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The 4 most common challenges when designing container cranes Iv-Consult Cranes Lifetime Extension Steel

Ship-to-Shore (STS) container cranes are essential equipment in ports.

These cranes are responsible for the loading and unloading of containers to and from ships in ports. Should these cranes cease to function, it can cost the port terminal a great deal of money as this results in ships not being unloaded or loaded. In addition, a container crane is a major investment and it is, therefore, essential that the user can utilise it. We encounter various challenges when designing a new crane or renovating an existing one and there are some challenges that we often see arising in projects, I’ll take you through the four most common challenges:

1. Steel fatigue
Ship-to-Shore container cranes have a high frequency of because they are almost continuously in use day in, day out with the loading and unloading of ships. Thus, experiencing a high amount of load changes. A small design error can, therefore, quickly degenerate into tearing of the steel.

2. Scaling-up leads to weaker cranes
Because ships are getting larger, the cranes also need to grow which requires an adjustment of the design approach. For example, due to the opening of the enlarged Panama Canal, more of the larger Post-Panamax vessels are in use meaning that much larger cranes are essential. Terminals would like to use their current container cranes for loading and unloading these larger vessels, but this means that they need to be adapted. Adjusting the width of the crane has limitations, but the height and range of the crane can be increased. However, the rigidity of the construction can be endangered by making these adjustments.

3. Safety first
When it concerns problems with cranes, safety quickly forms part of the picture. By performing a safety analysis, the bottlenecks quickly become clear. For example, we have recently had to deal with a crane that was on multiple occasions out of use due to fatigue problems. On each occasion, the crane had been repaired, but the problem was never really resolved. The results of the safety analysis showed that the crane was no longer safe to be in operation and was decommissioned. The practical experiences of the Iv-Infra measurement service are of great value in this type of project and enable us to solve the problems together and verify with measurements.

4. Absent documentation when renovating
When we are asked to renovate a crane, we need to know how many load changes have occurred in the past and which loads have been hoisted. Unfortunately, this information is often not available. This means that we must make a well-founded educated guess of the information this documentation would contain. We manage the other documentation for our regular clients.

Tech boffins who love nothing more than solving challenges

These four points, and of course all other challenges, require specific knowledge and experience and require a great problem-solving capacity. And that’s exactly what we are so good at. I am surrounded by some very clever people who enjoy solving problems and making the impossible possible. Only recently, a customer came to us with a number of identical cranes. Oddly enough, the majority of them functioned well, but a few cranes were continuously experiencing problems. These cranes have, therefore, not been put into operation. By closely examining the design, we quickly saw the underlying problem. Due to the scale enlargement of these cranes, the rigidness of the construction had decreased which resulted in more movement than is desirable. Fortunately, we have been able to provide a solution for our customer.

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Would you like to know more about container cranes? Have you encountered any issues involving ship to shore container cranes, or would you like to know more about how we tackle such problems? Feel free to contact us!
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