Calling in the crane experts
A specialty paper mill’s in-house maintenance group was performing monthly inspections and preventive maintenance on the numerous overhead cranes in their facility, coordinated by a computer-based program. As regulations changed and became more stringent, the maintenance team sought to enhance the program by commissioning an annual safety inspection by crane experts Konecranes. The in-house millwrights had no problem maintaining the pulp and paper machinery, but management recognized that the cranes were more specialized, particularly addressing the depth of inspection reporting and compliance required today.
Invisible but potentially deadly
On its initial inspection, Konecranes found suspicious particles at the bottom of the gearbox on one of a pair of 15-ton overhead cranes. Opening up the gearbox revealed a load brake that was severely damaged and inoperable. It was a potential catastrophe in the making, which could have resulted in major damage to equipment, the building or at worst, injuries to workers in close proximity to the load. When Konecranes opened and inspected the gearbox on a similar crane, they found no problems, indicating that this was a random and therefore unpredictable event in an area invisible to a routine inspection. Konecranes expedited the parts to replace the damaged load brake and obtained a spare for the customer.
Crews focus on what they know best
This mill and Konecranes are now in their third year of an ongoing preventive inspection program that covers all important hoists and cranes, including opening all of the gearboxes. “The customer is seeing real value there,” said Konecranes representative John Dowd. “In the first two years we found quite a few deficiencies, which have now been rectified. Currently, Konecranes repairs all of the crane-specific issues, which frees up the millwrights to work on the paper machines and pulp mill, which is their core area of expertise. This partnership is working quite well for them.”