(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.

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.

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.

Seven Benefits of Modernizing Your Cranes to VFDs

impulse-series-groupPerhaps no other technological development in nearly 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. Recent improvements in drive technology, such as a new generation of Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBTs), sensor-less vector control, powerful microprocessors with flash memory, and improved algorithms, have allowed the downsizing of the power platforms and the inclusion of many high-performance features.

There are numerous benefits of using a VFD to control a hoist or crane, including:

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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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Project Exploration: Newport News Shipbuilding System Upgrade

newport-3As the largest shipbuilding company in the United States, Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) needs to be at the top of their game to effectively build the most advanced ships in the world. This includes keeping their overhead and gantry crane equipment running at the most efficient levels. Intended to avoid any production slowdowns due to wearing parts, system failures, or crane downtime, NNS scheduled 10-15 year overhauls of multiple cranes and their components.

NNS was able to improve coordination among the system components, enhance facility safety, and minimize downtime by implementing a solid crane modernization program. Properly planning an effective modernization program was key in updating drives and wireless control systems in a timely manner to keep the facility running at a high level.

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