Pintsch Bubenzer: ‘Less than 10%’ of cranes in the steel sector are fitted with emergency brakes in the US

13 May 2021


Pintsch Bubenzer USA will again deliver a presentation to the Association for Iron & Steel Technology (AIST) Crane Symposium at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from August 15-17.


Pintsch Bubenzer USA, a manufacturer of disc and drum brakes for steel cranes and other severe duty applications, is familiar to symposium delegates, having presented two years ago on, ‘Crane emergency brakes in critical lift applications’.  

The symposium, organized by AIST’s Cranes Technology Committee, delivers practical information and experiences from maintenance personnel, crane manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and engineering consultants with the sole intention of making electric overhead traveling (EOT) cranes and their runways the safest, most reliable, durable machines in the steel industry. 

Joel Cox, president; and Mike Astemborski, executive sales manager, will deliver a paper entitled, ‘Lifting or lowering a load safely after failure or incident’, at 10:30am on August 16. 

“Many accidents occur because of an oversight at the planning stages, or the lack of a sufficient lift plan. However, even with a plan in place, things can go wrong, so knowing how to lift or lower a load safely after failure or incident is very important,” said Cox. 

Large cranes are commonplace in steel mills where they can be up to 450t or more in capacity and lift ladles of molten metal that are poured into casting machines. Pintsch Bubenzer constantly campaigns for more efficient sharing of information for continued improvement of best practices.  

Steel crane owners and users have been encouraged by the manufacturer to consider the safety benefits of installing emergency brakes, for example, especially in environments where critical lifts are part of everyday life. 

According to Astemborski (pictured), “less than 10%” of cranes in the steel sector, including new ones, are fitted with emergency brakes in the United States.  

“All too often a major incident leads to an investigation that exposes the lack of an emergency brake—but then it’s too late. We need to continue our outreach campaigns and endeavors to educate steel and other professionals, so they specify emergency brakes at the earliest stage of dialog with a crane manufacturer,” he said.  

The Pintsch Bubenzer SF emergency brake acts directly on the ladle crane's drum, eliminating any chance of drivetrain failure causing a dropped load on a critical lift crane such as a hot metal or ladle crane. Typically, the brake is mounted next to the motor, allowing for multiple shafts, gears, and bearings to fail between the brake and the drum. 

“We will continue to align ourselves, and share information, with the AIST Crane Symposium, the Cranes Technology Committee, its memberships, and delegations, as we look to raise safety levels in this heavy-duty marketplace,” added Cox.