TOS Requirements, Testing, Tuning and Training
TOS: Key Asset for Terminals
The Terminal Operating System (TOS) of a container terminal is the heart of the terminal operation. It tracks all container positions in the stacks and handles large quantities of information. TOS makes decisions using a number of control strategies, allocates container grounding locations, and manages equipment deployment and dispatching. There are a number of off-the-shelf solutions on the market for new terminals. TBA assists its clients by:
- Defining the functional requirements of a TOS.
- Testing the TOS before going live.
- Training TOS users in near-to-live setting.
- Optimising parameter settings for yard, equipment control, and dispatching.
These procedures ensure that live operation is successful.
Successful TOS implementation starts with the selection of the appropriate system for the facility’s needs. During the last five years, TBA specified TOS requirements for more than ten clients.
Implementing a new TOS is a high-impact activity for any terminal and because a system change happens while the terminal is in operation and needs to continue performing, it is essential that there be minimal problems. TBA’s project experience includes work with different TOS systems: SPARCS by Navis, SPACE by Cosmos, TOPX-Advance by RBS, and CATOS by TSB. To assure a smooth implementation of each TOS, TBA focuses not only on error-free operation but also on logistical performance. For testing the TOS, TBA uses CONTROLS (CONtainer TeRminal Optimized Logistics Simulation). CONTROLS is an innovative emulation tool that links the physical computer containing the TOS to another computer that runs a simulation model of the real terminal and comprehends all relevant terminal processes. Using the identical protocols for communication between control software and the vehicles the software is controlling, the TOS thinks it controls the real system, rather than a model of the real system.
This approach proves to:
- Shorten lead times while implementing a TOS and reduce the need for testing with real equipment.
- Increase performance at commencement of operations.
- Reduce errors while operating the TOS, leading to an equal reduction in interruption for terminal operations.
TOS User Training
Even the best TOS cannot control a terminal without well-trained operators.
TBA uses CONTROLS as a training tool. This enables the user to interact with a “virtual terminal” by means of emulation. CONTROLS permits a user to learn and apply concepts interactively and replicates real life training in a controlled environment. This type of training is not only more practical time-wise because experiments can be run faster than real time, but it also allows a more effective planning of training programs.
Instructors are able to set scenarios and events with specific desired learning objectives beforehand such as:
- Improve the capabilities of the vessel planners.
- Learn how to maximize the use of Autostow.
- Learn the impact of yard parameters, allocation filters, and expert decking (ED).
- Learn the impact of parameter settings in Equipment Control (EC).
- Deploy yard equipment / horizontal transportation equipment in real time.
- Reduce the number of units being used / idle time.
- Reduce external truck turn-around time.
The high-value of this type of training is aimed at operational level workers, particularly:
- Vessel planners
- Yard planners
- Equipment dispatchers
- Planning managers / supervisors
Figure: Training Flow
TOS Parameter Optimisation
TBA assists with finding correct parameter settings for a yard, equipment control, etc. depending on container flows.