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Modular Control Technology Enables Task-Related Growth


TTS Marine from Gothenburg is widely regarded as the world’s top provider of stern and bow ramps, movable car decks, door systems, freight elevators and gangways for ships and ferries. In conjunction with WAGO, the Swedish company is developing a new control system for cargo doors and gangways. The solution’s open design is focused on maximum operating safety, and its modular structure will be ready for modernizations, updates and expansions.

Dock, unload, load, undock: Time is money in ferry travel and schedules are tight. To minimize loading times, RORO ferries rely on high-performance ramps from TTS Marine. The Swedish company provides the world’s leading shipping fleets and shipyards with ship-side and land-based systems that provide the trouble-free loading operations of passengers, vehicles and goods. For the past three years, the Swedish subsidiary of Norway’s TTS Marine AS Concern has relied on the WAGOI/O-SYSTEM 750 for the central control system. The decision to use WAGO automation solutions followed comprehensive benchmarking in which the architecture of the control system, its quality, reliability and above all, its approval for use in the maritime sector played essential roles.

“We wanted a flexible control system that we could easily update later, and a vendor with a global presence,” explains Tobias Ahlberg, Sales Manager at TTS Marine AS. “Our loading systems travel around the world and have an average service life of 25–30 years, so it is important that the products we use are also robust.” And reliable, as Ahlberg adds, because failures or incidents cannot be allowed in the TTS systems – they are key points in ship security.

Step-by-step to the Perfect Solution

“When we considered WAGO’s solutions, we quickly decided to incorporate them because they have several different certificates from maritime standardization committees,” explains Ahlberg. However, the Swedes did not want to convert the entire system at once, recalls Ahlberg. “And WAGO did not encourage us to do that, either.”

In order to gain a mutual understanding of which components were best suited for each taks, TTS Marine AS and WAGO initiated the technical system conversion in small increments. “Initially, we decided not to exchange all components for WAGO parts,” states Martin Andersson, Design Engineer at TTS. Andersson is essentially responsible for everything: from developing electrical systems and component specification, on through to the writing of all programs for the programmable logic controllers, up to implementing acceptances. “Because there was absolutely no pressure to specify WAGO, we could concentrate on one aspect of the conversion at a time. We gradually expanded our inventory of WAGO components, including the TOPJOB®S Rail-Mounted Terminal Blocks and relays.

Conquering the Maritime Sector Together

Ultimately, Andersson found that WAGO’s system is an excellent fit for this type of approach, because it can be modularly expanded with ease, and can grow in unision with the customer’s needs. “The open architecture of WAGO’s controllers will allow us to integrate new components in the future via simple updates,” states Andersson, who is excited that the Linux® based controllers can be freely programmed. They are also approved for control tasks on the bridge. This is vital as the need for resistance to interference and the demand for low interference emissions are particularly high, because failures of sensitive systems, like radio or navigation, must be safely prevented.

More than anything, Andersson values that, “WAGO knows what technology we need for developing control systems so that we can be just as successful with future projects as well.” The collaboration of the last few years has opened new doors within the maritime industry for both companies.

TEXT: Fredrik Hedrod, TTS Marine, Stefan Wall and Urban Wase, WAGO