E-Cranes unloading 5mt of bauxite each year for Sherwin Alumina

E-Crane Worldwide is a modern, state-of-the-art engineering and heavy equipment construction company, based in Adegem, Belgium and with subsidiary companies for sales management, technical support and service in The Netherlands (E-Crane International Europe) and Ohio, USA (E-Crane International USA). E-Crane Worldwide develops turnkey material handling solutions with engineering services, equipment manufacturing, erection, operator/maintenance training and custom tailored ongoing service programmes for its clients.

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

E-Crane in Bauxite and Alumina: the Sherwin Alumina Company

Two 2000 Series E-Cranes were put into service at The Sherwin Alumina Company LLC in Gregory, Texas in 2010. Both E-Cranes are high gantry rail mounted and have an outreach of up to 147’ and a duty cycle capacity of 27 US tonnes. Together, these cranes unload up to 5mt (million tonnes) of bauxite from Handymax and Panamax size ships annually.

Sherwin Alumina has been producing alumina (aluminum oxide) near Gregory Texas for more than 50 years. Before 2010, Sherwin Alumina was using continuous ship unloaders (CSUs) purchased in the 1980s. These were complicated machines that required lots of maintenance, generated high amounts of dust, and could not unload ships on time. While these CSUs have an impressive mechanical design, the constant and high cost of maintenance, along with poor reliability, was causing major unloading delays resulting in huge demurrage costs. Sherwin needed to find a replacement for these unloaders that would reliably unload the incoming bauxite ships.

Research showed E-Crane to be the perfect and reliable solution, and E-Crane was contacted in late 2008. After a detailed analysis of all possible ship unloading solutions, it was decided that two 2000 Series E-Cranes would be the solution. These E-Cranes were purchased fully assembled and ready for pick-up at an offsite location for less than half the cost of one CSU, new in the 1980s. The new E-Cranes were built in the E-Crane Worldwide facility in Adegem, Belgium and were transported to Sherwin Alumina exactly one year after the initial down payment. A special heavy lifting shipping method was used to minimize downtime at the customer’s dock.

E-Crane also provided one week of classroom training for the 32 operators. After a written test, the operators experienced ‘simulator’ training. After passing a test in the cab simulator, the operators moved on to ‘in-the-seat’ training, and E-Crane technicians were there monitoring the operators 24/7 for a further two weeks until management was satisfied that the operators could function on their own.

The E-Cranes immediately proved themselves to be reliable and cost-effective ship unloaders by minimizing demurrage costs due to lower maintenance, minimal downtime, and high reliability. Bally Kissoon, former port manager, often says, “I wish all our equipment was working like the E-Cranes!” Since the installation, both E-Cranes have been in 24/7 continuous operation at the docks with average cycle times of 60 seconds.

Source: Dry Cargo International – July 2012


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