(Don’t) Make Me Sway: The Lowdown on Sway Control

Sway Control SystemSway Control Systems (SCS) improve productivity by allowing the crane operator to concentrate on load engagement and disengagement rather than focusing on minimizing load swing. An SCS also enhances the accuracy of load placement and reduces material damage caused by incidental contact of swinging loads.

Magnetek’s Sway Control System custom software is embedded in our IMPULSE®•G+ Series 4 variable frequency drives for new or existing crane control systems without the need for external programmable logic controllers or costly height measurement devices.

“Manually operated cranes can account for as much as 20% of the production cycle,” said Aaron Kureck, Magnetek’s director of product management and development. “Utilizing sway control on overhead or gantry cranes can reduce operator fatigue and the need for extensive operator training.”

A crane with sway control allows an operator to use full speed commands for all movements, meaning shorter cycle times. Field tests have demonstrated that sway control improves productivity by 25-50%. Properly designed and adjusted sway control systems can minimize load sway by 85-95%, decreasing the risk of damage and personal injury.

Sway control is able to increase throughput in automated handling systems by allowing higher operating speeds and faster acceleration and deceleration rates than would be possible with a manually controlled system. A fully automated system controls the load, prevents dangerous sway at every phase, and stops the load precisely at the target, every time.

Closed loop systems are best utilized on high-cycle outdoor systems such as container cranes that are subject to external influences like wind, justifying the higher initial cost and maintenance expense.

Open loop systems have an economic advantage over mechanical means or closed loop systems with feedback and are best applied in industrial applications where wind and external influences may be of less significance.

For more information about sway control, visit www.magnetekmh.com.

Spotlight on Success: Hoover Dam Modernization

Hoover Dam

Magnetek’s Material Handling team spent time working inside the Hoover Dam’s concrete structure alongside Precision Crane & Hoist Services of Nevada to modernize the facility’s aging AC static crane controls with state-of-the-art control technology developed by Magnetek.

The Hoover Dam has two power plant wings, one located in Nevada and one located in Arizona. Each wing is 650 feet long and rises nearly 300 feet above the foundation of the power plant. Two 300-ton cranes are located inside each power plant wing and are used to move and maintain the 17 main vertical hydraulic turbines housed within the wings.

The Hoover Dam Power Plant, one of the United States’ largest hydroelectric installations, generates approximately four billion kilowatt-hours of hydroelectric power on average each year, enough to serve 1.3 million people in Arizona, Nevada, and California.

Magnetek controls were retrofitted on each of the four 300-ton cranes over a seven-month period, which began in December 2014. The new crane control systems utilize Magnetek’s technologically advanced drives and radio controls, providing crane operators at the Hoover Dam Power Plant with improved productivity, safety, and reliability.

To learn more about Magnetek’s success stories, visit www.magnetek.com/mhSuccess.

The Benefits of Variable Frequency Drives

Benefits of VFDsPerhaps no other technological development in the past 40 years has done more to revolutionize overhead crane design than the AC Variable Frequency Drive (VFD). Today’s Variable Frequency Controls and Flux Vector Motor Controls have become the industry standard for crane control.

AC Variable Frequency Drives provide greater reliability, enhance performance, improve production throughput, prolong equipment life, and reduce maintenance costs, parts, and personnel in a variety of ways, including:

 

  • Reducing the characteristic high starting currents of AC induction motors
  • Minimizing the shock effect on both the load and the equipment
  • Offering features, such as programmable acceleration and dynamic braking that:
    • Produce softer stops and starts
    • Assure smooth transitions between speed steps
    • Reduce brake wear and required maintenance
    • Embedded Anti-Sway control

Crane-specific firmware, drive support tools, and wired/wireless communication with various peripheral devices provide valuable monitoring, status, performance, and diagnostic information.

Features are built-in and individually selectable:

  • Reverse Plug Simulation
  • Stall Prevention
  • Inching Control
  • Weight Measurement System
  • Micro-Positioning Control
  • Static Stepless Simulation

No two applications are the same. Variable Frequency Drives provide users with a variety of operating modes and a wide range of options. Most single-speed squirrel cage motors can be controlled by VFDs, including conical-rotor motors used by many European hoist manufacturers. Multiple control modes (two, three, and five step or infinitely variable speed) allow for changing the operation to suit the needs of specific applications or the desire of individual operators. A wider range of selectable speed choices (up to 1500:1) are available to the user compared to the fixed speed ratios provided by the typical two-speed motors (2:1, 3:1, or 4:1) or micro-drives (10:1).

