Industrial equipment supplier Condra Cranes has announced a fully automated overhead crane capability, simultaneously revealing that the first such machine was delivered to platinum-group metals producer Lonmin in November last year.
The overhead crane provides an alternative to the traditional pendant and remote control option, and the full automation is in line with a general trend away from manual control, the company says.
While the crane is considered to be fully automated, it has a manual override option. The crane also hosts dual hoists in its design – one to raise and lower the load, while the other mechanically closes the grab by means of an internal sheave arrangement to overcome the spring-loaded open state.
Variable speed drives are also fitted throughout the crane, delivering maximum speeds of 10 m a minute on the lift, and 20 m and 40 m a minute on the cross-travel and long-travel, respectively.
Four long-travel motors deliver the materials handling equivalent of four-wheel-drive, enabling automated control of all four wheels for precise crane positioning accurate to within 5 mm.
Condra MD Marc Kleiner says the company is “making full use of new developments in sensors, controls and software to offer a very precise positioning capability in automated applications”.
He adds that this capability will be on offer to customers as an option.
Copper mines will be mainly, and not solely, targeted, especially where tank house and copper-leaching applications are in play, Kleiner points out.
The first fully automated crane was delivered to Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine and commissioned during the last week of November. The 16 t crane is a 16 m span double-girder electric overhead travelling grabbing crane.
The crane at Lonmin also features a customer-specified mechanical rope grab in place of the hydraulic alternative to deliver the improved durability of mechanical operation within Marikana’s abrasive operating environment.