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Cranes, gantries, and hoists play key roles in the industrial sector by moving supplies, subassemblies, and finished products around the production floor. In other applications such as dockside cranes, the process of moving loads itself becomes the salable service. In either case, failure impacts profitability.
Their critical nature to operations and complexity to repair, often requiring specialized labor and parts, makes crane or hoist condition monitoring a necessary component of successful predictive maintenance programs.
Multiple factors make cranes, gantries, and hoists vulnerable to failure. The first is the sheer number of AC induction motors necessary to drive the equipment. For gantries, they include the trolley motor for moving the load along the trolley, the drive motor for moving the trolley up and down the tracks, and the hoist motor for moving the load once it arrives at the appropriate point. Cranes also require multiple motors, including motors to swing the boom, motors to move the load out along the length of the boom, and motors to raise and lower the load. If any one of these fails, operations will be stopped.
Cranes, gantries, and hoists tend to operate at high duty cycles and in harsh environments. Dockside cranes, for example, are constantly exposed to the saltwater environment, as well as potential weather extremes. Factory-floor gantries may be in contact with corrosive chemicals, heat, dust, and high shock loads.
Finally, crane motors are often located in remote or difficult to reach locations making route-based manual vibration monitoring challenging to conduct and difficult to maintain a sustained program. Their remote nature also adds complexity to repairs, which may require additional lifts or cranes to replace large AC motors in the case of overhead or dockside cranes.
All of these conditions make it important to perform regular crane, hoist, or gantry condition monitoring to keep equipment functional and avoid potentially catastrophic downtime. With crane, gantry, and hoist motor vibration analysis, you can identify issues before they occur and prevent system failure.
Cranes and gantries frequently have grounding resulting in stray currents developing on the motor shaft. The current travel to ground through the path of least resistance, causing threading corrosion on motors and bearings. Changes to the electrical properties can be detected through vibration monitoring. Although route-based readings are better than nothing, preventing unscheduled downtime really requires 24/7 online crane motor condition monitoring.
Today’s affordable class of crane and hoist motor condition monitoring systems predictable maintenance more accessible and affordable than ever. Even with multiple versions of these types of assets at a facility, all crane motors can be monitored affordably – increasing uptime and productivity while reducing maintenance costs.