“The Pilots and Boatmen of Brabo are working under all type of weather conditions and different environmental situations including the presence of explosive goods. To support the digital transformation of Brabo, the Pilots and Boatmen must rely on tools to support their daily work. After rigorous evaluation, Brabo chose the Getac F110 fully rugged Atex certified touchscreen tablet that supports a full day shift and can be used in all weather situations and environments.”
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 harbor pilots from BRABO plays an essential role 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 are 70 professional harbor pilots within the Brabo Pilotage & Mooring division. Brabo’s team of harbor 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, harbor pilots must be careful to keep themselves and the equipment safe. In maneuvering 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 harbor 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 maneuvering is different in each port, so the captain relies on the harbor 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 on board 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 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 7th generation Intel Kaby Lake 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 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 harbor 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 harbor pilots to work without a hitch. Brabo pilots carry the F110-Ex to register real time data and consult harbor 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 harbor.
Furthermore, harbor 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 harbor pilot’s work for an entire shift. It’s utterly important that a harbor 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 harbor pilots as they guide ships from lock to berth or vice versa at the Port of Antwerp.