Lift Systems provides EOT alternative16 September 2002
A transport operator in the USA has opted for a hydraulic gantry system in preference to an overhead travelling crane.
Keen Transport needed an overhead crane for its load out facility in Decatur, Illinois. Keen's customer, Caterpillar, uses the railways to ship large truck components which weigh up to 77t. A crane was needed to transfer components from transport trailers to rail cars.
An overhead crane large enough would have been prohibitively expensive, Keen decided, and looked instead at a hydraulic gantry system. 4 Point Lift Systems of Moline, Illinois proposed a system that travels the length of the building on runway tracks embedded in the floor, lifts loads from Keen's trailer, trolleys the piece over to the rail car and sets it in place.
A 127t (140 US ton) capacity Lift Systems hydraulic gantry was selected. The power unit attaches to one of the lifting units and rides with the system on the runway track. The operator sits at the control console on the power unit. A spreader beam on the trolley system enables pieces of different widths to be lifted. The distance between the lifting units can be adjusted for varying lengths of the loads. The vertical extension of the lifting units accommodates lifting loads from the transport trailer and lowering them to the railcar deck. The system has now been in service for several months and, according to Keen's supervisor Chris Merris, it "allows us to exceed our original expectations in the number of railcars we can load in a day".