Condra completes 32 t yard crane for Mpumalanga refinery

Image of MMC’s crane under load test at Condra Crane’s Germiston factory

TURNKEY SOLUTION Condra Crane’s turnkey solution includes the crane itself, downshop conductor system, the design, supply and erection of the crane’s 43 m free-standing gantry

16th December 2022

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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Crane manufacturer Condra Cranes has completed a 32 t, 30-metre-span container handling crane for Mbombela-based metals refinery Manganese Metal Company (MMC).

MMC’s gantry was delivered on December 5, with the crane to follow in the second week of January 2023 when crews from Condra Cranes will complete commissioning.

Condra Cranes was awarded the contract after competing against rival firms in a formal tender process, following its submission of a turnkey proposal offering a short lead time, effective after-sales service and low projected overall lifetime cost.

With the working element of a multicomponent turnkey contract, the crane enables MMC to offload and load full containers from and on to either railway wagons or road transport trucks, allowing the company to export product without interruption using multiple transport options.

MMC, which produces selenium-free manganese metal used in the production of aluminium beverage cans, certain types of special steels, chemicals, welding consumables and lithium- based rechargeable batteries, exports its product in various forms, including flakes, powders and briquettes, with more than 90% of the refinery’s output exported to 20 different countries.

Reliable logistics and flexible export options are key requirements to ensure MMC’s customers receive product timeously.

Further, according to Condra Cranes, MMC plans to increase its participation in the lithium-based battery market, especially for electric vehicle production, hence the need for increased flexibility of export container handling.

“Condra’s turnkey solution includes the crane itself, the downshop conductor system, the design, supply and erection of the crane’s 43 m free-standing gantry, and calculations for foundations laid by an independent civils contractor,” Condra Crane MD Marc Kleiner said in a statement issued this month.

The 32 t double-girder electric overhead travelling crane, which will be used in the open, features weather covers on all motors, antiderailment brackets and Condra Crane’s patented storm brakes to guard against movement caused by high winds.

“Besides the removable container handler, there is a full-length platform with lifeline along one girder, a floodlight to illuminate the lifting area, a motion warning light and siren and a cable reeling drum for future upgrade to full crane automation. Control is by radio remote with pendant backup,” he explains.

He points out that speeds are within the normal range for a crane of this very large size – the long travel will move at speeds of either 31 m or 10.3 m a minute and the cross travel at 14 m or 4.6 m a minute.

An Optidrive variable- frequency drive supplied by subsidiary iTek Drives, which Condra Cranes acquired in October, will deliver tightly controlled and variable lifting speeds of up to three metres a minute on the hoist.

“During manufacture, MMC supplied Condra Crane’s Germiston factory with unique and visually appealing paint specifications for the finish of its new crane in corporate colours,” Kleiner comments, noting that girders and end-carriages are resplendent in MMC Grey, the hoist in MMC Amethyst and the container handler in MMC Yellow.

Kleiner says that there is growing demand for turnkey lifting solutions, as customers sometimes require more than just crane manufacture and commissioning.

“For example, a dump truck facility in the Northern Cape recently required us to work closely with both the architect and the structural engineer so that the crane, gantry and factory could be melded into a single, optimally cohesive operating platform at minimised cost.

“This required considerably more than straightforward design and manufacture,” he concludes.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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