Original Press Release
Konecranes New SMARTON® Crane Wraps Up a Smarter Lifting Package for Steel Producers
Press release date: August 30, 2010
Konecranes, a global leader in the manufacturing of overhead lifting equipment, introduces the SMARTON®. SMARTON from Konecranes is the next-generation evolution in lifting technology with significant benefits for steel producers. This smart crane has an impressive array of features designed to improve safety, reduce energy consumption by up to 30 percent, and prevent damage to high-value goods and production equipment. SMARTON is built from proven Konecranes components and backed by 24/7 service support. Available in capacities ranging from 10 to more than 500 tons, SMARTON also delivers significant savings on maintenance and construction costs.
SMARTON's design and features reflect Konecranes' commitment to deliver both the lowest lifetime cost and the highest lifetime value for its equipment while improving mill safety, productivity, and throughput. It is the result of more than three years of intensive research and development by the Konecranes engineering team.
The most visible SMARTON evolution is a two-transmitter intelligent radio control that allows the crane to relay condition information back to the operator, which means technicians can troubleshoot the crane from the ground. It delivers information on load location, load tonnage, approaching area limits, and three-dimensional XYZ target position. It also reveals faults and overloads, provides load-summing data from two hooks, and captures the total load on the crane. In addition, it provides timely warnings of upcoming maintenance requirements and warns the operator when the crane approaches its working limit.
Konecranes calls this radio transceiver technology package Human Interface to Machine (HIM). Using the HIM smart controls, mill operators can streamline crane maintenance operations because technicians may not need to ascend the crane to diagnose faults, only to perform repairs with the correct parts in hand. This keeps production moving-significantly reducing downtime. Operators can also quickly and easily program restricted/no-go areas from the HIM control.
"We hope the introduction of SMARTON will encourage steel producers to expect and demand more from their cranes," said Doug Maclam, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Konecranes America. "Years from now, steel producers will look back to a time before smart cranes and ask themselves how they managed without sway control and auto-positioning, just as we now wonder how we managed to drive cars without automatic transmissions, power steering and other features."
SMARTON's array of intelligent features is particularly suited for steel applications such as coil handling, roll shops, shipping bays, and steel service centers-in short, any lifting task that requires repetitive movements. Microspeeds and inching control facilitate precise movements, while Konecranes' DynAPilot sway control feature speeds up handling over manual controls. A recent controlled test showed an improvement of 36%. Combined with the protected areas feature, which safeguards personnel and prevents damage to high-value products and equipment, handling time was reduced by 55 percent.
"The initial cost of purchase may be perceived as expensive, but long-term, the value is definitely there," says Juergen Gieske, Vice President, Sales, Konecranes America. "Looking at just the anti-sway feature, steel producers should ask themselves, what is the cost in product damage, facility damage, and employee safety with an uncontrollable 40 to 60-ton load? The SMARTON crane cuts the learning curve for a new crane operator to a fraction of the normal training interval, and the smart safety features greatly reduce risk for the owner of the crane."
Gieske also identified SMARTON's soft-touchdown vertical-positioning capability and the Shock Load Control (SLC), which responds instantly to slack rope conditions and load-snatching, as features that steel producers will learn to expect from their cranes in safeguarding valuable products and equipment. He also noted the benefits of the Extended Speed Range, which uses available horsepower to deliver strategic overspeed with less-than-capacity loads--ideal for steel service centers.
Another state-of-the-art feature of SMARTON¬ is regenerative braking. Instead of dispersing hoist braking energy as heat into high-maintenance resistors, SMARTON recaptures up to 30 percent of that energy, particularly the hoist lowering energy, and sends it back to the electrical grid, reducing the overall energy bill for the crane.
It's all part of the idea of a crane that "pays for itself before you use it," which begins with crane dimensions. SMARTON's compact design saves on building construction and heating costs. Its close hook approach on four sides maximizes the use of floor space and can reduce structural costs, heating costs, and the price tag for ventilation and other systems tied to building mass. Even though it is compact, SMARTON is built from Konecranes' range of powerful process-duty components, which are in-stock and available.
SMARTON is ideal when retrofitting older mills. The lower profile makes it more likely to fit into an existing space, and the compact dimensions allow the hook to operate very close to the runway rails, helping older mills do more in a finite space. One particularly unique feature is a trolley cover that protects the machinery while operating and then folds out to become a safe working platform for maintenance technicians. Maintenance points all on one side allow for easier accessibility and side approaches.
"Think about the smart mobile phones of today compared with the oversized 'talking brick' phones of the 1980s," said Doug Maclam. "We have essentially that same leap forward in technology when we compare the SMARTON with a traditional crane. Eventually all new cranes may have these capabilities. But if you need these safety, productivity, and cost-recovery technologies now, Konecranes and SMARTON are ready to help."
To view a detailed video overview of SMARTON, go to http://www.konecranesamericas.com/equipment/SMARTON/. For more material handling products and services, contact Konecranes Inc., Region Americas Headquarters, 4401 Gateway Boulevard, Springfield, OH 45502 toll free at 1.800.934.6976.