Given the dearth of any specialized agencies in India to undertake repairs & rehabilitation of cranes; manufacturers and components suppliers can play a vital role by offering their services in the hitherto untapped highly potential crane repair market. P.P. Basistha takes a look.

Crane Repair Rehabilitation
Crane repair & rehabilitation market in India remains highly fragmented and unorganized. The status has continued to be the same, even with larger proliferation of advanced hydraulic mobile and crawler cranes, featuring highly advanced electronic controls, either procured newly or used ones. With dearth of specialized agencies to undertake overhauling and repairing of these equipment, procured through colossal investments, as like the advanced markets, owners have been undertaking repairs through their own in-house arrangements.

Though thoroughly equipped with the knowledge on the application orientation of the cranes, operation and lifting capabilities, the initiative has made the owners, representing both the rental agencies and corporate the cranes, to operate and perform their required lifting tasks. However, the issue of optimization of the equipment, getting out the total lifecycle costs, based on the large procurement costs and overall safe performance, remains an issue of debate and controversy.

Mobile Crane Reapair
Having said this, there is sufficient scope for OEMs and components suppliers, especially those dealing with the critical ones to intervene for necessary value addition. This is more so, given the fact, lighter and medium capacity mobile cranes are subjected to heavy abuses while erection, causing the booms to bend at frequent intervals.

Boom repairing is a major area where OEMs can make their necessary interventions. Boom bending is very common in India due to sudden jerks and also due to operators bypassing the load chart given by the OEMs for making the cranes to handle heavier loads, thereby seriously compromising the stability of the cranes. Owners try to repair this at their end through the required welding and heat treatment. Nonetheless, their remains scope for making the repairs more qualitative. In case of irreparable damage, the boom is replaced through costly imports.

Quality Repairs

Tower Crane Reapair
Appropriate and quality repairs hold strong basis. This is given the fact that majority of the rental companies and corporate owning heavier capacity cranes are now increasingly looking to attain specialization in the lifting capabilities of their cranes. This is to make the cranes deploy in complex jobs to get higher rental margins. This is evident given the large scale deployment of the cranes in present nature of complex refinery jobs, where the cranes are doing tandem lifting for heavier sections, resulting of transfer of heavier loads in the booms.

Participation in repairs of the counterweight, the super lift counterweight and the turntables both of gears and bearing origin is another vital area that can also be made by the manufacturers and their vendors. Intervention can also be made for repairing the filters, axles, tracks, and outriggers. Repairs of hydraulic cylinders is a major area for components suppliers to ensure the appropriate pressure setting based on the loads to be lifted.

One of the major segments necessitating quality repair is both the prime mover engines and the supporting engines. There have been initiatives by power pack manufacturers to undertake condition monitoring of the engines at site along with complete remanufacturing in some cases. The process needs to be carried forward identifying newer areas which will bring value to the machinery. This is because, appropriate repairs will surely extend the lifecycle of the cranes.

Supporting Solutions

Liebherr Maritime Cranes Maintenance Repair
Total life cycle of the cranes through proper repairs & rehabilitation can also be obtained through supporting solutions. This will ensure higher availability and safe working of the cranes. Initiatives taken in this direction are new tower crane camera systems from Everest Engineering. The camera can be installed on the trolley of the tower cranes, enabling the operator to have better view of the hook & ground conditions up to a depth of 600m. Everest provides anti collision device as tower cranes supporting solutions.

Specialty wire ropes is also another vital solution, given the higher loads to be lifted by the cranes. One of the well-known manufacturers of wire rope is verope, which is a Switzerland-based entity and has found growing acceptance of its premium superior quality wire ropes, being manufactured using high grade steel from Nippon Steel of Japan. According to the company, "The steel gives longer life to the cranes while also delivering higher equipment availability with negligible damage, as compared to other conventional cheaper quality wire ropes available locally. verope ropes are adaptable to varied weather and tough working conditions. Durability of the wire ropes as compared to the general wire ropes are characterized by high structural stability, resistance to abrasion, high breaking strength which goes on to increase the life of the cranes, without making the crane owner incur recurring expenditure towards replacing the ropes across the life cycle of the equipment."

However, the benefits of the supporting solutions can be optimally achieved with appropriate data sharing between the crane owners and the solution providers on aspects like functioning of the cranes, working condition and most vitally running hours. This will ensure availability of the right solutions by the OEMs and component manufacturers ensuring higher availability of the cranes.
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