Partha Pratim Basistha
Gantry Cranes

Demand for gantry cranes in 2015 is expected to remain modest owing to ongoing tardy release of contracts resulting towards lesser offtake of newer units. However, with ongoing long-term commitment of the government to develop infrastructure projects and gradual revival of manufacturing activities, gantry crane manufacturers expect demand to improve from later part of 2015. The crane makers are looking towards taking on the forecasted fresh acquisitions, through their range of product offerings and services.

Increasing modularization of construction projects and manufacturing activities in India coupled with requirements of consistent load transfers within the manufacturing units has been resulting towards rising demand of rail mounted gantry cranes.

In recent years, the use of gantry cranes is increasing in metro railway projects primarily for two applications. In the segment casting yard – a majority of bridge and metro rail projects today use precast construction technology, where bridge or girder segments are manufactured in a yard close to the project site itself. Gantry cranes are required here for setting up the moulds, in process handling as well as loading the completed segments onto trailers for transport to the construction site. At the construction site itself – Gantry cranes are used to lift bridge segments, pier caps, bases and parapet walls from trailers and place them for final assembly. The size of these cranes varies depending on the maximum weight of the segment to be manufactured and handled, height and width of the bridge, and any limiting site conditions. Typically gantry cranes used for these applications vary from 75 MT to 150 MT.

Tushar Mehendale
However, to make the cranes adapted to varied site requirements, it needs good deal of product customization, right from designing to commissioning stage. According to Mr. Tushar Mehendale, MD, Electromech, "ElectroMech manufactures gantry cranes in single girder and double girder configurations depending on the requirement. These cranes can completely be customized for SWL, span, lifting height, speeds and class of duty depending on the application. Hoisting is through standard hoists for single girder gantry cranes. They can also be provided with multiple hoisting trolleys running on the same bridge or auxiliary hoisting mechanisms on the main trolley. Precise control of all motions is achieved through variable frequency drives. The power supply is done through a cable reeling drum or through an on-board generator for outdoor gantry cranes depending on the site requirement."

With profit margins still under pressure resulting towards stretched balance sheets, construction companies find it difficult to invest on fresh assets. It needs a call for reconfiguration of the cranes involved in lifting jobs. Gantry crane makers want solutions for the same.

Despatch Goliath Crane
Electromech through its fully owned subsidiary, Cranedge, has been providing modification support services to make the cranes suitable for newer applications. Mr. Mehendale mentions, "For construction companies, it is the norm to write off the cost of their capital equipment such as cranes in a single project. This, however, directly affects the profitability of the project. Conversely, being able to reuse their cranes for another project offers a huge advantage in terms of profitability, a scenario where several of ElectroMech's construction clients are able to benefit from."

Electromech recently modified the rail mounted gantry cranes for its client Soma which was awarded the second phase of Kochi metro Rail Project involving construction of stations from Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to Ernakulam South. To make the cranes adaptable to job site requirements, two cranes were modified by Cranedge. The first one was modified from the original span of 20m to the new span of 28m for handling the entire process from laying of outer and inner moulds, handling the manufactured components and storage of finished products. The cranes for the second bay were modified from existing 120MT, 22m span gantry cranes to 80MT, 32m span gantry cranes with 10m height of lifting. The modifications included the change of span of the girders and modification of the existing trolley to support a load of 80MT.

Mr. Mehendale informs, "These cranes were originally manufactured by ElectroMech and were supplied to Soma during 2008-09 respectively. By modifying and reusing the cranes, Soma was able to save nearly Rs.35 million in capital costs. In addition, they saved time, ensured safety, and enhanced life of their equipment and most importantly, enjoyed higher productivity due to correctly configured cranes."

ANUPAM TG Hall EOT Crane

Mr. Parikh, GM Marketing, Anupam Industries limited, says, "We design our rail mounted gantry cranes by closely studying the client's present and future lifting requirements. We have gantry cranes on offer between 5-500 tons and span between 25-50 meters, making the cranes suitable for construction and manufacturing sectors, notably heavy engineering sectors like ship building."

He adds, "The prominent technical attributes of our cranes are their lower cost of operations due to open winch design as opposed to hoist design. The former is mounted with separate gear box, motors and brakes. In case of an individual equipment failure, it can be released and rectified. This is in contrast to compact hoist design, where, in case of failure of individual equipment, the entire module will have to be opened. The cranes are designed to function in high temperature from 45-55 degrees. To enable the cranes perform at high temperatures, they are equipped with ‘Totally Enclosed Sand Cooling Systems."

Anupam manufactures gantry cranes using its own design. The Gujarat based crane manufacturing major makes its own gear boxes whereas it sources motors and brakes from Siemens and Galvi of Italy. It has supplied gantry cranes between 75-125 tons for lifting precast sections to Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai Metro railway projects.

Terex Demag is looking forward to take on the forecasted demand through its range of gantry cranes offerings between 30 Ton - 40 Ton span upto 20 to 24 metre and 60 ton to 80 ton spans upto 24 to 28 metre. The gantry cranes are suitable for handling pre-cast segment, handling spines and wings of flyover bridges, muck handling for metro rail projects.

Demag Zamil Factory

According to Mr. Adarsh Hegde, Terex Demag, "There are numerous competitive technical attributes of our gantry cranes that make them stable, rugged, reliable and safe to operate. This includes, slimmer and modular construction, specially designed structures for outdoor conditions like resisting wind forces and sustaining impact of weather on structures. Safety features include human proximity sensors, anti-collision device, overload protection device, threshold wind speed detection."

He mentions, "We can substantially accommodate alteration requirements for capacities, spans and speeds within permissible limits to adapt the crane to changing applications. To have required stability and synchronization, crane control drives on either crane to be used in tandem are synchronized using wired or wireless technology. This is used in such a way that one of the two cranes can act as master whereas the second one can follow the instruction without human intervention."

The company has supplied rail mounted gantry cranes to L&T ECC, Hyderabad Metro project, Afcons infrastructure (6 cranes in bridge application).

The demand potential for rail mounted gantry cranes will remain same. However, it will be pertinent for OEMs to accurately understand the requirements of the end users and back up sustained technical support for the products across its life cycle.
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