Aircraft construction specialists Premium Aerotec has installed two Demag V-type cranes from Terex Material Handling for to aid the manufacturing and transporting aluminium skin panels that are used for aircraft fuselage segments.

The cranes, which are utilised at its Nordenham, Lower Saxony facility, have spans of 24m and are each equipped with two Demag DR-Pro 1.5t rope hoists.

The systems help in the production of aluminium skin panels that form the basis for the subsequent fuselage sections. These panels are placed in autoclave moulds with stringers then bonded to them before a vacuum film is applied. According to the company, this is then followed by a bonding process, which takes place in special pressure-tight kilns, which are called autoclaves.

Premium Aerotec leverages overhead handling equipment to lift individual component carriers with the fuselage sections into the autoclaves, and to transport them to an ultrasonic test facility after the bonding process.

According to Andreas Voge, who is responsible for assembly system factory planning at Premium Aerotec, says the previous double-girder overhead travelling crane had box-section girders and was equipped with four 1.1 t hoist units

"Since the loads that this crane had to lift several times every day weighed around 4.1 tons, we were always working close to the limit", explains Voge.

The Demag V-type crane technology satisfied all of the client’s conditions, namely that the new cranes exceed the deadweight of the existing crane due to the load-bearing capacity of the building structure.

Voge adds: "By using two cranes, we have gained more flexibility. The cranes can also perform various transport tasks along the 115 m-long crane runway. However, they are still mainly used to serve the autoclaves. To do this, both cranes work in tandem and the four hoist units operate under synchronised control."

Fred Maas, materials handling equipment supplied coordinator of external vendors at Premium Aerotec adds: "Thanks to the V-type crane’s reduced oscillation characteristics, the jigs can be picked up and deposited in a more controlled way.

"Simple switch-over to tandem operation as well as the possibility to position components gently and carefully resulted in swift acceptance of the new cranes by our crane operators."