04 March 2008
The overhead cranes field is characterised by a growing demand for technological innovation to meet the increasingly specialist demands of the market. Manufacturers of high-tech products are taking advantage of the situation and exploiting the opportunities in the international market through expansion. They are also developing the supply and demand relationship between themselves and their customers.
Manufacturers of special cranes have found an invaluable ally in internationalisation against the domestic business cycles that this sector regularly faces. In this respect international orders help to cope with fluctuations that every company, operating on a custom-made basis, experiences sooner or later.
The steel industry is one of the most profitable fields but it is also a business where technological knowledge is a trade barrier. It is also an area where reliability does not allow for any compromise.
Meloni Techno Handling has been aware of this trend for some time and has achieved success in the export of special cranes with high technological content.
The company has recently developed an overhead crane both for the charging and teeming processes in steel production, which allows the operator to change the centre-to-centre distance between the lamellar hooks so that the crane can hoist with a ladle or a bucket.
The crane is at steel manufacturer ALPA (Aciéries et Laminoirs de Paris) in France, part of the RIVA group.
The RIVA group consists of several companies operating in the iron and steel production industry and is the market leader in Italy, third in Europe and tenth in the world. It owns 38 plants worldwide, which cover all stages of steel processing, from raw production to the manufacture of coated products and special finishes.
The overhead crane supplied by Meloni features a full-circle slewing bearing where the lamellar hooks are fixed to work as a charging crane for the continuous casting tower. It comes with two main winches and a hoist in M8 and A8 classes, with lifting capacities of 130, 40 and 8 tonnes respectively. Lifting speed is 8m/min for the main winches and 13m/m for the auxiliary hoist.
The crane is designed to work in temperatures up to 60 degrees centigrade found in steel processing and has air conditioning in the operator cab and in the electrical cabinets.
Instead of a large drum with emergency brakes, the crane has a double kinematic chain, which is required by French safety regulations and reduces the dimension of the winches. This also creates a more efficient distribution of stresses during the loading phase.
In addition to the safety features mentioned above, it is worth noting that both the electrical and the conditioning systems have a back-up system that can be activated if there is a failure.
The processing crane segment is particularly demanding because these manufacturers have a non-stop operating cycle that relies on effective maintenance. When technical support reaches an international scale, the difficulties of assistance multiply so this is the real challenge that internationalisation hands to technological companies.