On a job walk with an on an off customer of mine was telling me how he purchased an overhead bridge crane from his other crane vendor. He went on to tell me how as this new bridge goes down the runway it makes a lot of banging and popping noises. I asked if I could listen and as I watched this crane go down the runway I noticed that at several points in the runway where the runway beams connected is where the crane was making the popping noises. I asked for a manlift, I harnessed up and checked out the runway connection. I noticed that the runway beams height different from one beam to the next was close to ½ inch. This also caused the runway rail to not touch the runway for over a foot. This is what was causing all that racket. Not only does this cause the crane to make a ton of noise down the runway, even worse it causes premature wear on the rail and crane wheels.
It is important when you are purchasing a bridge crane to ensure that whoever is installing the bridge crane and rail is installing according to ASCE requirements. The requirements are quite simple for a crane installer to follow. Typically, your problem comes in when you are using a different vendor for the runway and the bridge crane. If the runway installer is not an overhead bridge crane company, they may not know the ASCE requirements and the runway will be completely out of tolerance. That extra cost of having the overhead crane vendor to manufacture and install the runway typically will pay for itself over the life of the crane system. An out of aligned runway could cost you thousands not including down time to repair wheel, and rail replacement.
Be sure to talk to your crane vendor runway alignment. If you are having a steel building manufacturer install your rail be sure to discuss the below alignment requirements with them or even better pick a steel building manufacturer that is partnered with a crane company.
If you used a company that is not partnered with a crane company and have doubts about the rail aligment it is highly suggested to get a runway survey conducted prior to the crane installation.
For more information on rail alignment be sure to check out my other blog post that goes much further in depth on rail alignment.