Steel maker upgrades overhead cranes in US30 November 2022
International steel manufacturer the Valbruna Group has 2,500 employees and produces approximately 250,000 tons of specialty steels annually, with a primary focus on stainless steels and specialty alloys.
As part of its investment in continuous improvement, the company says it is constantly updating its production capabilities. At its Valbruna Slater Stainless Inc. (VSSI) production facility in Indiana, US, this has included upgrading overhead cranes, which are used to move finished goods and raw materials for stainless steel processing.
The company wanted to replace two older, DC-powered cranes with more powerful AC cranes, but retain the existing bridge structure. The older cranes had become unreliable, and the hoists were heavy compared to more modern solutions. Getting new cranes to work on the current bridge would ensure that the upgrade was cost-effective.
VSSI turned to Hoosier Crane Service – a family-owned business that provides overhead crane material handling solutions throughout the US – to implement the solution.
The older DC cranes were each equipped with 20-ton and 7.0-ton dual hoists on one trolley. Hoosier Crane’s original plan was to keep a centre line bridge drive motor on both but replace the DC motors with larger AC motors. However, it concluded that the more viable solution was side-mounted gearboxes with motors, sourced from SEW-EuroDrive.
Hoosier Crane also removed the two existing hoists and replaced them with two new R&M 10-ton hoists, which were installed on a new ASCE rail. The new hoists are one-third of the weight of the old ones.
Using the R&M 10-ton hoists, Hoosier Crane was able to deploy a more reliable, lightweight and modern system without replacing the bridges.
Patrick Hilger, engineering and maintenance manager at VSSI, says: “Hoosier Crane has been a reliable service vendor for Valbruna for years. We were looking for a reliable, cost-effective solution that could still be designed to fit on the existing bridge structure. Using the existing bridge structure saved cost on install and material.”
Derek Bukrajewski, drector of service for Hoosier Crane, adds: “R&M has always been a reliable option in the past. In this case, it fitted the footprint for what both Hoosier Crane and the customer were trying to accomplish.”
Hoosier Crane is headquartered in Indiana, US. It was founded by Tom and Cherie Schmidt and has grown from four employees to approximately 100 over the past 20 years.