A raft of contract awards to Morris Material Handling Inc indicates both a continuing revival for the company after a troubled recent history and an upturn in the North American overhead crane market.

In February/March Morris is delivering five cranes to Oldcastle Precast, a supplier and manufacturer of precast concrete building systems and components,for a new facility in Towson, Maryland, USA. Morris’s Western Canada operation, Kaverit, has designed and built a one-off truss girder portal gantry crane with a lifting capacity of 25 US ton (22.7t), and a span of 120ft (36.6m),with a single 45ft (13.7m) cantilever. The other four cranes, two 25 US ton and two 15 US ton (13.6t) SWL cranes, have been built at Morris’ Franklin, Ohio plant.

An order worth more than $1m for a new scarfing crane and spare parts has been awarded by Indiana Flame Services for use at Bethlehem Steel’s Burns Harbor, Indiana integrated steel works. The 50 US ton (45t), DC full-magnetic, semi-gantry crane will be used in the mill’s scarfing process. As large slabs of steel come out of the mill, the crane, using a spreader beam and two large magnets, will pick up and turn over the slabs, allowing inspections to be performed on both sides.

The crane will be assembled at Morris’s Franklin, Ohio plant with components manufactured at its Wisconsin facilities in Watertown and Windsor.

MidAmerican Energy’s Louisa generating station in Muscatine, Iowa, selected Morris to provide two 15 US ton (12 US ton de-rated), 60ft (18m) lift, M-Series Hevi-Lift wire rope hoists with motor geared trolleys. Part of the process for producing electricity requires the use of fans to send pulverised coal into a furnace. These fans need to be rebuilt and cleaned twice a year. The maintenance crew at MidAmerican had been using chain falls to remove the fan covers and fans and transport them to an area where they were loaded onto carts and taken to be rebuilt. MidAmerican invited several companies to bid on a less time-consuming solution. The close tolerance between the monorail system and the building provided the main challenge. Morris provided two standard 15 US ton M-Series Hevi-Lift wire rope hoists. A single transmitter radio control that runs each hoist and trolley individually or in tandem was also provided. MidAmerican’s outage time has been reduced from more than two weeks to four days.

Another contract completed towards the end of 2002 was an upgrade of two cranes for gas turbine manufacturer Siemens-Westinghouse in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Siemens-Westinghouse wanted reduced lift times, higher speeds and improved torque and position control. To minimise costs, the existing 250VDC power conductor system was reused, but the existing DC motors and controls were converted to an AC system. Morris Material Handling-Eastern Canada teamed up with Brock Solutions’ Drive and Automation Group, which supplied the AC flux vector control to replace the old DC magnetic control system.

Morris is also pursuing service contracts. It has been awarded the annual inspections and preventive maintenance contract for 130 cranes and hoists at the Salt River Project-Navajo Generating Station in Page, Arizona.

Morris also looks after about 90 overhead and jib cranes at PMX Industries’ metal processing plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. What clinched this order was that one evening PMX called its local Morris aftermarket sales rep with a critical breakdown. There were no Morris technicians in the immediate area, so the sales rep, a one-time service technician, went in at 8pm and worked on the crane himself. By 2.30am the crane was running. The parts that were needed were rushed in and permanent repairs were completed within two working days.