Mobile harbour crane technology has become an increasing feature in bulk terminals, a trend that is strongly reflected in the 22 four-rope grab cranes that Gottwald Port Technology sold last year (26.8 per cent of orders) in what was once a market dominated by purpose-built equipment.
For a long time now, in addition to building a broad range of mobile harbour cranes for a variety of cargoes, Gottwald has a thriving trade in bulk handling applications, notably coal. Having introduced the mobile harbour crane to the market some 50 years ago, the company innovatively started to manufacture the four-rope grab version for professional bulk handling in the early 1980s.
Today, bulk handlers can choose between mobile harbour cranes and portal harbour and floating cranes based on proven mobile harbour crane technology. All three crane types are based on the standardised concept and are available as fourrope grab variants.
With these developments Gottwald has pioneered the use of all types of its harbour cranes in both multipurpose and specialised terminals. Furthermore, the company is optimistic that its presence in bulk terminals will continue to grow, given the positive feedback on the new Generation 5 harbour cranes, launched in spring 2006.
Generation 5 is said to put Gottwald cranes on a level with special equipment for both container and bulk handling. With numerous versatile variants and a further upgrading in terms of performance, as reflected for instance in lifting capacities of up to 200 tonnes in heavy lift and a 63-tonnes grab curve, increased hoisting speeds, drive powers, crane classification and moves per hour, the cranes can handle all types of cargo, in all kinds of terminals, on all ship sizes.
To date, Gottwald has sold more than 1,000 harbour cranes worldwide, of which more than 180 were four-rope-grab cranes. A significant proportion of these cranes are used for coal handling, a development fuelled by the growing energy requirement. So what, apart from high performance, are the benefits that induce leading bulk terminals to make full use of these gentle giants on a daily basis?
A low initial capital outlay, reduced overheads for the quayside infrastructure as well as short delivery and assembly times are decisive points in favour of Gottwald Harbour Crane types when compared to purpose-built equipment.
Flexibility is another major asset. The cranes can easily be integrated in existing or future workflows and infrastructures. Mobile harbour and floating cranes can be relocated fairly easily to another quay or port to suit changing conditions, and this further increases the resale value. Even with the four-rope grab version is there an allowance to cater for other types of cargo, such as general cargo and containers.
The proven Gottwald Mobile Harbour Crane technology, used to date in over 1,000 cranes, is a further key factor highlighted by customers. A perfect example is the Gottwald-typical dieselelectric drive providing excellent availability and efficiency as well as low fuel consumption.
As an option, the cranes can be powered by the shore mains, resulting in a further reduction of operating and maintenance costs. In addition, environmental protection is further increased by avoiding exhaust gases and reducing noise pollution. While mobile harbour and floating cranes can optionally be prepared for using external power, portal harbour cranes are normally equipped with the necessary equipment from the outset.