Thursday, April 19, 2012

Konecranes AIRGO Lunch & Learn Thursday April 26th

You're invited to this one time only event! 
Come and see one of the newest Konecranes products!


The Konecranes AIRGO

If you missed the WESTEC trade show then now is your chance to see it again!

When: Thursday, April 26th 2012 from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM
What: See the new Airgo fully assembled with moveable base, and get some hands on use of the air balancer, when you are done grab a free lunch!

R.S.V.P by Wednesday April 25th Noon

Just send email to Matt Tallman with the company name and number of people attending!

Konecranes airbalancers and manipulators offer a wide range of standard and optional features for lifting control. With the high-precision BaseLoad feature, attached grabs of any weight are always kept floating and balanced. This visualization shows the functional difference of a pick and place application, first without and then with BaseLoad feature. 
Konecranes recommends using the BaseLoad feature when a grab has to be attached sideways to a load or if a sensitive load cannot suspend the dead weight of the grab

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bridge Cranes and Hoist Duty Cycles by Guest Blogger Richard Wehrmeister

This week is The LeCrane Chronicles first Bi-Monthly! I want to start the first one with a highly reputable guest blogger. This month I am pleased to have a post from Richard Wehrmeister. Mr. Wehrmeister is the General Manager of AdvancedOverhead Crane out of Houston Texas. Advanced Overhead Crane has been in busy for many years and is highly respected in the Texas area.

I was scrolling through my LinkedIn groups the other day and I came across this post regarding the duty cycles of electric motors. I had thought this gentleman had brought up a good point. Why won’t bridge crane manufacturers label their cranes with the designed duty cycle? Just because you have a H4 duty bridge motors does not mean your trolley is H4 or the duty cycle of the crane itself an H4 rated crane system. It would be beneficial to know what the crane was designed for regardless of the duty cycle of each individual motor on the crane. The hoisting mechanism is an integral part of the crane. Therefore the duty cycle of the hoist should be the same for the crane correct? You would think so, however this is not always the case. So if the manufacture labeled the crane with an overall duty rating, it would help in the future of the crane with decisions for certain retro-fits, and also an increase of crane usage. Lets hear what Richard had to say about this topic…..

Bridge Crane and Hoist Duty Cycles by author: Richard Wehrmeister

For quite some time I have been an advocate of having all manufacturer’s adding the duty cycle designation to both the hoist and the bridge crane nameplate. My reasoning for this is it allows the bridge crane inspector to analyze the actual duty cycle as operated to the manufacturer’s designed duty cycle. It is not unusual to find equipment that is being used beyond the manufacturers designed duty cycle.

Situations that have come up:
• Equipment was sold for one application and over time the application changed to a more strenuous duty cycle.
• Equipment sold did not meet the application requirements from the start.

To give a couple of examples:
• A number of years back we sold a class C crane with a class H3 hoist. The crane was going to be used in a testing lab. The crane/hoist was only being used 3-4 times a day under capacity load. We were trying to save the customers a few dollars with the H3 hoist. Big mistake, after a couple of years the lab was gone and the crane/hoist became a production crane/hoist. While the crane is working trouble free for the operation the H3 hoist would not hold up. In other words the hoist had on going problems with both the mechanical load brake and the hoist motor brake up until we change out the hoist to a H4 classification.
• Not long ago we were asked for a second opinion involving a hoist. When looking at the hoist from the floor, I remarked that it looked like a brand new hoist with the gear cover off. The customer said that the hoist was a few weeks old. I started to question the customer about the application and I noticed a very large lifting magnet sitting at the other end of the shop and looking back up at the hoist I saw a cord reel. Of course my question to the owner was how often did they use the magnet and did they leave the magnet hanging on the hook during a normal shift. This magnet was about the size of a scrap yard magnet and for those of you familiar, they are very heavy. Once I received my answer I told him that the hoist would not work in this application unless he wanted to rebuild the mechanical load brake every few weeks. He was upset and of course I asked him if he addressed the hoist application with the supplier before ordering the hoist. Note: The lifting magnet far exceeded the maximum weight requirements allowed by the manufacturer for a below the hook device on this particular hoist.

The duty service classifications for hoists are listed In ASME HST Performance Standards. ASME lists five duty classifications H1, H2, H3, H4 and H5.

The duty classifications for bridge cranes are listed In CMAA 70 and 74. CMAA lists six duty classifications A, B, C, D, E and F.

Both ASME and CMAA define each classification according to loading groups and the service conditions as close as possible, taking into account the speed, load and quantity of lifts in a time frame.
Getting back to my first paragraph I believe this is a topic that both ASME and CMAA should address when Regulations and Specifications become due for rewrite. A simple change to a name plate is a very small cost when we’re only talking about adding a couple digits to a name plate however the only way these changes can get done is to get more crane inspectors, manufacturers and associations involved in advocating change. You comments would be appreciated.


What do you think about this?
Do you feel that adding the duty rating to the crane will be a benefit for the manufacturer or owner? 
Please share your thoughts on this subject.


