By rejuvenating an almost 30-year-old double-girder overhead travelling crane for the Swiss logistics provider Birs Terminal AG, Birsfelden (Switzerland), Demag Cranes & Components created a virtually new crane with a load capacity of 50t.

Modernisation of the crane mainly focused on the motors as well as the electrical and electronic components. The entire order also included the maintenance of all cranes used at the handling terminal, as well as the delivery of an additional double-girder overhead travelling crane.

The items to be handled are mainly dry goods, above all products such as paper and steel, which need to be kept dry. A further major share is accounted for by container transports. In addition, bulk goods have to be handled in a storage area outside the large terminal building. Birs Terminal usually works direct for customers who want to ship their own goods, but partly also for international freight companies.

Birs Terminal requires cranes for fast and efficient handling in its terminal facilities. A particularly important role is played by the double-girder overhead travelling crane, which has load capacity of 50t and a span of 30m, and which was refurbished and modernised by Demag.

This crane, which achieves high handling rates, operates in a large enclosed terminal bay, the roof of which protrudes above railway tracks and a berth for barges. The free-standing crane runway was extended beneath the protruding roof. The projecting roof enables ships to be loaded and unloaded by the indoor crane and kept dry. The main task of the crane is to handle steel coils that weigh up to 30t. Furthermore, it handles long materials, such as bundles of sheet steel piling weighing 20t, as well as bundles of cellulose.

Using a spreader as a load handling attachment, the crane can simultaneously pick up 10 of the 2t bundles. Birs Terminal uses a second spreader for containers. In addition, various load handling attachments are available which can be connected to the single hook, such as special slings for the 30t steel coils. A rotating crab facilitates precise positioning of the loads.

The 50t crane has been in operation since 1973. The management at Birs Terminal already recognised that the electrical and electronic equipment of the crane was obsolete 10 years ago. This made it increasingly difficult to procure spare parts, which also became more and more expensive as time passed. In view of this, Birs Terminal began planning.

The ideas they considered ranged from refurbishment to the purchase of a new crane. Since an inspection of the steelwork revealed no appreciable wear and the calculated costs of refurbishment were expected to amount to some 60% of the expense of a new crane, the owner decided to modernise the installation.

All of the motors as well as the electrical and electronic components, including their supply cables, were to be replaced. In addition, skewing movements, which frequently caused the crane bridge to move out of alignment with the runway and resulted in increased wear of the travel wheels, had to be corrected.

Five Swiss-based crane manufacturers were invited to bid. This was based on specifications laid down by Birs Terminal. However, the tender not only involved the refurbishment of the 50t crane, but also the maintenance of all of the cranes in operation in the terminal facilities, including the outdoor cranes and regardless of their original manufacturer.

Furthermore, a new crane with a load capacity of 32t was to be installed in Storage Bay 3. In addition, an automatic crane distancing system was planned to be installed in the large terminal building to prevent any collision between the 50t crane and another crane with a load capacity of 30t also operating there.

Birs Terminal awarded the complete contract to the Swiss subsidiary of Demag Cranes & Components. As the owner emphasises, Demag claims it submitted by far the best quotation in every aspect. “The customer was particularly impressed by the analytical approach to the refurbishment issues. Other potential suppliers ruled out any modernisation,” it said.

Birs Terminal AG, Birsfelden (Switzerland), is a logistics partner for transport, handling, storage, distribution, freight projects and industrial packing. With its flexible and specific supply chain concepts, the company provides its customers with transport routes throughout Europe, including road and rail networks as well as inland shipping routes and sea ports. The traffic hub is the trimodal terminal facility operated by the company at the Rhine harbour in Birsfelden, where ships, railway wagons and trucks are loaded and unloaded depending on the given product and customer requirement.