Konecranes wins gantry order in Michigan

20 June 2012

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Konecranes Americas has been contracted to supply two 410USt gantry cranes for a $800m maintenance and upgrade project at the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant in Ludington, MI.

The hydroelectric plant, on the shores of Lake Michigan, was built in the late 1960s. Over the next decade, the plant owners will be working to upgrade its generating capacity. Cranes will be used to lift parts of large turbines that will be installed at the plant.

As the preexisting 360USt crane did not have the required capacity to lift an entire 810USt generator stator, two 410USt gantry cranes will be installed.

From the cabs, operators can make fully synchronized tandem lifts, with either crane operating as the "master." Each crane has three trolleys, which will have main "hook to hook" dimensions when making a dual lift of 47ft, Konecranes explained.

The cranes, which will operate outdoors on a bluff above Lake Michigan, are equipped to cope with harsh weather conditions: weather-proof features include automatic storm brakes, special paint, heaters, and stainless steel enclosures or "doghouses" over the hoist machinery to prevent falling ice.

The features are intended to improve performance of the cranes, even while working in wind speeds up to 35 mph (90 mph parked) and sustained single-digit temperatures.

"The enhanced lifting capability is expected to save substantial time during construction," said Konecranes.

The main hoist of each crane is rated CMAA class "C", with auxiliary hoists rated class "D".

Konecranes said that features of the cranes supplied included micro speed, the ability to rescale the drive output to accurately position critical loads at extremely slow speeds, and hoist speed synchronization.

They also include shock load prevention and Konecranes DynAPilot anti-sway system.

After construction at Konecranes' manufacturing facility in Franklin, OH, the cranes will be delivered and installed this summer.

Konecranes will provide operator and maintenance training as part of the contract.

Consumers Energy Company and the Detroit Edison Company own the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant.

The maintenance and efficiency upgrade will increase the generating capacity of the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant from 1,872mW to approximately 2,17mW.

This is enough to supply 1.65 million people. Improved water pumping efficiency will decrease the plant's operating costs.
Konecranes' vice president of cranes and components, Juergen Gieske, said, "These are very large, process-specific cranes, and they must work reliably for many years to come."