The Port of Antwerp in Belgium, Europe’s second-largest seaport, handles massive cargo turnover and manages heavy shipping traffic to and from the port. The team of professional harbour pilots from BRABO plays an essential role in navigating large vessels safely from lock to berth or vice versa. Pilotage is a venerable profession and is indispensable to the safe operation of international ports around the world.
Brabo specializes in maritime services and employs 300 employees among which 70 professional harbour pilots within the Brabo Pilotage & Mooring division. Brabo’s team of harbour pilots provides around-the-clock service to guide ships safely into port regardless of weather conditions. Especially when strong winds and shallow waters make it difficult to keep the ship on course, harbour pilots must be careful to keep themselves and the equipment safe. In manoeuvring ships safely into port, they rely on high-tech navigation tools to help them cope with unpredictable weather conditions and carry out highly specialized and critical tasks. They also need to communicate professionally with the lock and bridge operators, tug masters and captains of inland vessels to be able to deliver professional and efficient services.
A harbour pilot is the first person to greet a ship coming into the docks. He has to ensure smooth and safe mooring and unmooring of ships. Situational awareness is important for the pilot. Ships traffic, weather and depth are monitored constantly. He also needs to be able to look up all digital information of a ship from arrival at port to berthing and timely report information to the online port registration system, which can be achieved through a portable rugged tablet computer. The captain of the ship navigates at sea, but manoeuvring is different in each port, so the captain relies on the harbour pilot’s knowledge of the local situation to successfully complete the first and last legs of their journeys.
The environment at a port is generally humid, foggy, and the air is corrosive due to the salt. Computers operating onboard a ship must be able to operate in an environment that could be exposed to combustible gases or chemicals and subject to impact, drop and the drastic difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, especially in winter. These conditions put a computer’s durability and reliability to the test. If they fail to perform, it could cause disruption to work, damage to company reputation, and in worst-case scenarios, accidents resulting in property loss, injury, or death.
Brabo began implementing a full-scale digital transformation in 2017. On system integrator Nextel’s recommendation, Brabo now equips its team of professionals with Getac’s third-generation F110-Ex fully rugged tablets, which combine mobility, performance and safety to meet the needs by high-end industrial applications. F110-Ex was the ideal choice because it is a Windows-based, ATEX-certified tablet with a large and clear sunlight-readable display.
Featuring 11.6″ display, 1.39kg lightweight, 2.5cm slimness, MIL-STD810G (including salt fog corrosion test) and IP65 water and dust resistance certifications, a wide operating temperature range between -21°C and 60°C, and a storage temperature range between -51°C and 71°C, F110-Ex is built to withstand harsh environments. Equipped with the Intel Core processors and multi-factor security mechanisms, F110-Ex provides exceptional computational power and secure authentication. It is particularly noteworthy that the intrinsically safe F110-Ex is certified to ATEX & IECEx Zone 2/22 standards.
Intrinsic safety is a protection technique for the safe operation of electrical equipment in high-risk environments with combustible gases and dust, by limiting the available energy to a level that is too low to cause ignition. Built on top of Getac’s safety expertise, F110-Ex is designed with explosion protection compliant with ATEX standards and outstanding ruggedness so that harbour pilots can carry out their duties to perfection.
F110-Ex’s 11.6″ display guarantees clarity under direct sunlight and uncompromised touch sensitivity to fingers in heavy-duty gloves, allowing harbour pilots to work without a hitch. Brabo pilots carry the F110-EX to register real-time data and consult harbour specific data to guide the ships safely from lock to berth. They are responsible for the ship’s security and safety as they enter the harbour.
Furthermore, harbour pilots can count on ATEX-certified F110-Ex to maintain reliable operation under the challenging environmental conditions at a seaport. Designed to be field-ready straight out of the box, F110-Ex needs no extra protective casing and lasts 8-12 hours on a single charge, fully supporting a harbour pilot’s work for an entire shift. It’s utterly important that a harbour pilot’s tablet computer packs a powerful battery capable of lasting a full shift so he can complete the mission. Getac made flexible adjustments to F110-Ex to accommodate the needs of pilotage work, thereby boosting productivity and efficiency. By fine-tuning the display brightness as well as GPS and Wi-Fi modules, Nextel and Getac optimized the solution to meet Brabo’s productivity requirements.
Running Windows 10, F110-Ex supports glitch-free execution of Brabo’s software systems, allowing Brabo to maximize ROI of its digital transformation. Fast wireless connectivity also enables F110-Ex to upload/download data to/from backend systems in a snap, achieving a seamless integration with Brabo’s software systems.
Getac F110-Ex provides a total solution fully supporting harbour pilots as they guide ships from lock to berth or vice versa at the Port of Antwerp.
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Article Courtesy of Getac.