There was a clear sense of optimism in the air at last month’s Hannover Fair in Germany. Visitor numbers at what is billed as the world’s largest industrial show, at least met expectations, with approximately 270,000 attendees at the six day event. New products and services, including entire new equipment ranges, were present in abundance.

A good range of factory hoisting equipment was present – from Mannesmann Dematic’s hand portable HandyLifter hoist right through to the largest at the show – Brunnhuber’s 160t capacity open barrel winch model.

New hoists

The Dematic HandyLifter is designed to meet an important requirement of the Employer’s Liability Insurance Association for lifting and handling loads. Guidelines are that the maximum weight to be handled manually at work is 20kg. The 60kg capacity HandyLifter has a fibre rope and the 100kg version uses a chain. Maximum hoisting speeds are 14m/min and 8m/min respectively. Control of the infinitely variable speed by integrated inverter is by hand held push button infra- red remote.

Another new small hoist is the Pfaff Lambda VBG70. This hand operated 300kg capacity unit is aimed at theatres and other areas of the entertainment industry. It has a patented two part failsafe brake and a 10m standard lifting height but a maximum of 30m can be specified.

Liftket also showed new hoists for the entertainment industry. They incorporate the Variodrive inverter controls and are rated at 500kg capacity for VBG70, which is 1t in standard form. Maximum hoisting speed is 28m/min.

Moving up the scale, Helmut Kempkes showed a 63t Kuli hoist, available since February, which is described as unique because of its four fall rope configuration. Competitors all use six falls at this capacity, according to director Heinz Helmut Kempkes. Almost true vertical lift is an advantage of using fewer falls of rope.

Verlinde launched, and sold the first unit of, its VT1 wire rope hoist and also launched the VL1 Eurosystem 2000, which the company claims is the only EX belt hoist on the market. The VT1 comes as standard with frequency controlled variable speed travel. It has a narrow, large diameter drum so it can get up closer to walls and rope wear is reduced because of a larger bending radius. The new design uses fewer parts and promises reduced maintenance – the open rope guide has no spring and doesn’t need grease for example. There is also a large air space around the motor for better cooling and the hook incorporates a handle for easier manipulation.

New from Hadef is a 10t capacity 29/94APH very low headroom chain hoist which is aimed at the marine and offshore industry for use on oil platforms to assemble and disassemble equipment. The company says it is not possible to design a hoist that gets any closer to the beam. It features a rack and pinion trolley to prevent movement caused by the motion of a ship or offshore platform. The pneumatic version is to EX standard and is also available with manual or electric trolley. Another new Hadef hoist launched at the Fair was the company’s first hook mounted 20t capacity model, shown in electric form as the AK 920. Small size is an important feature – Hadef claims it is much smaller even than a competitor’s 12.5t model.

SWF Krantechnik’s new Nova electric wire rope hoist gives almost true vertical lift and has the best headroom on the market at 50% less than the company’s previous best, according to export director Jürgen Dlugi. The large drum diameter means less rope wear, closer approach and allows an air space around the motor for better cooling. There is a maintenance free ‘lifetime’ brake and 60% ED motors are used instead of 40% ED motors which are often used by competitors, Dlugi says. He adds that the 190kg weight of the Nova compares favourably with the 250kg of its nearest competitor.

Vetter Fördertechnik showed its new Electrolift range of chain hoists, which can be used with its new A/55-00 workshop crane. Capacities range from 80kg to 5t. There are four basic models, available with hoisting speeds up to 8m/min. A special chain sprocket gives quiet running and a clutch prevents motor damage when the hook is in its highest or lowest position. It needs minimal headroom and there is good access to all parts for maintenance, Vetter claims. Hook suspension, push trolley or electric trolley versions are possible. The electric version can be programmed with one, two or continuously variable speed up to 32m/min.

Bulgarian manufacturer BCP launched its MH series of electric wire rope hoists starting from the 200kg capacity MH 2-02 ranging up to the 16t capacity MH 7-40. Standard and reduced headroom models are available as are monorail and double trolley configurations. The company also showed a wide range of its other material handling equipment including plate clamps and forklift trucks.

Other hardware

As well as its new hoists Vetter launched a slewing crane with a hollow profile jib. This range of workshop cranes is available in capacities from 80kg to 2t with jib lengths from 2m to 7m. The hollow profile jib is designed to be particularly smooth running. Double bearings for slewing are also designed for smoother operation which needs less effort to move.

French manufacturer Charlet has a new telescopic motorised coil grab, available in 10t, 20t and 30t capacities. It can be operated from a cabin or via remote control and is built to specific requirements for extension width, head fitting, leg length etc. rather than being an off the shelf product.

Rope manufacturer Pfeifer showed a fully synthetic crane rope which it described as a “world innovation”.The Pfeifer Synline aramide rope promises lighter machinery, longer life and less maintenance.

Austrian chain maker Pewag showed its case hardened profile chain for powered hoists. The company claims that traditional round section steel chain is reaching the end of its development potential and has therefore introduced its profile chain which has a much squarer section. Higher strength is achieved with a 13.7% larger cross section, it is claimed, than for round steel chain with the same outside dimensions. Longer operating life is also claimed, due to a larger surface area which causes less wear to the chain, sprocket and guide. Pewag says that this reduced wear also means a smaller, four tooth sprocket can also be used.

Electronics and software

New technology, particularly in electronics and computer software is being used to push back boundaries – Mannesmann Dematic’s design study of a voice controlled hoist, currently in development, being a good example.

Belgian electronics manufacturer EIA showed its latest multi function crane computer device aimed at hoist manufacturers rather than end users. Hoist function monitoring and logging allows calculation of a hoist’s remaining safe working period. This is done on a single card and can include a load indicator, slack rope detection, brake wear control and motor overheating prevention. The number of starts, inchings, working hours, and overloads is also recorded and can be displayed on a digital readout.

Remote control manufacturer Ikusi claims that its new range limitation system has advantages not yet offered by any competitors. It uses a beam of infra-red transmitters in which the receiver, mounted on the remote control box, has to be present to operate the system. The accessory can be added to existing Ikusi remote controls and can be used instead of an infra-red key system.

ABB is test running an electronic load sway control and an electronic control for a four-rope grab. Both units can be used in conjunction with the established ACS and DCS 600 series crane drives. The load sway controller, to be introduced this year, controls the trolley and gantry functions. The grab control uses two hoist motors for the the open/close function and both units follow the 600 series design. ABB is also developing a digital drive specifically for slip ring motors. The Astat drive is due for release later this year.

SWF was demonstrating its new CraneMaster software package that can calculate in just 15 minutes which components are required to build a complete standard crane, compared with the manual process which SWF says used to take several days.

New systems

GIS showed its new KB monorail system. Flexibility is a key aspect of the design which is available with oscillating or rigid suspension, and a choice of three power supplies. It features plastic wheels instead of steel to give smoother running and all parts except the profile are galvanised as standard. Installation time is reduced by using a quick turn type system that only requires access from the top.

Contactless energy supply systems are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to festoon cabling or conductor bars. Wampfler has a new inductive power transfer (IPT) system with a 10kW pickup head. Several pickups can be combined to in- crease capacity – 10 makes a 100kW system which is suitable for light crane applications.

Wampfler also showed its new Powertrans for transmission of data, video and audio signals. It can be used with the IPT system or on its own.