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June 24, 2005
Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd.

Newly-developed full-automatic container twist lock for 8000TEU containerships

In January 2004, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. ("K" Line) placed an order with IHI Marine United Inc. (IHIMU) one of the world's largest containerships. As ships increased in size, the number of containers loaded on the decks and hatches has also increased rapidly; more than 4000TEU, are being loaded on the upper decks. Those containers are lashed to the decks or hatches for preventing falling down or collapsing by the vessel's rolling and pitching; however, the increase in container numbers means that cargo lashing operations will become enormously more demanding. It is further predicted that the port stay will lengthen due to the protraction in loading and discharging times, and expenses will also spiral as the number of required workers increases. In order to resolve this problem, we organized a special team "New Lashing System Development Project". In the year and a half since its establishment, they had examined a broad range of systems in collaboration with some manufacturers. Taiyo Seiki Iron Works Co., Ltd. is one of the manufacturer of lashing equipment and as a result of their one of prototypes, the newly developed full-automatic twist lock "FA-8" has recently been developed with our satisfaction of high performance requirements. On May 18, 2005 actual confirmation of trial voyage had been conducted on M/S "Verrazano Bridge" in the Far East/North American trade with excellent performance.

Twist locks, as the name suggests, join and lock a container with another container above and below it, by twisting into the corner corn in the container post. Until now, there has been a prevalence of traditional locks that are so-called semi-automatic system. These are fitted underneath a container, and as the container is loaded on top of another, the locks automatically twist and the locking mechanism takes effect. However, with this conventional system, each and every container had to be manually separated by operating with a lever in order to release the locking mechanism. This unlocking operation required workers with long release bars to unlock the twist locks on each of the four corners on the containers for discharging as they went around checking them. Therefore, as the number of containers has increased, so too has enormity of the work involved risen. Furthermore, unlocking containers which are loaded high, has either required workers to manipulate long, heavy release bars, or has been a dangerous operation requiring workers to climb on top of the containers and work from great heights.

The newly developed "FA-8" has succeeded in fully automating the locking and unlocking mechanism. No manual release operation will be required with this revolutionary new product (International patent pending). Furthermore, anti-incorrect direction mechanism has been added to prevent locks from being secured back to front (see note); meaning we have achieved a groundbreaking new product which resolves all the conventional issues, such as completely resolving the trouble. At 5.8 kg, we have succeeded in making the lock smaller and lighter than the conventional type by about 20%. The compact design enables the lock to be handled single-handedly.

At "K" Line, we will continue to develop its quality by strength test, durability confirmation examination and conducting actual voyage. We will get certification by classification societies, and introduce the lock to our newly built and largest 8000TEU containerships, which will be newly on service in autumn next year, and to subsequently introduce the "FA-8" to other vessels.

Note: If you set incorrectly direction, the twist locks will be fixed and cannot be unlocked. This has caused big trouble during loading/discharging operation in port.


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