Overhead lifting equipment and crane repair company Konecranes’ CXT biomass crane is expected to be launched in South Africa in early 2014 to ensure that the company takes advantage of the many new biomass energy plants that will be built in South Africa.
“The renewable-energy sector is in its formative years and is on its way to becoming a large-scale industry in South Africa. Biomass has been established to become a major player in the local market for alternative, carbon-neutral energy. “Konecranes would like to establish its presence in this market from the beginning with its new crane concept,” says Konecranes sales and marketing manager John MacDonald.
He adds that Konecranes’ CXT biomass crane is fully automated to handle different kinds of biomass. The crane’s optimal biomass software enables power plants to be efficiently operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The company says the CXT biomass crane’s main function is to handle fuels such as peat, wood chips or communal waste. The crane receives biomass from a tipping area and lifts it to a storage area or directly to a feeding hopper. The crane can also feed biomass from the storage area to the hopper.
The crane is equipped with a range of features, such as slack rope prevention, which prevents the grab from tilting and hoisting the ropes. MacDonald says sway control is another useful feature, as it reduces the average work-cycle time by keeping the load stable and on its intended path. Another beneficial function, he adds, which also increases productivity, is the extended speed range that enables the hoist to run at a higher-than-nominal rated hoisting speed with empty grab, which significantly reduces cycle times.
“Konecranes has a long, strong history of supplying special cranes for diverse industry segments, including that of renewable energy, such as waste-to-energy and biomass. We have strong products with long life spans. We did a lot of research on the CXT biomass crane and are optimistic about the biomass crane market in South Africa.
“One of the most significant advantages of the CXT biomass crane is its more compact design, which, compared with a traditional loader conveyor-based solution, increases the fuel storage capacity of a plant. The crane makes less noise than conveyor-based solutions and also reduces dust and fuel emissions,” he explains.
Konecranes highlights that typical conditions in biomass halls, like dust and high humidity, have been taken into account by including heaters for the motors and inverters as standard features, rail sweeps in end carriages and an upgraded protection class for key components like motors.
“Electrical cubicles are usually placed on the bridge of the crane, but the control panel is positioned at floor level for easy and ergonomic access. Optionally, cubicles can be placed in a customer’s control room. “The best size of a hydraulic clamshell grab is selected based on a customer’s process needs,” adds MacDonald.
The CXT biomass crane is available in duty class M6 up to 10 t and in M7 up to 8 t. Should a heavier load capacity or a higher duty class be required, Konecranes offers the GL crane series, which has proved its performance at various waste-to-energy plants worldwide.
Since biomass handling in automated plants is one of the most challenging tasks for heavy-duty cranes, as they operate in a continuous process, maintenance is a key factor in keeping the process running smoothly. Konecranes offers a comprehensive maintenance service through the company’s global service network, with almost 420 000 pieces of equipment under maintenance contracts, says the company.
“The maintenance services range from mandatory inspections to preventive or full-service maintenance and operation partnerships. “Konecranes also offers specialised maintenance and modernisation services for all types of industrial cranes,” MacDonald points out.
Konecranes further offers advanced diagnostics services such as the crane reliability survey – an engineering assessment of the current condition and future maintenance needs of cranes – the RailQ runway assessment and the RopeQ wire rope analysis. These products provide customers with valuable information that can be used as a guide when planning future operations.