When an overhead crane is installed in a warehouse or distribution center, it's usually there for the long run. It's not out of the ordinary for warehouses to get decades of service out of their long-term investments, both for reasons of economics and pragmatism. So it only makes sense to explore the possibility of modernizing your overhead cranes, as opposed to purchasing and installing brand-new lifting equipment.
Overhead crane modernization sidesteps the cost and downtime issues caused by new equipment installation, while ensuring the safety and productivity of your workforce and overall warehouse operations. The following goes in-depth about the benefits of overhead crane modernization and what the process itself entails.
Why Modernize Your Overhead Cranes?
There are plenty of good reasons why modernizing your existing overhead cranes makes more sense than undergoing the capital investment required of brand-new lifting equipment:
Longer service life – This is perhaps the most appealing benefit of modernizing your overhead cranes. Adding new components to your existing lifting equipment can easily extend its lifespan by several decades. This is a great benefit if you want to get the most out of your existing overhead cranes.
Improved cost effectiveness – The complete replacement of a 25-ton two-girder overhead bridge crane with a 50-foot span could run as much as $85,000, factoring the cost of materials and the labor needed for assembly. Modernizing your current equipment, on the other hand, can cost a fraction of that amount.
Higher levels of efficiency – Not only can modernization extend the overall lifespan of your current equipment, but it can also make your equipment operated with greater efficiency. As an example, replacing your current load brake with a regenerative model can help boost lifting performance and reduce the amount of energy expended during a typical lifting operation.
Quicker turnaround times – High-volume operations can easily be hobbled by the downtime necessary for lifting equipment to be dismantled and completely replaced. Instead, your warehouse or distribution center can opt for modernization as a way to reduce downtime, especially when peak production periods demand little to no slowdowns for maximum profitability.
Improved safety – Modernization also gives you the opportunity to bring your equipment back in compliance with current OSHA safety regulations. By getting rid of functionally obsolete and worn-out components and replacing them with newer, safer and more modern counterparts, you'll improve the overall safety of your operators and other employees. You'll also rest easier knowing that lifting equipment is no longer in danger of being pushed past its operational limits due to aging components.
What Needs to Be Modernized?
As The Fabricator Magazine points out, the basic steel structure of an overhead crane is likely as good today as it was 25 or even 50 years ago – these structures are designed to withstand great levels of stress and, as a consequence, last for ages. However, many of the other components that make up the overhead crane, including the end trucks, wheels, hoists, motors and electrical elements, may need to be cycled out.
Modernizing overhead cranes means more than just refurbishing and replacing existing components. It also gives you an opportunity to upgrade your equipment with the latest technological advancements on offer. For instance, adding variable-frequency drives to your overhead crane gives operators more fine-tuned control during maneuvers. This welcome addition also reduces the instance of severe impacts caused by stopping and starting, allowing other components to last longer.
Even the basic steel structure can be modernized to an extent. For instance, a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for modernizing the crane's appearance. Of course, it's important to investigate the integrity of the basic steel structure prior to undertaking modernization efforts.
For more information about restoring your overhead crane, contact a company like Wazee Crane.