Steil Kranarbeiten doubles up for precision lift

Tandem lifting the 23 tonne press Steil Kranarbeiten tandem lifting the 23 tonne press

Setting up a new production line in a busy German factory required a pair of skilled operators to get the best out of their cranes.

Precise lifting in a confined space was a key requirement on this press installation project by specialist contractor Steil Kranarbeiten. A pair of Tadano city class mobile cranes were chosen for their precision movement capability.

Grating manufacturer Meiser needed a 23 tonne press to be relocated inside its factory which had confined spaces and low ceilings. Steil chose to use two 45 tonne capacity AC 3.045-1 City models lifting in tandem. Manoeuvring inside the factory was made that much easier thanks to the three axle cranes’ compact dimensions and their fully automatic transmissions.

Positioning the cranes

Early on a cold, wet day in February, the two cranes passed through the Meiser factory gates and Markus Blum, Steil project manager, directed them into the production hall. The drivers had to manoeuvre slowly and carefully through the building, negotiating forklift traffic, people, production machinery and materials.

Lars Stephany, Steil crane operator, commented, “It’s really tight here. You have to move very carefully through the narrow aisles and around the corners.” The automatic transmissions allowed the cranes to be manoeuvred very smoothly, he said.

In just under half an hour both cranes were positioned and set up ready for their first tandem lift. It was helpful to be able to use the cranes’ IC-1 Plus control system allowing infinite adjustment of the outrigger extension to maximise use of the available space.

In tandem the two cranes lifted the 23 tonne load out of the press cellar and placed it onto a heavy duty tractor. Markus Blum then drove the tractor carrying the press to its new location. The two cranes lifted the press, turned it in the air and positioned it above the press cellar. Carefully and slowly the two operators lowered the press into its new position. In about three hours the operation was completed, the cranes were de-rigged and ready to move on to their next job.

Work experience

As a taxi crane the AC 3.045-1 City can work several jobs a day, inside buildings, along narrow city streets or on construction sites. “They are compact and easy to operate, quick to set up and incredibly versatile,” said Blum.

Often moving at slow speed, these mobile cranes can be subjected to repeated starts from stationary, often on rough ground. This type of activity puts strain on a crane with a conventional manual gearbox and dry plate clutch, contributing to rapid wear, heat generation and even burnout.

To avoid this problem the AC 3.045-1 has a 3000 series Allison fully automatic transmission with a torque converter instead of a dry plate clutch. In addition to acting as hydraulic clutch the torque converter multiplies torque and maximises engine output.

“The transmission’s torque converter makes the crane easy to handle. You can feel that the engine is always at full power. Moving with a load is also great. There’s no swinging and no swaying on the hook,” Blum explained.

“We need vehicles that are robust, reliable and economical,” said Frank Nicklas, Steil branch manager. “We can’t afford downtime and high maintenance costs. We have been using these cranes for over 20 years, first the predecessor model AC 40 and now the three AC 45s.”

Steil Kranarbeiten is a family business founded in 1924. It is the biggest crane company in the Saarland, Lorraine and Luxembourg region. It has more than 100 cranes, from small pick and carry types through to 800 tonne lattice boom cranes. Heavy haulage and recovery services are also available.

pair of yellow Tadano City cranes in the snow The AC 3.045-1 City has an overall length of 8.68 metres, is 2.55 metres wide and stands at 3.18 metres. Power is from a 260 kW six-cylinder OM 936 MTU diesel driving through an Allison 3500 Specialty Series (SP) automatic transmission

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