Modular SMARTON heavy lift system grows with individual user needs

Supplier: Konecranes Australia
24 March, 2011

SMARTON, the new Konecranes heavy-duty process crane, adapts to user needs.

It is designed as a customised, intelligent, and environmentally sustainable solution for demanding maintenance and heavy process use.

The high performance modular crane system, being introduced to Australia and New Zealand, is designed to maximise safety while minimising energy consumption and downtime.

Applications of SMARTON cranes, in capacities initially up to 160 ton and progressively extending to 500, include steel and paper plants, automotive and general manufacturing, energy plants, waste-to-energy, automatic storage systems, workshops and mining and resources facilities.

The compact SMARTON crane system can save building and building services costs by fitting into smaller structures. The compact design enables new industrial halls, for example, to be smaller than before, so the product pays back in the form of lower construction and heating expenses. The compact structure of SMARTON also allows the user to put the load down much closer to the wall.

"SMARTON was designed from the outset to symbolise process industry customer expectations for an optimum overhead crane system. SMARTON  technology represents the outcome of decades of global experience by the Konecranes group, which is the world's largest supplier of industrial cranes", says Konecranes Sales and Marketing Manager, Warren Ashton.

The result of  3.5 years of intensive development work, SMARTON is an evolutionary, not revolutionary, technology that combines time-tested components with innovative refinements.

"We wanted to introduce a crane that satisfies customer needs and is implemented using the best available technology. Its development benefited from our experience accumulated from the maintenance of hundreds of thousands of cranes and from our wide product range, which is the most comprehensive in the field of industrial lifting applications," says Ashton.

Adapts to customer needs
A key driver of the design is modularity, meaning that customers can select exactly the features they need for their process, both now and in the future. Thanks to standardised modules, products can be customised reliably and faster than ever before to suit the special needs of individual customer processes in widely differing fields of the process industry.

"A product made of modules is considerably faster to customise, as well as being reliable and easy to maintain. SMARTON consists of familiar elements that maintenance engineers are used to handling," says Ashton.

There is no need to equip SMARTON with everything a user might expect to use in the future. The product can easily be updated with additional features, such as automated positioning, defined working areas, maintenance monitoring, or remote diagnostics. This is enabled by the crane's intelligent control system based on programmable logic, which can be adjusted according to the control need.

"SMARTON grows with the customer’s business, enabling future needs and challenges to be taken into consideration. This device will not easily grow out of date nor will it compromise on performance," says Ashton.

Saves space and energy
In addition to being more compact (reducing space, construction and heating needs), the product is also designed to meet or exceed environmental standards for some time to come.

The feedback of braking energy, a standard feature in SMARTON, can save up-to one-third in energy consumption. And that feature not only lowers the energy bill, but also saves the environment.

SMARTON is at least 98 percent recyclable. Thanks to the compact design, its production also uses up fewer natural resources. Konecranes, moreover, made the crane control more intelligent to reduce the dynamic load on the crane structures.

Minimises maintenance shutdowns
One of the main goals in the development of SMARTON was to minimise the duration of maintenance shutdowns.

"In the process industry, standstills are very expensive. The better we can predict when equipment needs to be serviced and the faster we can perform maintenance, the longer a crane can operate and benefit the process," says Ashton.

The SMARTON service platform folds over the trolley to protect the trolley components. The space-saving, foldable platform is a brand new concept, for which Konecranes has sought patent protection. All of SMARTON’s service points are located on the same side and are easily accessible, contrary to many other products on the market, which have service points on both sides of the trolley.

The crane monitors its own condition and recommends when and what kind of inspections or preventive maintenance to perform. Among other things, SMARTON is designed to continuously monitor the condition of the hoisting motor brake. The service panel, in turn, shows the location of the fault.

The service panel enables faults to be solved quickly. Since the fault and its frequency are displayed on the panel, Smarton is designed to eliminate the need to inspect, say, the frequency inverter panels.

Konecranes has paid special attention to the durability of wire ropes. The service life of hoisting wire ropes is a key element in maintenance expenses. The wire ropes are costly, and changing them is a time-consuming task.

"We have clearly extended the life of wire ropes by optimising the pulley rope angles in the hook housing, making them as small as possible to reduce the wear and tear of wire ropes," said Ashton.

Remote maintenance is a standard feature of SMARTON. Three support centers located in different time zones around the world ensure that Konecranes can offer 24/7 support for equipment irrespective of the location.

"We opted for tried and tested components instead of unique parts in SMARTON. Should spare parts be needed, their availability is guaranteed. We always have a given number of components in stock," says Ashton.

Makes operations easy and efficient
Konecranes designed the functions of the SMARTON user interface to be simple and clear so that they can be understood without consulting heavy manuals. The intelligent yet easy to use Human Interface to Machine (HIM) keeps the user continuously up to date on the weight and position of the load.

SMARTON also contains productivity-enhancing features. Its precise, stepless-speed control ensures that loads can be lifted, moved, and lowered faster, which reduces the overall load-handling times. Depending on the set-up, the crane can lift weights ranging from 30 tons to more than 500 tons.

Konecranes gets versatile information about customer needs from its global database of annual crane maintenance. The database contains over 350,000 devices, around 75 percent of them made by other manufacturers.

Konecranes offers the widest range of products for industrial lifting, running from chain hoists with a capacity of a few dozen kilograms to goliath gantry cranes with a capacity of more than 1,600 tons. All of the accumulated data is available to centrally managed R&D.