Iv-Consult has developed a method to calculate the correct clamping force in combination with the sufficient release force required for removing the anode blocks from the furnace. The trend in recent years has been to make the clamping jaws much thinner, due to accessing the furnace easier and the increasingly limited space that is available between the anode blocks and the furnace wall. Where previously the strength of the hoisting tool was normative, now the rigidity of the hoisting tool and the clamping jaws (in combination with the stiffness of the blocks themselves) is increasingly becoming the normative factor. A critical limit is reached when the anode blocks can break (fall) due to symptoms of instability. If this happens in the furnace, the jaw grabber and the anode blocks become jammed or lodged in the furnace, with serious consequences.
LEGO building bricks also came into play when calculating the clamping force. As it turned out, the problems that arose with the clamping jaws were exactly the same as those experienced with the LEGO bricks. Because of this, we were able to easily visualise the problems experienced by both the customer and the colleagues who were dealing with the issue.