Driving forces

10 October 2017


Keren Fallwell looks at the motors and gearbox manufacturers powering the crane industry

Motors and gearboxes are the powerhouses of hoists and have to fulfil some demanding requirements. Frequent starting, stopping and braking, energy efficiency, corrosive environments, wet environments and cleanroom applications are just some of the factors that motor and gearbox manufacturers have to consider.

Italian company Coel Industrial Solutions has been producing brake motors for more than 40 years, manufacturing products that are suitable for any lifting operation from overhead cranes to gantry cranes “We’re able to supply a range of solutions for hoists, both for safe and hazardous locations, and integrated systems comprising a patented shafted gearbox specially designed for hoists, for example for drum mountings or wire rope hoists,” said managing director Paone Andrea.

The F series is designed for very heavy-duty cycles, quick braking action and constant braking time, while the FK motors are compact and light. The motors in the FM series are particularly robust as all components are made from cast iron. The SW series is designed for applications where the brake motor is often in contact with water, such as marine or general washdown applications. More than ten years ago Coel entered the hazardous areas market with its VIS product. VIS is a modular flameproof brake ready to be mounted on a B5 motor without the need to modify the motor. It is available with ATEX certification.

All Coel motors can be fitted with forced ventilation, which increases the performance, or an encoder. Coel exports 80% of its production to countries in Europe and Asia, as well as north America, and Andrea says customers increasingly want solutions tailored to their specific needs.

“The market is more and more asking for customised and tailored solutions for their specific requirements,” says Andrea. “Our goal is to propose a catalogue of basic product lines but this is just a starting point for the development of customised products for any kind of special need.”

Some of the tailored solutions Coel has produced include completely explosion-proof geared motors with explosion-proof limits integrated into the system; explosion-proof geared motors equipped with an additional safety brake for hoists; and stainless steel versions for corrosive environments.

The modular nature of Coel’s products enables the company to provide tailored solutions easily.

“All our systems are based on the possibility of splitting any of the components to develop a complete solution. This modularity means the client can choose between a very big range of solutions and mix and match products,” says Andrea.

This approach benefits the client further as it makes service and maintenance easier—and faster—to manage, he adds.

Another Italian manufacturer, Dana Brevini, is helping hoist manufacturers choose the right geared motor or geared unit through a newly-launched tool on its website.

The configurator provides detailed technical information across the full range of geared motor products and a range of parameters quickly identifies the most appropriate product from the range. It also allows customers to consider features such as output forces, output bearings, input radial load, motor efficiency class, and thermal power and cooling options.

Once the customer has selected the appropriate product, full technical drawings and datasheets are then available from the website.

The Dana Brevini name was created in February when Dana Incorporated bought an 80% share in the Brevini business, with an option to purchase the remaining 20% by 2020.

Turkish manufacturer I-MAK also recognises customers’ individual needs, producing tailor-made solutions and special solutions for specific industries. “We are active in a lot of different sectors and we provide specific options and features across our range of products. This can be special paint, bearings or dust protection but we also adapt our products in terms of dimensions and material, in line with our customers’ requirements,” says export manager Haffar Salim. “For example, we are very active in the theatre industry so we’re developing special noiseless gearboxes for this sector.”

I-MAK was established in 1973 and has been producing gearboxes for the hoist industry for more than 20 years. It released the latest version of its hoist gearbox two years ago. Its main market is Turkey but it also works with hoist manufacturers in more than 30 countries and sells its gearboxes to Europe, North Africa, South Africa, the Middle East and India.

Salim says I-MAK’s gearboxes are employed across a wide range of sectors but its main markets are relatively heavylifting capacities for the marble and steel industries and mid-sized port cranes. I-MAK’s IRK Series of helical bevel gear units for hoist and winch applications provides a noise-free and lowmaintenance product. It is designed for smaller hoists and the compact design also makes it suitable for smaller spaces. The IRC Series of parallel gear units for hoist drums also offers a compact design and quiet operation. It is available in five sizes and has a torque range from 800 to 13,000Nm.

The geared motors in the IRC series are designed to supply high radial loads and, to achieve this, specific bearings are placed in deeper emplacements compared to other gearboxes.

The A Series horizontal helical gear unit is aimed at heavy industrial duties and is I-MAK’s main product for large-capacity hoists of more than 40t. The gears are designed to help the prevention of noise and vibrations during long and hard operations. It has a torque range from 880 to 33,000Nm.

The parallel helical shaft gear unit YP Series is suited to complex and space limited applications. The fully reversible design of the gearbox offers a wide range of mounting positions. The gear combinations allow high loads and the options for low output speed make it suitable for many applications. It has a torque range from 200 to 13,000Nm. Salim emphasises that the most important consideration for customers is the right selection and configuration of the gearbox and motor.

“Our technical department works closely with our sales offices and end users to provide the optimal solutions in terms of selection and configuration,” he says.

Five years ago Turkish gearbox manufacturer Yilmaz Reduktor established Elk Motor to produce high-efficiency electrical motors for its gearboxes. “We are the only local manufacturing company in Turkey that can serve both products at the same time from one unique plant. It provides us with a great advantage and benefits all our customers,” says electrical engineer Alkan Demircioglu.