Calvin LeClair is a representative of Koneranes, A global overhead crane and hoist service company and manufacturer.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Your Overhead Crane Inspection Report

Often when I go and visit prospects, or new customers I find one thing in common that they are all lacking. Paperwork. It typically doesn’t matter what competitor they are using, they rarely have sufficient paperwork that provides proof of inspections, and or proof of an inspection program that has been performed on a continuing basis. Typically they have several manila folders in a couple different places in their office that has a few service reports and other folders that have crane manuals at best. Then the actual report for the inspection sometimes cannot even be found. If it can, many times it is incomplete, or it is not comprehensive enough to even tell you what the inspector inspected on the crane. A pass or fail for an inspection is just not enough to inform you of your crane issues nor will it keep you compliant. An established paper trail will prevent huge OSHA fines if any accidents were to happen. Companies are fined after major accidents and if they had a paper trail showing they were taking the necessary steps to stay in compliance and keep their facility safe for their workers then the fines would have been nothing near what they received. Let me give you a couple examples of OSHA fines and then I will talk about what is out there on the market for your inspection paperwork.

The first two examples are from an OSHA inspection sweep that was conducted on several companies that had a track record for injured employees. The last one was from a company that had a bad track record of accidents as well but the inspection was conducted because of a related accident.

1. Last year a steel fab shop in Alabama was targeted for an OSHA inspection, not because they had an accident, but because they were targeted for having a higher than average injury and illness rate. They found several serious violations during this walkthrough. Fines totaled $48,510.00. Two of the fines were crane related. They had no inspection records, and someone had welded the hook and no load test was ever conducted.

2. In September of last year Stowe Woodward was fined for similar violations with the same consequences. $49,000 in fines. No frequent crane inspections were ever performed. This is a place that had machinery related fatalities in 1999 and in 2005. I can’t believe after a history like that, a company would not take safety as their number one priority.

3.One of the biggest fines I have ever seen was in Michigan at V&S Detroit Galvanizing in 2009. They were fined a total of $245,000. What struck me was that many were crane related. A $70,000 penalty was charged for moving a rack with a crane over the head of a maintenance employee. Another 70k penalty was charged when the inspector saw the same thing again, only this time they were moving the rack over the employees who were loading the racks below. They were penalized for two additional crane violations, a $7,000 fine for not having an audible warning device on overhead cranes and a $7,000 fine for not performing daily and periodic inspection of overhead cranes.These were all numerous violations that can be found in the state of Michigan’s General Industry Safety Standard, Part 18, Overhead and Gantry Cranes. You can read on more OSHA fines and enforcement information at

Go back and look at your inspection paperwork and ask yourself these ten questions..

1. Was it easy to find?
2. Is it up to date?
3. Does it include all your hoisting equipment in your facility?
4. Do you understand the discrepancies?
5. Do you know what your safety items are?
6. Do you know what crane components were inspected?
7. Do you know what crane components were not inspected?
8. Do you know what the priorities are of the discrepancies found?
9. Do you know if any of those items were repaired?
10. Do you know the investment involved to repair those items?

So, how did you do? Are you comfortable with the reports you currently have? If you answered yes to all ten questions then you have an inspection report that far surpasses most in the industry. You are one step ahead and are taking the necessary steps to keep your employees safe and your company in compliance. Great Job!

If you answered “no” to several of these questions then please take a look at what is available to you from Konecranes. The Konecranes MAINMAN inspection report  is comprehensive and not only will you be able to answer yes to all these questions, you will have much more. With the MAINMAN maintenance report, you will have….

1. A complete equipment list of all your overhead cranes.

2. A condition summary where Konecranes will rate your overhead cranes on a scale from zero to a hundred so you know which cranes should be focused on during the repair process.

3. The MAINMAN will take that one step further and will create a Planning Overview. This will list how many components were inspected on each overhead crane or hoist. The report will then list out of those components, how many had safety related issues, and how many had production issues. This is a great report that will help you organize your repairs once the inspection has been completed.

4. A Work Order follows that list all discrepancies by priority and the condition of each component. This is also the sheet that the crane technician will sign off once the repair of the component has been completed. This will be an important tool for you to tell which component has been repaired and which one still needs to be scheduled.

5. In the Quote section you will get an itemized quote that list the cost for labor and parts for each component requiring repair or replacement.

6. Business Review is provided annually or upon request to show you to total annual investment. This is like a report card. This will help gauge our partnership ensuring that your overhead crane investment is being invested in the right way. Expenses are broken down by inspections, repairs, breakdowns, modernizations, new equipment, training, safety deficiencies, and an equipment score for each piece of equipment. This helps optimize the maintenance schedule reducing your overall investment.

7. Last will be the Condition Detail. This section list every component inspected on your crane regardless of the condition. It is color coded for easy glance so you can just go to the components that have an issue. This section also satisfies your requirements from OSHA keeping you in compliance.

All of these pages come bound together so the pages do not get lost and there is no need for various folders. You will get one book for every annual and quarterly inspection. The quarterly inspection booklet is not as in depth as the annual but still will list the vital information. This information will also all be provided on the Konecranes website

When choosing your overhead crane inspection company ask about their inspection paperwork. Make sure you know what you are getting for proof of inspection. These reports are vital to keeping you compliant and your employees safe.

So, what kind of inspection paperwork do you have for your overhead cranes? Are you comfortable with what you have? What would you like to see in your inspection paperwork?