A call from the second shift with maintenance troubles shouldn’t be among the things that keep you awake at night says US company Force Control Industries.
FOR years, the cranes at a plant that manufactures telecommunications buildings would fail in the middle of the night, and the unfortunate head electrician was only a phone call away, no matter the hour of night. Since a switch to oil shear crane brakes, however, the cranes and hoists are running and, as importantly, stopping, through the night, allowing that electrician to finally get a good night’s sleep.
The structures that the plant manufactures work their way through an assembly line-like process, with components, utilities and sub-assemblies added along the way. One 7.5USt Yale and six 20USt ShawBox cranes service the various areas of the plant floor. Workers often jog the cranes forward and backward to get materials into the precise spot. While that’s convenient for the workers, the constant stopping and starting wreaked havoc with the Stearns and Dings dry brakes that were originally installed on the cranes. The disc stacks would fail, requiring hours of maintenance time. Just when one was fixed, another would go down.
“It was astronomical the amount of downtime and man-hours we were spending,” the electrician remembers.
Seemingly once a week, he would have to shut down the crane, causing a domino effect that stopped production across the facility. The cost of having a production line down for maintenance adds up quickly and takes an exponentially long time to recover from.
Once, the second shift maintenance team had been working on the crane for four hours before calling for advice (in the middle of the night). Sure enough, the team hadn’t inspected the brakes, which had failed. It didn’t take long for the plant manager to pressure the team to either find a different brake or a different hoist: anything to save the plant from the amount of downtime they were experiencing.
“Just as the plant was desperate for a solution, it came in the form of a visit from the regional sales manager of Force Control Industries. Ken Kelly visited to talk about Magna Shear Brakes, which employ oil shear technology to ensure a longer service life. The head electrician agreed to put a MagnaShear MB8 brake into service on one of the ShawBox 20USt cranes as a test. The MagnaShear worked well – and more importantly, required no service for maintenance or adjustment. Within a month, the maintenance team was convinced and rallied support from the plant manager and executive team to invest in the new brakes.
MagnaShear Brakes employ oil shear technology to ensure a longer service life.
With several brakes on seven cranes, plus additional hoist brakes, replacing the brakes outright was a significant investment. Still, the cost of the facility going down for crane maintenance was adding up even more and something had to be done.
“The next thing I knew, we were putting a Force Control Brake on every crane that we operate,” the electrician said.
“The MagnaShear worked well – and more importantly, required no service for maintenance or for adjustment.”
16 LIFT & HOIST INTERNATIONAL • LIFTANDHOIST.COM