New E-Crane barge-haul systems improve unloading efficiency

E-Crane Worldwide is a modern, state-of-the-art engineering and heavy equipment construction company, based in Adegem, Belgium and with subsidiary companies in the Netherlands (E-Crane International Europe) and Ohio, USA (E-Crane International USA).

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 near perfect balance throughout the duty cycle.

E-Cranes are unloading barges worldwide at up to 2,000tph (tonnes per hour), often in ‘mission critical’ applications where the E-Crane is the only means of unloading. Now E-Crane offers barge-haul equipment designed to increase the speed and economy of the overall unloading operation.

The following is a brief outline of a ‘typical’ barge-haul system for moving loaded coal or limestone barges. This design provides ‘utility grade’ unloading equipment and can move one or two loaded 35ft x 195ft jumbo barges with a capacity of 1,500 metric tonnes. Available travel distance is +/-145m.

The vector-opposed barge-haul system consists of two opposed winches—one forward, one trailing (upstream/downstream)—that work in tandem with a continuous 7/8- diameter steel cable that includes two master links with a hitch rope for tying to the material barge. The barge can be secured against drifting away from the river cell or dock face by a continuous barge-breasting cable. This is the fastest and safest way to handle and offload a barge.

The two winches are mounted to the dock-cell tops with high-strength epoxy grout and 20 anchors. Each winch has a rated capacity of 14,000 lb on a single layer (21,000 lb starting) at a variable rope speed of 0–30 feet per minute. Winch motors are 15hp, 0–1,800rpm, 460V, 3-phase, 60 Hz, inverter duty, totally enclosed blower cooled with dust and water-tight motormounted disc brake, and 1,024ppr encoder for motor speed feedback.

The barge-haul system can be operated from inside the E-Crane operator’s cab or from a remote location by ground personnel while an empty barge is substituted for a full barge. Local controls are mounted at each winch. The push button station inside the E-Crane cab is located for easy, convenient use; and a foot switch provides for hands-free barge hauling while the operator is simultaneously unloading the barges.

The control system uses dual vector drives, commanded by a PLC, to electrically co-ordinate both winches for maximum control over the barges. The operator’s station allows for independent or tandem operation of the winches. In tandem mode, the forward winch pulls rope in while the trailing winch pays rope out under controlled back tension. Winch motor speed is continually monitored by the PLC to eliminate freewheeling or loss of payout control. Acceleration and deceleration ramps with brake delays are programmed into the system to prevent shock loading of equipment.

The system also includes a NEMA 4 vector electrical control enclosure with all appropriate auxiliary equipment for the bargehaul drive control system, transformer, distribution panel and other electrical equipment.

Each E-Crane (equilibrium crane) and auxiliary equipment/systems are custom engineered for the customer’s specific application type, production goals and profit potentials. Thus the barge-haul system specifics may vary from application to application, depending also on peculiarities such as the river current speed, water level fluctuations, convoy sizes, space available for unloading equipment, and any harsh environmental conditions.

If the infrastructure, environmental issues or other circumstances do not favour a permanent installation, the complete material and barge handling package can be mounted on a floating material handling platform. In this case, E-Crane employs an experienced naval architect and qualified barge builders to assure compliance with all regulations and to assure a high quality, cost efficient offloading solution.

The floating material handling platform is the ideal solution where there is little or no existing infrastructure; when environmental issues prohibit the construction of a permanent infrastructure; or if the flexibility of a floating, moveable system is desired.

E-Cranes excel and have unprecedented life in applications requiring heavy-duty production cycles and difficult working conditions. They are available in several models with outreach up to 150ft (45m) and duty cycle capacity up to 50 tonnes. Field service technicians and parts/service support for E-Crane equipment is available 24/7 from E-Crane locations in the USA and Europe.

E-Crane’s unique parallelogram design features a hydraulic pivoting, mechanically linked counterweight that keeps the E-Crane in near-perfect balance at all times. This reduces horsepower consumption and power requirements up to 50%. E-Cranes are available on pedestal, rail, crawler or barge mounts.

Source: Dry Cargo International – July 2012


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