E-Crane International USA Inc (ECI-USA), the renowned manufacturer of equilibrium cranes, has recently completed a turnkey system on the Tombigbee River near Leroy, Alabama, USA (see picture above). Power South’s Lowman Power Plant now operates a brand new floating barge offloading station. The centrepiece is a 2000 Series E-Crane rated for 1,500tph (tonnes per hour) for offloading coal or limestone.
ECI-USA also provided the crane barge, a conveyor support barge, the hopper, and the barge position system. E-Crane also supplied a recent turnkey system for Ohio Valley Electric Corp’s Kyger Creek Plant in which a 1500 Series E-Crane was mounted on a cell along with a hopper and barge positioning system (see picture, right). For more details of this installation, please see p47 of the January 2009 issue of Dry Cargo International. ECI-USA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Indusign N.V., a Belgian engineering company. ECI-USA is the exclusive provider of marketing, sales, engineering, product support, and spare parts for the E-Crane product line in North and South America.
The standard E-Crane product line consists of five series of balanced hydraulic cranes (E-Cranes): 700 Series, 1000 Series, 1500 Series, 2000 Series, and 3000 Series. E-Crane also offers a line of material handling machines: MH900 and MH1200.
The E-Crane is a truly revolutionary material handling machine as its main design feature is a parallelogram style boom configuration which allows the machine to be in near perfect balance throughout the duty cycle.
Commodities Handled by the E-Crane
The E-Crane is specifically design for barge unloading processes. Anything from coal to limestone to fertilizer to scrap steel can be handled. The E-Crane is a truly versatile machine in that it can easily switch between commodities and still offer the high production required at many ports and industrial facilities.
Recent Technological Developments
In recent years, E-Crane has spent a lot of resources developing its customer service department. ECI-USA has made investments in more warehouse space and increased inventory along with additional field service engineers. It now has more than 95% of all spare parts for its customers on hand in its warehouse and its increased field service staff have secured full maintenance contracts with many of the company’s customers. ECI-USA alsos offer a means of remote troubleshooting via
secure cellular connection with our customers who demand minimal downtime.
Half of the near 50 E-Cranes in operation today in North and South America are in the power sector. The E-Crane is a perfect solution for power plants because of the versatility to handle both the fuel for the plant and the other materials needed for air quality control processes. American Electric Power is the company’s largest single, customer along with other US-based utilities such as Southern Company, Power South, Ohio Valley Electric Corp, Cleco, amongst others. The US inland waterways
is by far the most populated area for E-Cranes as there are many different ports and stevedoring facilities that desire a high production machine with high reliability and low reoccurring maintenance costs. Terminal management firms such as Kinder Morgan have realized the advantages of the E-Crane versus other more traditional pieces of equipment.
Remaining Competitive in the Market
At E-Crane, the company has a ‘turnkey’ style approach, to maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. It now offers its customers complete barge offloading solutions including hoppers, feeders, barge positioning systems, and even floating solutions mounted on deck barges. The company has great expertise in barge offloading, and uses this to design the most efficient systems so that its customers can get as much out of their machines as possible. ECI-USA’s customers are also satisfied with this approach, as it eliminates much of the headache of procurement and project management that goes into these types of projects.
In terms of competition, the E-Crane is placed firmly between production line excavators (or material handlers) and large scale dedicated unloading structures. Even the smaller E-Cranes offer much more unloading capacity than the standard excavator. The larger E-Cranes can compete with dedicated systems in terms of production and come in at only a fraction of the installed cost with even less annual maintenance costs. The E-Crane product line is rated for barge offloading from 500tph to 2,000tph.