Bearing the Weight
Preventative maintenance of double-girder bridge cranes is essential to the production and safe operation of Palm Paper's manufacturing facilities in Germany.
Churning out corrugated paper (the base material for packaging) at Pal Paper's Wörth am Rhein factory, is paper machine No. 6 (PM6).
Paper is big business in Germany where trade body, the Verband Deutscher Papierfabriken (VDP), estimates consumption at 23 million tonnes annually, with demand from the packaging industry growing at 3.4 per cent last year.
As with Pal Paper's nine recycled paper plants in Baden-Württemberg, the Wörth am Rhein facility relies on double-girder bridge cranes to transport gigantic paper rolls used for production safely.
In 2018 its eleven overhead cranes handled 650,000 tonnes of corrugated base paper and are so pivotal to continuous production that Sven Bohrer, Pal Paper's on-site electrical engineer, says: "In the event of a single crane breaking down, operations will have to stop or slow which will cost time as well as money".
When Palm last invited Konecranes to inspect eight of these cranes, maintenance engineers identified a significant risk to future production that required replacement of an entire set of hoisting gears.
Partnering to support production
Konecranes' close partnership with Palm Paper extends beyond in Baden-Württemberg to five other factories that produce approximately 2.2 million tons of newsprint and corrugated base paper from recycled paper products.
As inspections of oil used in hoisting gears can provide evidence of worn metal components and the accumulation of waste substances - a telltale sign of impending equipment failure, Konecranes technicians routinely engage with their counterparts at Pal Paper and perform additional, endoscopic inspections of crane components.
Explaining the benefits, Nico Zamzow, Vice President Industrial Service EMEA Central for Konecranes, says: "oil analyses protect cranes and allow damage to be identified and treated early. Moreover, system operators are able to optimise the maintenance and servicing of cranes and significantly extend their lifespan.
"Comparing the current state of oil with samples taken previously and against OEM manufacturer criteria, also allows us to use trend analysis to provide the best possible picture of any change within the condition of the gearbox."
Mark Goringe, Konecranes Industrial Service - Area Director, Mid West Europe, adds:"The benefits of Oil analysis as a predictive maintenance tool for identifying problems early on is proven to minimize the risk to production and safety. We, in the United Kingdom, now offer this as a standard solution to support our existing customers".
Jürgen Friedmann, head of Mechanics for Palm Paper, says: "Konecranes experts have had a very flexible approach to our demands for the availability and productivity of our cranes. Thanks to the oil analysis and the endoscopic investigation, our cranes will now run without issues in the years to come."