Safety is built into modern Variable Frequency Drives. They include features that:

  • Reduce the possibility of lifting an over-capacity load
  • Minimize or eliminate dangerous load swing
  • Prevent overheating of the motor
  • Detect and minimize rapid increases in motor torque
  • Provide safeguards that limit unauthorized modification of drive parameters or programming unsafe parameters.

Today’s technology provides a cost-effective means to make your crane more efficient, productive, and safer.

Learn more about VFDs at www.magnetekmh.com.

Spectrum Analysis: Why Does It Matter?

Whether you are looking to diagnose current RF issues, expand your current radio control operations, or commission a new facility, spectrum analysis helps you navigate what’s “in the air,” reducing RF interference and costly troubleshooting. The RF Spectrum in the industrial workplace has been become increasingly crowded. Modern control panels, wireless networks, bar code readers, and two-way communication devices create signal traffic in a facility, all of which interfere with radio control systems.

One of Magnetek’s customers purchased a radio remote control system and after installation, experienced frequent dropouts, impacting workplace efficiency. Magnetek completed a spectrum analysis and was able to diagnose the interference and recommend a solution—a frequency change from the 900 MHz band to the 2.4 GHz band. This solution optimized the facility’s radio communications.

Our Spectrum Analysis Service includes a scan of your entire facility or a single area, indoor or outdoor. An average of 45-60 scans can be completed in up to an eight-hour period, five scans per location. Locations are determined by facility layout with a minimum of one location per operating area, typically three locations per bay. Scans are conducted on all the commonly used operating frequencies. You will receive:

  • Analysis of our findings
  • Scan screenshots
  • Identification of potential interference
  • Frequency recommendations

Whether an existing system or new radio control system installation, Magnetek’s Spectrum Analysis Service is the easiest way to navigate your facility’s airwaves.

For more information, contact your local Magnetek Sales Representative or 1.866.MAG.SERV (1.866.624.7378) or visit http://www.magnetekmh.com/Spectrum-Analysis-Service.

Take a Quick “Flip’ Through Magnetek’s Product Guide

 

Take a few moments to “Flip” through Magnetek’s Material Handling quick reference product guide for a fast look at our expansive selection of innovative products including:

All of Magnetek’s products are backed by the industry’s best warranty and service policy. In fact, our highly trained team of service technicians offers superior aftermarket support—24/7, 365 days per year.

We also provide on-site technical support, emergency crane control replacement, and on-site and in-house training programs. Our team is unsurpassed at providing you with service and support when and where you need it.

Click Here to take a quick look at Magnetek’s extensive line of Material Handling products.

Automated Systems Offer More Than You Think

Implementing an automated material handling system offers a variety of traditional benefits, like improved productivity and increased product quality.

But they also offer safety and health benefits that can provide a better working environment for employees, including:

Consistent, Predictable Operation
An automated system will run the process the same way each time, offering consistent, predictable operation. A Human Machine Interface (HMI) can also report data from each step to an operator, providing necessary information at a safe distance from the operation.

Built-in Program Safeties
Automated systems are always working and reviewing every step along the way. Built-in programmed safety logic is constantly checking the operation of the system, and ensuring that each step takes place at the proper time. The system will stop operation and alert an operator if there is a problem before an accident can occur, protecting employees and equipment.

Safer Working Environment
A safer working environment for employees is provided by eliminating an operator’s proximity to trip hazards and slick surfaces.  Exposure to caustic fumes, hazardous chemicals, and extreme heat can also be reduced.

Want to explore further?  Check out our free Automated Systems webinar, which explains types of automated systems, traditional benefits, and how to get organizational buy-in to implement an automated system.  It includes a complimentary Automation Preparation Worksheet to kick off your automation project.

 

Project Exploration: Red River Pedestrian Bridge

superior-5Springtime thaws and flooding along the Red River have been annual problems for the cities of Moorhead, Minnesota and Fargo, North Dakota. Occasionally, flood waters have risen up to 40 feet above the river bank and damaged businesses, homes, and surrounding infrastructure. To prevent recurring damage to a pedestrian bridge between the two cities and decrease removal and replacement costs, a 168-foot bridge was commissioned with a self-contained lifting system, including new Magnetek radio remote controls and adjustable frequency drives.

CHALLENGE

  • Introduce lifting functionality to a new pedestrian bridge
  • Decrease likelihood of inclement weather damage
  • Reduce costs for replacement equipment and seasonal bridge removal
  • Coordinate two hoist operations to balance lifting motions

SOLUTION

  • Two 40-ton hoists using Magnetek’s IMPULSE®•VG+ crane control drives and radio remote controls
  • Decreased potential damage opportunities from flood waters or thawing ice
  • Eliminated need for seasonal removal of the bridge by outside contractors
  • Trenched fiber optic cable beneath riverbed to synchronize lifting

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