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How Cranes and Hoists Can Benefit from Condition Monitoring


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.

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.

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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 condition monitoring.

Today’s affordable class of 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.