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Kockums Automation Loadmaster Computer

Date: 1970s
Overall: 90 x 350 mm, 7 kg
Medium: Metal, plastic
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Blue Star Line Australia
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Computer
Object No: 00028437
Place Manufactured:Sverige

User Terms

    This portable computer was commissioned by Blue Star Line and designed by the Swedish company Kockums. The computer calculated the stowage of containers on the cargo ships NEW ZEALAND STAR and AUSTRALIA STAR based upon a mathematical model which took into account the ships' centre of gravity, weight of containers, the vessel's stability and ballast.
    SignificanceThis Kockums Automation Loadmaster Computer is significant as an example of one of the very few computers designed to calculate the complex mathematics of stability and ship stowage in the late 1970s. The computer is also associated with a vessel which has strong ties to Australia, the Blue Star Line's AUSTRALIA STAR.
    HistoryLoading and unloading a cargo vessel is a complex matter. The size, weight, port of loading and unloading, and the sailing ability of a ship must be taken into account to ensure the safety of the vessel, its crew and the cargo. Traditionally, a vessel’s First Officer and the Head Stevedore would calculate a vessel’s stability and sailing characteristics by using plans of the ship, information from the cargo manifest, stowage guides and mathematical formulas based on weights and centres of gravity. However, the dramatic increase in cargo turnaround caused by containerisation and the special problems presented by the stowage of containers above deck with the subsequent raising of the vessel’s centre of gravity, required a faster and more accurate methods in calculating stability.

    In the late 1970s, Blue Star Line taking advantage of the growing trend for containerisation of cargoes ordered two, identical container ships from Smith's Dock Ltd in England, based on standard hull design (no 1340). When launched, both the AUSTRALIA STAR and NEW ZEALAND STAR, could carry 721 containers (308 reefer and 413 general), and were 168.87 meters (554ft) long, 25.2 meters beam (82.68ft) and had a 9.37 meters (30.7ft) depth in the hold. With the ability to handle 19 containers per hour, the innovative design of the vessels enable the AUSTRALIA STAR and NEW ZEALAND STAR to achieve remarkable turnaround times. These times however created a number of mathematical problems related to ship stowage and stability.

    Kockums, a Swedish company, were commissioned by Blue Star Line to construct and program a portable computer which could calculate the stowage of the NEW ZEALAND STAR and AUSTRALIA STAR based upon a mathematical model of hull design number 1340. The result was the Kockums Automation Loadmaster Computer, which could calculate the vessels centre of gravity and the stowage of containers by weight along with adjustment of the vessel’s stability and trim by calculating the amount of liquids (bunker oil, fresh water, swimming pool, peak and double bottom tanks) and their free surface effect.

    Additional Titles


    Web title: Kockums Automation Loadmaster Computer

    Related People
    Manufacturer: Kockums

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