 2020 to devise a digital system for this. From the five entries, the ‘Bollard Monitor’ of the Brussels technology company Zensor was chosen as the winner.
The Bollard Monitor consists of two built-in sensors that measure the voltage and voltage changes on the mounting system. The system sends the information, which is permanently recorded, every 15 minutes via a wireless connection and visualizes it via a dashboard. This data will help the operational service to optimize the preventive maintenance of the bollards.
Tom Cornelissen, Sales Manager Zensor: “Zensor makes the bollards in the port of Antwerp intelligent. Instead of the on-site checks, the sensors will indicate fully automatically and immediately when the bolt connections of bollards are overloaded. The technical services of Port of Antwerp can view the actual load of the bollards live via the online Zensor platform. The system will issue an alarm when a bolt comes loose. This is not only much more efficient for maintenance, it also increases safety. The measured data from the bollards is linked to operational data from the Port Authority. The intelligent processing of this combined data provides additional insights and context regarding the load on those bollards. ”
Erwin Verstraelen, Chief Digital Information & Innovation Officer Port of Antwerp: “As part of our vision to lay a digital nervous system over the physical port, we have installed sensors on a number of bollards to measure the influence of high tractive force which will help to schedule maintenance more efficiently. A good example of how we use innovation and partnerships to increase safety in our port. ”
Annick De Ridder, port alderman: “With this example of innovation, we not only make our port safer and more efficient, but we can also be a source of inspiration for other ports. By continuing to use our port as a testing ground for technological innovation, we will continue to play a pioneering role here. ”