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Chris Brown

Primary Networks

+44 (0) 14387 86399

Paul Shlackman or Alex Murphy

Strategic Alliance International

+44 (0)1494 434434

The Port of Tyne, Newcastle, will benefit from a newly installed state-of-the-art system which automatically controls the new £1 million dock gates. Network consultants, Primary Networks, under contract to marine system designers Calderfield Hydraulics, have installed an advanced wireless network on the £200,000 system. The system is part of the Port’s £50 million improvement scheme to provide a totally integrated transport service with on-dock road, rail and sea access.

A network comprising three wireless links with antennae mounted on masts and buildings beam a signal from one side of the river to the other. The three-way link allows the gate to be monitored from the gate control room, a security guard house 800 metres away and harbour control two kilometres upstream.

"One of the biggest challenges of the project was ensuring the system we selected would work even when the signal was interrupted briefly by passing shipping," said Chris Brown, marketing manager, Primary Networks. "By mounting an antenna on top of a 20 foot mast and another at harbour control we are able to ensure the Breezecom network remains connected 99 per cent of the time and can withstand interruptions lasting up to 60 seconds."

In this way the exact status of the lock gates and signs of any faults on the system can be monitored remotely from the security post and harbour control. A major benefit of the system is that with some simple additional programming full control of the gate can later be passed to these locations.

Brighouse-based Calderfield Hydraulics Limited have installed similar lock gate control systems at Ipswich and Hull for ABP, Grimsby, Immingham and The Manchester Ship Canal. "The Port of Tyne Authority awarded us the contract in mid-99," said Graeme Henderson, contract engineer, Calderfield Hydraulics. "In the early design stages we consulted closely with Primary to determine the best solution for this project. We agreed the wireless local area network was more appropriate for the specific geographical challenges of the location than more conventional methods such as underwater cabling or microwave."

"In the past we would have probably had to arrange for extensive cabling under water involving divers, specialist equipment and so on," continued Mr. Henderson. "The wireless connection has saved thousands of pounds on the cost of this project."

About Primary Networks:

Primary Networks is a specialist network consultancy formed from the former network resource of ICL. As well as servicing its traditional ICL roots and established reseller base, Primary sub-distributes a broad range of networking equipment including 3Com, Cisco, Allied Telesyn, Breezecom, Bay/Nortel, Shiva, Multitech, Eicon, Mitel, Barron McCann and Satelcom. Primary Networks is part of Primary Storage, a public company quoted on the London Stock Exchange under Primar-e (PRR).

For more information or a brochure on complete marine systems incorporating hydraulics, mechanics and electrical control please contact Calderfield Hydraulics Ltd, Gareth Henderson (Business Development Manager) on 01484 404400 or

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