Carbon free : ABUS cranes support the energy revolution in the UK
ABUS overhead cranes have recently become part of the latest chapter in the story of a company whose bridging and heavy plate steel fabrication has helped to develop infrastructure across Europe since the 1840s.
With a product portfolio that includes steelwork for bridges and infrastructure, as well as a globally successful range of modular bridging, Mabey Bridge recently invested £38m into a new 33,000 m² custom-designed facility capable of manufacturing tubular products initially for the renewable energy market. Formally opened by the UK Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change in 2011, the production facility on the outskirts of Chepstow is capable of delivering up to 170 wind turbine towers a year and has created over 240 new skilled jobs. The company has recently expanded on this capacity to produce major tubular components for offshore renewable energy generation and other specialist applications.
Mabey Bridge’s wind turbine tower and tubular production is facilitated by a series of 20t, 32t, 40t and 63t SWL ABUS double girder ZLK overhead cranes. A number have been fitted with full length chequer-plate platforms for the maintenance of high-level services, and some feature cable reeling drums to provide a power socket on the crane hook for use with magnet lifting beams. The 63t SWL cranes were fitted with a tandem radio remote control arrangement with a feedback safety feature, which allows one crane to perfectly mirror the actions of the other. Should one crane activate a safety limit switch and slow down as a result, the other crane will do likewise, ensuring that any load being carried in tandem by the cranes remains safe.
An outdoor crane was provided for loading sheet metal onto a conveyor for shot blasting at the start of the process. This crane features weather covers, storm anchors and a Wind Measuring System to help avoid motor damage if the crane were to be used in unhelpfully high winds. Indication lights alert the operator as to the wind strength at gantry level. A full length platform for this crane was manufactured from metal mesh rather than plate to ensure that rain and snow would not collect upon it. The crane also featured three halogen floodlights to enable safe usage in conditions of poor visibility. A specially designed common crab frame holds two hoist units mounted perpendicular to the crane beams to provide lifting points for the magnet beam capable of handling sheet steel up to 16m long.
As the manufacturing facility is dedicated to manufacturing for renewable energy, the ABUS cranes needed to demonstrate energy efficiency features. ABUS specified their ABUliner inverters on all crane motions, which draw less current on start-up than standard two-speed motors. Furthermore the ABUliner invertor actually feeds electricity back into the grid whilst lowering a load.
The overhead crane delivery and installation was undertaken by ABUS’ UK based subsidiary – ABUS Crane Systems (www.abuscranes.co.uk). As the plant has a 24/7 capability, ABUS service back-up was to prove pivotal. ABUS offers its customers a rapid and dedicated service for their overhead cranes through its service organisation which has been set up specifically to provide maintenance and cover for the thousands of ABUS cranes installed in the UK from Aberdeenshire to Guernsey over the last 23 years.
For more details on Mabey Bridge, please visit www.mabey.com.