Left unattended to, runway alignment issues can reduce the service life of a crane, meaning these ultra-reliable lifting devices aren’t delivering their maximum value.

To ensure cranes are being used to their full potential in demanding industries including manufacturing, materials handling, mining, automotive, construction, logistics, steel, waste-to-energy, Konecranes has launched its latest and most advanced RailQ runway survey.

“Konecranes RailQ Runway Survey is the safest, fastest and most accurate runway survey available. It has been designed to deliver accurate information on the alignment of a crane rail, and expert recommendations for any needed corrective actions,” said Nishant Iyer, consultation service manager (SEA), MHE-Demag (part of Konecranes Group).

RailQ can be performed on virtually any runway including those for overhead cranes, port cranes and woodyard cranes.

It is also used for aesthetic and dynamic testing, to diagnose common issues for factory cranes. In this scenario, the runway is first measured when cranes are idle, and then measured again with the crane driving behind the robot carrying a full load. The data collected shows the difference between the unloaded and loaded situation of the runway.

“In many cases, this test will reveal significant structural deflection of the pillar supports, as the columns sink to varying degrees when the crane is fully loaded. Konecranes’ recommendation in this situation is usually to rebuild the runway supports. But it’s important to know whether all, or only some of the supports are causing the problem,” added Iyer.

“RailQ goes beyond guesswork with an accurate and reliable system to assist with finding answers and making decisions. When you need to go to a purchasing department and make a case for an expenditure that is critical to your business, it’s important to have all the facts.

“If a crane is experiencing excessive wear on wheels and rails, has broken wheel flanges, or it requires frequent replacement of bridge couplings and axles – it’s worth taking a deeper look at rail alignment.”

Some reasons why a crane does not travel correctly on the runway include: a rail may be misaligned or worn; clips may be missing; pads may be worn or the runway structure is uneven, corrosion or improper installation.

“Cranes should travel or track along their runway rails with a minimum of skew and without binding. Improper tracking leads to premature wheel and rail wear, resulting in costly repairs and downtime, as well as inefficient and suboptimal crane operation,” said Iyer.

To further enhance the safety of a RailQ Runway Survey, Konecranes utilizes its proprietary remote-controlled robot trolley, Roborail, to assist with data collection so it’s not necessary for a human to walk the rails and take measurements manually.

“Roborail helps to minimise downtime and increase the safety of the survey. It provides information on runway span, straightness, elevation and rail-to-rail elevation,” added Iyer.

Once the robot has performed its analysis, data is fed into Konecranes’ KC Trail software, with 2D and 3D pictures of the crane’s runway alignment condition. It can generate a report and give a recommended correction (or even several correction options) at the press of a button.

“One of the major benefits of Konecranes’ RailQ service is that it’s a one-stop-shop. Instead of approaching three companies – a surveyor, an engineer, and a data analysis expert – Konecranes can do all three components and in most cases present the results within 24 hours,” said Iyer.