The motor factory, situated in Cerkezkoy in western Turkey, has an annual capacity of 1m motor pieces. At present it is producing 250,000 a year, 100,000 of which go into its gearboxes while the remainder is sold to the local and global markets.

The company also has its own die-cast plant business—Mes Dokum—which manufactures the cast bodies for the gearboxes and motors.

“At the moment we manufacture 3 phase squirrel-cage asynchronous AC motors between 71–225 frames both for the IE2 and IE3 efficiency classes. We plan to have our 280 frames, which means 90kW in 4-poles, in our product portfolio by the end of this year. 315 frames will follow early next year. This means we will shortly be able to service 200kW Elk Motor in a very short period of time,” says Demircioglu.

In addition to its standard motors, Elk Motor is able to produce AC motors for special applications.

“These special products include S3- duty motors, 8-pole 750rpm motors, Dahlander motors, crane motors with double speed, increased output motors, motors with non-standard windings for country-specific supply voltages, and 87Hz application motors,” says Demircioglu.

The factory is also capable of producing motors with additional technical features such as special shafts, IP56, IP65 and IP66, regreasing devices, an external fan, encoder, brake units, strengthened bearings and H insulation. A major focus for Elk Motor is its highefficiency IE3 AC motors. “These are a definite advantage on our customer side,” says Demircioglu.

“Energy saving has been an important topic in our market for many years and we maintain our target of our motors reaching the highest efficiency values.” This commitment is illustrated by Elk being the only local motor manufacturer to carry an IE3 Efficiency VDE Quality Certificate which, says Demircioglu, gives Elk Motor an advantage in global markets. STM Power Transmissions’ gearboxes range from 10Nm to 400,000Nm, enabling the company to offer a solution for the full spectrum of applications from small through to large hoists.

The gearbox styles include worms, parallel shaft, bevel helical, inline, planetary and slewing drive. STM caters for all speeds from 500rpm to as low as 0.005rpm for specific applications. All STM’s gearboxes feature a robust, heavy-duty design.

The RXP-E range is specifically suited to lifting where multiple inputs are required. “The RXP-E range was our latest innovation where we have standardised a range of gearboxes specifically tailored to meet the needs of customers,” says sales manager Wayne Patton.

He adds that hoist and crane manufacturers’ main requirement is for a high quality, competitively priced product that is able to meet some of the arduous demands of the lifting industry.

“This could be large starting torque capacity to allow for overload/ high starting torque requirements, specialist surface finishes to ensure the drive system is protected against the elements, usually in salt water environments, through to specialised gearboxes with multiple inputs to allow for the gearbox to be driven by electrical motors/hydraulic motors and air motors, depending on the demands of the situation,” says Patton.

In the lifting sector, German motor manufacturer Menzel Elektromotoren produces motors mainly for large overhead factory cranes. Typical powers range from 20 to 800kW, usually for 50t to 1,000t cranes.

The company, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, supplies motors around with world, with markets outside Europe accounting for 70% of sales.

“We regularly work between 200 and 5,000kW, but also larger powers. Usually we’re involved in crane motors with very high capacity or replacement of old crane motors, often slip ring or DC crane motors of large capacities,” says managing director Mathis Menzel, who represents the third generation in the family business.

Customers are often looking for mechanical and electrical interchangeable motors to replace existing equipment that is at the end of its life, say Menzel.

The company has also developed IE4 high-efficiency models, as well as motors for the demanding environment of steel works. The motors are designed for anambient temperature of 80 C and the entire construction is robust in order to resist the extreme environment above a furnace.

Generally, however, customers are looking for proven reliability and do not demand new technologies.

“Our customers mainly focus on reliability and proven solutions and do not way any ‘experiments’,” says Menzel. The company also has a large electric motor test facility, which can provide motor checks up to 13.8kV. Situated at the company’s Berlin headquarters, the facility offers routine checks, type tests and system checks, including for external customers and brands. The equipment includes a 6kV converter, rotary converters for all normal voltages from 3 to 3.8kV, and load resistors and enables Menzel to carry out load tests and break down torque, as well as efficiency tests and system tests.

Menzel supplied a German maintenance planning company with two slip ring motors, which work as a tandem lifting unit of a larger crane. They replaced older motors that had been running for nearly 40 years. The limited space on the crane meant the new motors had to be fully dimensionally and electrically interchangeable.
Following the successful delivery and commissioning of two DC motors to a gold mine in Africa, Menzel Elektromotoren received an order for a hoist drive motor. It supplied SiemagM-Tec2 with an 11t motor with rated power of 1,603kW.
A parallel shaft helical gearbox from Dana Brevini. The company has launched an online configurator to help customers choose the right gear motor or geared unit for their needs
Elk Motor’s factory in Cerkezkoy in Turkey produces 250,000 pieces a year.
I-MAK’s A Series horizontal helical gear units are built for heavy industrial duties and the gears are designed to help the prevention of noise and vibration
Coel Industrial Solutions’ VIS explosionproof brake