E-Crane: getting to grips with grain

Equilibrium cranes purpose-built for bulk handling

The E-Crane excels in bulk handling applications requiring heavyduty production cycles. Specifically designed for barge and ship unloading processes, anything from coal to limestone to fertilizer to grain 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. Built for 24/7 duty cycle operation, E-Cranes have unprecedented life cycles, high efficiency, and low maintenance costs.

The standard E-Crane product line consists of five series of balanced hydraulic cranes (Equilibrium Cranes): 700, 1000, 1500, 2000 and 3000 Series. E-Cranes provide longer outreach and higher duty cycle capacities than typical material handlers. Outreach ranges from 24.8 to 47.8 metres (82 to 157 feet) and duty cycle capacity ranges from 5 to 50 metric tonnes (5.5 to 55 US tons).

The Green Alternative

The E-Crane is a truly unique and revolutionary machine with a very low power consumption cost. The E-Crane runs on clean electric energy, saving customers huge amounts of money when compared to diesel powered equipment. E-Cranes also have very little associated maintenance costs due to E-Crane’s innate design. The key to the E-Crane’s efficiency is the parallelogram design linking the stick to the moving counterweight. This unique four-bar mechanism ensures that the E-Crane remains in near perfect balance throughout its working range.

Compared with conventional cranes that require as much as 80% of their available energy just to move the boom, stick, and grab, the E-Crane allows gravity to work for you instead of against you, reducing horsepower requirements and power consumption by up to 50%, reducing maintenance and operating costs.

Grain Handling at GPMM

In 2009, an E-Crane was installed at the Grand Port Maritime de Marseille (Marseille FOS Port Authority) near Marseille, France for grain unloading. The 1500B Series E-Crane, Model 9359-GAE pictured, unloads grain and pleat from ships at the GPMM grain terminal. The grain is either put into silo storage or transferred directly from river barges to sea going vessels. The E-Crane is rail mounted, has an outreach of 35.9 metres (117.5 feet), and a duty cycle capacity of 12.5 metric tonnes (13.8 US tons).

The crane was delivered along with a mobile hopper which is attached to the E-Crane by a tow bar. This system allows the hopper to be pushed and pulled along the rails by the crane as it moves back and forth so that the distance from the centre of the E-Crane to the centre of the hopper remains constant. This results in shorter cycle times, as the distance that the E-Crane must swing to the hopper is always the same and the operator never has to travel back to deposit material into the hopper; a perfect application for E-Crane’s semi-automatic cycle feature. The E-Crane loads material into the hopper which feeds two conveyer belts which transport the grain back to the silos.

The hopper can also be disconnected or decoupled from the E-Crane in order to work completely independently from the crane. This feature is needed in certain cases such as when selfunloading ships are received at the dock. This is also useful because the hopper can be moved to another section of rail where other cranes can use it. In this configuration, the decoupled hopper can be controlled either by the E-Crane operator from inside the cab or by a control panel located on the hopper.

The crane was also delivered with two hydraulic grabs as well as a quick change device. The quick disconnect allows for the operators to easily change between grabs or switch the crane to hook/lift mode in a matter of minutes. The E-Crane also included the EMM (Electronic Machine Management) system, remote access equipment which allows E-Crane engineers and service technicians to remotely diagnose and fix problems. GPMM utilizes this advanced troubleshooting system saving it time and money associated with downtime and maintenance.

The GPMM project was a ‘turnkey’-style project, as E-Crane designed and provided the complete system from start to finish. E-Crane engineers developed the entire layout concept from basic to detail design. E-Crane provided the crane to hopper tow bar system along with the electronic machine manager communications and crane monitoring systems. E-Crane engineers also provided start up assistance and hands-on training for operators and maintenance crew following a turn-key installation.

Source: Dry Cargo International – September 2012

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