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Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals To Work In Synch Because of Simulation Applications
In a comparison of international air cargo handling, Hong Kong rates sixth-largest, only trailing JFK, Narita, Frankfurt, Los Angeles LAX and Chicago-O'Hare. Yet, within a single air cargo terminal, The Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (HACTL) now handles more tonnage than any other air cargo terminal in the world. At an annual compound growth rate of 8%, HACTL's Terminal 1 is expected to reach saturation this year with an annual capacity of 720,000 tons. With Hong Kong's booming trade economy, this growth rate will only continue. By 1998, the air cargo throughput in Hong Kong is expected to reach around 1,440,000 tons per year.
In the mid-1980's HACTL began devising a growth plan to accommodate the Terminal 1 overload and continuing cargo growth. Since Hong Kong's land is among the most expensive in the world (land is parceled and sold in thousands of dollars per square meter), HACTL needed to break traditional terminal designs and build vertically, instead of horizontally, This unconventional building plan will result in a seven-story, $166 million (not including land costs) distributing center. The building will be distinctly designed with two advanced automatic storage and retrieval systems, one built on top of the other, to improve operational efficiency, reduce staff dependency and achieve a minimum of 25% gain in capacity. The two vertical storage systems will be served by automatic stacker cranes which, by eliminating the need for inter-level floor slabs, maximize the use of volumetric space. The process control systems of the stacker crane will be directly linked to HACTL's internal computer system. There will be 20 separate working modules with 102 workstations and 136 truck docks for cargo reception and delivery.
Simulation offered the solution
Because of the huge investment in the new Terminal 2, the unique facility design, the fully automated approach to material handling, and the need for Terminal 2 to be operational by 1991, HACTL needed to quickly and carefully evaluate system features before final design and construction. Simulation software was the obvious evaluation tool. Our project team evaluated several simulation packages, and opted for AutoSimulation's AutoMod II silicon graphics workstation, deciding that other simulation products would take a year or more to produce an accurate, detailed model, which we were able to …