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Local parts key to success of big auto plant deal

Home Manufacturing & Processing Local parts key to success of big auto plant deal

HP Cranes Consulting, a Brakpan-based company specialising in tower and gantry cranes, has won the much anticipated contract to supply coil handling machines to a new South African vehicle plant.

The order is for eight cranes: four 35/10-ton 22,5-metre-span machines, and a further four with capacities of 20 tons and spans of 13,5 metres, all of them designed in double-girder overhead-travelling configuration.

Condra designed the coil-handling cranes to be equipped with special hooks fitted to the hoists’ standard DIN15401 type. After commissioning, they will unload, stack and position on demand the multiple steel coils delivered in bulk to the vehicle plant. Integral load cells will check and verify the weight and quantity of each coil received.

Besides digital load cell read-outs, all eight cranes will be fitted with card access and data-logging control, anti-sway technology, full-length walkways, remote control, lights, limit switches and multiple general-purpose plug points.

“Particularly noteworthy is the anti-sway technology. Configured to maximise productivity, this technology marries variable drives to algorithms that control acceleration and deceleration across all planes, preventing any swinging of the load during crane movement,” Condra said in a statement.

Additionally, card access and data logging will aid efficient maintenance and serve as an incentive for operators to adhere to machine operating limits. The logs identify specific causes of breakdown in the event of accidental operational misuse, and indicate areas were operator retraining is advisable.

For Condra, the order won by HP Cranes Consulting represents approximately four months of work for the company’s Johannesburg factory, a useful order to add to an already substantial book. The contract additionally complements a second contract for two further 40-metre-span cranes ordered by the tyre manufacturer earmarked to equip wheels fitted to the plant’s completed vehicles.

“The eight cranes for HP Consulting are all class 3m/M6 heavy duty machines suitable for very high workload. They are quick and nimble units despite their large size, and will attain speeds of 40 metres per minute on the long-travel, and 30 or 20 metres per minute respectively on the 35/10-ton and 20-ton machines,” the company said.

During the design phase, Condra paid special attention to limiting the recommended spare parts holding for maintenance. Besides easy interchangeability of parts within the two sets of four identical cranes, the crabs of the 40-ton machines are designed to be interchangeable with the 20-tonners’ long-travels, further reducing mandatory minimum spare parts stocks.

“A final interesting aspect of this order is the intense competition that had to be overcome by HP Cranes Consulting in order to win the contract. All Condra’s main rivals submitted tenders, but Condra’s technically sound design – and especially its ability to meet the very tight deadline of initial crane deliveries by the end of May – won through.

“Industry opinion is that the losing tenders could not meet this deadline because of the necessity to import product. However, Condra manufactures all components locally, and because of this regularly wins orders with tight delivery schedules.”

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