Cable carrier keeps winch truck turning

1 December 2011

Aiming to produce cranes easily integrated into customers’ automated process lines to create the ‘ideal factory’, crane manufacturer CO.MAS turned to German firm KabelSchlepp to provide high-performance cable carrier systems.

Although a small company with a workforce of roughly 50 people, CO.MAS has become a wellknown name in the lifting equipment sector, especially for its EOT and trestle crane products.

Originally founded nearly three decades ago in Castagnole in Italy’s Treviso province, in its initial years of business the company concentrated on producing maintenance equipment and selling machines made by other crane manufacturers.

Over the years, increasing demands from its customer base led CO.MAS to start producing its own cranes, and even as a small firm it found that paying attention to the market for high quality custom crane products helped it to establish an impressive reputation in the Italian crane market.

With both its service and production branch focused on serving customers in the metalwork and prefabrication sectors, CO.MAS is now experienced in tailoring its solutions to the needs of each application.

For a recent project, the firm was contracted to provide a winch truck with the ability to move freely through 360° while seated on the girders of a bridge crane destined for a steel mill.

As the production process required the crane to handle materials at several different points, its components had to be selected with care to ensure they were of the right dimensions to be accommodated at each stage, all the way to loading of the final product for transport.

For CO.MAS’s managing director Simon Carrer, this approach is nothing new, and is indeed vital for providing products suitable for well-integrated and efficient production lines.

“Lifting machines should be seen in the same way as other production machines,” says Carrer, “that is as active parts of the production cycle. By assessing the entire process more carefully, it is often possible to make a purchase that allows better working time margins, and subsequently better profits, as well as keeping down time to a minimum.

“When one thinks of a crane one imagines a product that is not technologically advanced, and in fact this is the case. Advanced automation, which is also included in our machines, is linked mainly to the operator. In general it is a pretty simple product, which must perform a simple task.”

As is typical of CO.MAS products, the 25t capacity crane, consisting of two 12.5t hoists on each girder, will be required for heavy duty operation and expected to perform reliably without costly downtime resulting from equipment failures.

Carrer adds: “We don't make machines that lift huge loads only once in a while. Our machines guarantee a high frequency of operations without problems.”

Built to class A8 M8 (5m) in accordance with the FEM 1001 and 9511 European classification for lifting equipment, the firm believes the crane to be more than capable of enduring a high number of cycles while only periodically requiring minor maintenance work.

To ensure the winch truck had its full range of movement, a suitable cable carrier system was needed that could provide power without restricting movement and reduce wear on the collected cables.

“Before deciding, we carefully evaluated several samples of chains from other manufacturers,” explains Carrer. “The deciding factor, given the type of high-performance machine on which it is installed, was the strength, which was substantially higher than the one of all other tested samples.”

For these reasons CO.MAS chose the KabelSchlepp Totaltrax system, using a rotating system where an MC1250 cable carrier, with frame stays along its 4m length and an internal height of 168mm, was installed on its side.

The pre-installed Series 700 cables runs inside a custom-made circular guide channel designed to reduce wear, complete with dividers, sliding pads and specially designed spacers. The chain has a bend radius of 1350mm to allow its movement in a simple circular channel, even with its high load capacity. Tensile and thrust forces are maximized using an optimised link design.

Established in 1953, KabelSchlepp believes that the Totaltrax system is an ideal way to guarantee the level of flexibility needed to integrate power management systems quickly and easily.

For a number of years it has offered the system with pre-assembled cable carriers with a wide choice of steel, plastic or hybrid materials for compartment layout, together with connectors, cables and other components.

The firm says that its M series cable carriers are multivariable, with a choice of nylon sidebands and aluminium frame stays as required, and robust for use in even the harshest of environments.

The chains themselves feature an enclosed stop system with easy to use locking bolts making extension and shortening of the chain quick and easy, as well as being easy to open from the inside or outside for cable laying during assembly and maintenance.