|North American Industries is pleased to bring you the fifth issue of our quarterly customer e-newsletter designed to keep our customers informed and answer your crane questions.|
Pick Our CraneBrain with Q&A
How will environmental conditions affect my crane equipment? Is there anything I can do to protect my investment?
Both indoor and outdoor cranes should be designed not only to meet the dimensional specifications, but also built to handle whichever environmental conditions exist at the location such as dust, heat, vapors, debris, heat, wind, or ice. Factors such as the temperature in which the crane will be operating should be communicated to the crane manufacturer at the inquiry stage. Designing the equipment with the right protective features eliminates unnecessary maintenance or safety issues...
Cold Outdoor Crane Conditions
In cold outdoor settings, heaters in all motors and panels can eliminate the chance of condensation buildup. Weatherproof covers can further protect open gears. If strong winds are a factor, the sizes of the drives and brakes will be calculated accordingly.
High Temperature Crane Conditions
Indoors, high air temperatures can cause electrical components and motors to fail much more quickly on a standard crane not built for such an environment. Heat is a by-product of electrical currents, and high ambient temperatures slow the dissipation of the heat from the electrical current. If the heat source is localized such as a furnace or ladle of metal below the hoist, a heat sheild can deflect the heat away from sensitive parts of the crane. Your crane manufacturer may also design your crane with control box fans and heavier, thicker wire insulation on the bridge electrification. North American Industries also uses class F insulation on end truck and trolley motors. Use of Class B insulation can allow the motor to burn out at temperatures that Class F motors easily withstand. Your crane manufacturer can also advise on the most appropriate hoist type and safety factor.
Other Special Environments
Some cranes used in plating lines, galvanizing facilities, or other open tank chemical processes require cranes to operate in caustic and corrosive environments. A standard crane can sometimes work, but the lifespan will be very short and maintenance costs very high. By substituting materials that won't rust easily or using protective coatings, the affects can be minimized. Cranes that are carrying hot metal require special safety features that you should discuss with the designers of your crane. NEMA 4X sealed control systems can keep the controls dry and protected from fumes. Splash guards and other small upgrades can reduce maintenance costs. Consult your crane manufacturer to make sure the equipment is designed with the proper NEMA rating if appropriate.
Keeping certain spare parts on hand may also be a wise decision to ensure optimum uptime especially in environments where some parts may be more prone to wearing quickly. A Recommended Spare Parts List can be created specifically for your crane’s situation. For worker safety and optimal productivity, consider spare parts, preventative maintenance, and regular inspections.
No matter who the original crane manufacturer was, North American Industries can supply parts that are compatible. 800-847-8470 ext. 104.
If you have a question that you would like answered in a future publication, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crane Project Highlight
Capacity, access, and maintenance issues of an old pump station in CA necessitated the building of a new facility. The new Ellis Ave Pump Station currently in the construction phase requires two cranes as well as other equipment to become operational. North American Industries supplied a 10 ton double girder bridge crane and a 10 ton monorail crane. Pictured below is the bridge crane North American Industries recently installed.
Crane Project Highlight
The Louisiana Dept. of Transportation awarded a $137M job to a large construction company to build an eight-mile, two-lane elevated highway between Leeville and Port Fourchon including a new high-level bridge at Leeville with a southbound toll facility. The construction company had to build in front of them as they went forward extending the road further but placement of material handling equipment was limited due to the swampy bayou area over which the elevated road was being built. The construction company wanted to place a crawler type crane on a large platform that would be able to move forward as the project progressed. Railroad bogies and other ideas were explored but were deemed too expensive or ineffective.
North American Industries engineered and built end truck mechanisms to drive the platforms forward.
Over a four month period, as the construction company adjusted their figures for size and weight of the platforms and the load they would support, North American Industries had to determine the proper size and design for the mechanisms that would drive the platforms. North American Industries’ final design criteria is for a load of 2.2 million lbs (550 kips per corner of the platform, operating on 104 lb/yd rail). Each platform travels on four endtruck assemblies with eight wheels at each corner. Two out of every group of eight wheels are driven all from one master control. The four endtruck assemblies were designed for synchronized operation from a single adjustable frequency drive housed in a NEMA 4 watertight enclosure. All equipment was constructed for outdoor weather conditions and the endtruck assemblies were built with hurricane locking devices to prevent damage in the event of a storm.
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North American Industries, Inc.