AM Castle Metals supplies specialty products in bar, tube, plate and sheet to metal users worldwide.
Vintage cranes in need of modernization
AM Castle Metals owned two vintage 20-ton P&H™ cranes built in 1968 that were already in place when they bought the facility. The cranes ran on open span copper wires attached to the bridge which posed a potential electrocution hazard to anyone working around the crane with a forklift. In addition, the constant vibration of over 40 years of use had caused broken wire and switch issues, and parts were becoming difficult or impossible to find for the wound-rotor controls.
Updating cranes with this millennium’s technology
Modernization specialists from Konecranes developed a solution. They recommended replacing the 1968-era magnetic controls with modern variable frequency drives, designed to provide smooth acceleration and deceleration speeds, reducing wear and tear on the drive train and decreasing load swing.
To avoid lost production time, Konecranes scheduled the modernization so the plant experienced no downtime, and both cranes were back in service within a week. More importantly, a modern festoon system with closed circuit switching replaced the open span copper wiring, enhancing the safety of the working environment.
Modern crane reduces breakdowns by almost 100%
Prior to the modernization, $15,000 was spent in 2008 and again in 2009 on repair and maintenance on this crane. After the modernization, throughout 2010, repair costs were zero. According to AM Castle Metal’s operations and quality manager Jerome Mead, they have not experienced a single breakdown or lost crane hour since the work was completed.
“Konecranes provided us with a much safer way to run our cranes. We have gained in productivity, safety, and we’ve had no inspection or detection problems since we’ve done this work. There have also been no repairs whatsoever. In the long run, this modernization is going to save us a lot of money. And when it comes to safety, we can’t put a price on it. That’s priceless," says Jerome Mead, Operations and Quality Manager.