Konecranes Smart Lifting Helps Ensure Efficiency at Nippon Steel Pipe Vietnam
As port and other infrastructure developments gear up in Vietnam to handle a strongly-growing economy, foreign investment in the manufacture of construction products continues apace.
In its first production base for infrastructure materials outside of Japan, Nippon Steel has set up a company for the manufacture of steel pipe piles used for wharf pilings, motorway foundations, wall retention during excavation, land protection from sea encroachment, and similar applications.
Nippon Steel Pipe Vietnam (NPV) chose the Phu My II industrial zone in the Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, for its new factory. It began producing spiral welded pipe and seamless steel pipe from hot coil and ribbed hot coil in 2011.
Konecranes provided the large overhead cranes needed to lift and move the hot coil as well as the manufactured product about the factory. The three Konecranes cranes used at NPV include one 35 ton overhead crane for moving the raw materials and two 23 ton overhead cranes that are commonly employed in tandem for lifting and shifting the long lengths of manufactured pipe.
Steel pipe piles are typically made in lengths up to 30 metres, with orders for hundreds of pipes at a time. The pipes have high drivability into earth substructures and high reliability in use. As well, they require only a small foundation size and a short construction period.
The Konecranes cranes at NPV are a new type of high performance crane called SMARTON, designed as a customised, intelligent and environmentally sustainable solution for demanding heavy process uses. SMARTON cranes are designed to maximise safety while minimising energy consumption and downtime.
NPV chose the Konecranes brand because of their advanced technology and safety, said Mr Yoichi Maeda, General Manager (Mechanical), Construction Group, NPV.
A further factor in the supplier’s favour was that Konecranes had a large office in Singapore for technical assistance and parts. “That’s a big benefit for us, plus the fact that local help is available to us in nearby Ho Chi Minh City,” he said.
NPV has recently signed a three year maintenance agreement with Konecranes Vietnam to provide maintenance services for the three Konecranes SMARTON cranes at the factory. Maintenance will be provided on a monthly basis.
Meanwhile, NPV benefits from an innovative tandem-crane method of moving the lengthy completed pipes within the factory. This method has improved the handling of the pipes, while contributing to operator safety and ease of use, and also extending the life of the crane lifting cables.
“Using the two cranes in tandem works very well for us,” Mr Maeda said. “By suspending the long sections of pipe from two points at once, we have good control over the lifting process. The pipe doesn’t sway, which is a big safety benefit for the protection of the operators on the factory floor.
“The operators don’t require specialised knowledge or training in moving and positioning loads when the tandem method of lifting is used. They find it very good and simple.
“Prevention of swaying of the load also ensures long life of the wire ropes supporting the load. They’re not subject to stressful twisting motions,” he said.
Further safety protection for the crane operators is provided by the radio controls of the overhead cranes, which means that the operators can be well clear of the load when it is moved, Mr Maeda said.
Ms Ong Siew Hoon, Assistant Project Manager, Heavy Duty Cranes Project Team, Konecranes Southeast Asia, said that the company’s overhead crane package provided a comprehensive technological solution and had become an essential link in NPV’s production process.
“This customer looked at other manufacturers’ cranes, but our cranes are smarter and more reliable,” she said. “The number one benefit for NPV in this application is the smart features such as sway control, tandem operation and provision for our remote service, TruView.”
Applications of SMARTON cranes, in capacities initially up to 250 tons 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.
Because they are compact, SMARTON cranes can save building and building services costs by fitting into smaller structures. This 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.
All three Konecranes cranes at NPV have provision for TruView, which enables cranes to be remotely supervised 24 hrs via a SIM card or WiFi. This hardware is installed on all SMARTON cranes and can be fitted to Konecranes’ other crane types.
TruView remote service is advanced technology that results in crane maintenance when needed, based on actual crane usage, rather than on a fixed monthly or quarterly basis. The crane usage figures are recorded and transmitted to Konecranes. This vital information is captured and used to improve crane safety, while optimising the customer’s return on investments in maintenance. The right maintenance occurs at precisely the right time, with fewer service visits required.
The Konecranes cranes at NPV also benefit from the DynaPilot sway control system, which eliminates load swing to optimise the use of the crane’s speed and acceleration while still allowing the operator to position the load accurately. DynaPilot delivers precise load control, improves productivity and increases safety in the factory. This is very important in environments involving heavy and valuable loads.
DynaPilot sway control is integrated into the crane’s inverter drive and so requires no additional mechanical components.
SMARTON’s innovative technology
“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 Mr Steve Gagnuss, Konecranes South-East Asia Regional Director.
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,” said Mr Gagnuss.
A key driver of the SMARTON 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.
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,” Mr Gagnuss said.
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. 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.
Konecranes is a world-leading provider of lifting and maintenance solutions, with a track record in pioneering, leading and shaping developments in the industry. The company employs more than 9,700 people at more than 485 locations in 43 countries and has more than 373,000 cranes of all brands under service contracts.
Dredging Today Staff, December 1, 2011; Image: konecranes