A new overhead crane and an additional coil trolley have been installed in the delivery warehouse at the Aperam stainless-steel mill in Genk, Belgium. The investment significantly increases the delivery flexibility of the plant, confirming the company’s strategy of improving overall agility.
Astute investment accelerates delivery
The delivery warehouse at Aperam Genk comprises five connected 100+-metre buildings where the sheets and coils coming from the different production lines are stored. A specialized overhead crane, RB1, has been in place since the 1960s to load the sheets onto trucks for delivery to steel service centres. Aperam recently decided to replace this crane for various reasons, operational efficiency and safety being the most important. “With RB1 it was difficult to manipulate the sheets, which are two metres wide and up to ten metres long,” explains Internal Logistics Coordinator Jaco Van Oirbeek. “It was a hell of a job trying to position the sheets accurately in the middle of the 2.4-metre wide trucks, because it was a fixed-speed single-hoist crane with no features to improve convenience for the operator.”
Gaining time with each truck load
After a field visit to a steel service centre in nearby Bree, Aperam elected to replace RB1 with a dual hoist crane equipped with frequency control, and that made a huge difference. “Stability is much better, especially when handling long sheets. The operators needed to get used to the crane’s behaviour and responsiveness, which is completely different due to the frequency control, but now that they master the thing it works perfectly, allowing us to gain time with each truck load operation. Operators are also delighted with the airconditioned control cabin and the comfortable chair. It’s important to keep our people motivated, isn’t it?”
Operators are delighted with the new crane. It’s important to keep our people motivated, isn’t it?
Double the coil reception capacity
Aperam also installed an additional coil trolley in the delivery warehouse. “This is a custom-made trolley for transporting coils from the production line into the delivery storage. We call it a ‘metro’, referring to the speed with which it allows us to receive coils. By installing a second one, we could almost double the warehouses’ coil reception capacity, which was needed to respond to increasing demand for stainless steel coils.”
Both the overhead crane and the coil trolley were custom-made to allow the reusing at least part of the existing installation.
- DBK class M4/4m overhead crane of 22.5 m with two 8 tonnes hoists on one trolley
- Lifting beam to fit three different tongues
- Frequency controlled movements: hoisting at 16m/min, trolley speed 50m/min, crane speed 120m/min
- Maintenance platforms at both sides of the girder with the trolley being easily accessible
- Safety system for safe crane access at four sides.
- Control cabin and RF control
The coil trolley needed to fit the unconventional existing rail infrastructure.
- 120 tonnes capacity
- 45m/min speed with frequency control