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Cranes for flexible manufacturing selected by Siemens

To optimise material flow at their new Leeds manufacturing site, the Mechanical Drives division of Siemens Industry Automation and Drive Technologies turned to Street Crane Company for crane systems to meet their complex handling needs.

The Siemens Leeds manufacturing site produces mechanical drives and power transmission components for industry including geared motors, couplings, gear units and drive train assemblies, as well as offering a full service and repair facility. Manufacturing and assembly operations are diverse and complex, requiring component part handling, assembly and the movement of product through key stages until completion and test before shipping.

For assembly operations in the high volume manufacturing cells, six Street Crane one-tonne light crane systems, with up to six metre span, have been installed. Complete with Street Crane LX chain hoists and independent gantry support, these light crane systems provide flexible and adaptable lifting for lighter loads and ensure safe handling.

The light crane systems give complete access to the work area with full vertical movement and both x and y movement in the horizontal plane. Light cranes are available for loads of up to two tonnes.

The beams and tracks used in light crane systems are roll formed light steel profile sections that have good rigidity and an exceptional strength to weight ratio. These can be attached to existing building structures and impose little additional load. However, because of their location within the building, the Siemens installation is supported by floor standing gantries supplied as part of the Street Crane package.

For heavier lifts in the adjoining projects and service heavy assembly bay, Street Crane has installed a system of three semi Goliath cranes without rails. These ensure that work can be progressed without waiting time for a crane to become available. All of these cranes have a safe working load of 12.5 tonnes.

Operating together on one side of the heavy assembly bay two semi Goliaths can service the full length of the bay. An anti collision system is installed to prevent accidental contact when operating independently. By using polyurethane tyred wheels at the leg-end of the cranes the need for floor rails, with the associated civil work and disturbance, has been avoided.

The heavy assembly bay is also serviced by a 25 tonne double girder overhead crane spanning the full 24.5 metre width of the bay. Twin Street Crane open winch ZX hoists of 12.5 tonnes safe working load provide maximum flexibility and additional load security when the load is shared between two hoists. The open barrel design of the ZX hoist ensures true vertical lift, protecting the valuable load from sideways pull, drag and potential damage.

Load stability when travelling is assured by inverter control on all motions so that load inertia on first movement and swing on coming to a halt are virtually eliminated. A remote radio control device allows the crane operator to work from a position that assures greatest safety and visibility.

To complete lifting and handling requirements, assembly areas in the heavy bay are further supported by jib cranes that permit smaller components to be handled and transferred between processes. This helps maintain production momentum ensuring that capital assets are used to maximum effect.

Street Crane managing director Andrew Pimblett noted, "Manufacturers like Siemens are seeking a more flexible and comprehensive answers to their handling needs to maximise productivity and return on capital investment. Overhead cranes are still the best way to give whole bay access. However, where there is a need for high frequency transfers at the lower end of the lifting range, then the Street Crane light crane system complements overhead and gantry cranes for maximum efficiency."

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