Long reach, low fuel: the continuous improvement of floating grab cranes



NKM Noell Special Cranes, Hoofddorp, The Netherlands


Efficiency is the key for harbor cranes in modern times. Faster, greater capacity, longer reaches, heaver loads, fuel efficiency, low emissions and many other aspects determine the applicability of the harbor crane of the future.

These factors formed the basis for the design of the Lemniscate-type crane, developed for high efficiency bulk handling. The continuous development of mater ials and technology offers the opportunity for continuous improvement. In 2005 NKM Noell reentered the harbor crane market with the innovative new design of the traditional Lemniscate-type crane. The basis of the NKM Floating Grab Crane design is a study of the types of operating cranes. The top five findings are that reach, capacity, cost, environment and reliability are most important for the operator.

Technology & innovation

Handling 2,000 tons per hour is no exception for the floating grab crane. Not the grab’s size but the efficiency of the crane is the key. This efficiency is created by balancing the complete system for optimal speeds, which can be based on the actual load, work cycle and travel path of the grab.

Due to design constraints, the older Lemniscate-type cranes are limited to a flight of 43 meters. With the use of advanced materials and construction techniques, we have successfully crossed this boundary. Our latest design now offers a flight of 47 meters, and further increase is anticipated in the future.

Our approach to capacity is the sum of speed, travel efficiency and sheer grab size. By utilizing the power to increase speed at minimum load, optimal crane efficiency leads to maximum performance. Like the rest of the crane, the operator cabin is designed in conjunction with the user; as a result the operator seat has an unobstructed view in three dimensions, reaching 270 degrees horizontal and 135 degrees vertical. This allows the operator’s work position to be ergonomically optimized, and also makes the crane safer.

Not only does the unobstructed view of the operator increase safety, but also the ergonomic placement of the controls and camera systems, allowing the operator to check the machine room, pedestal and other places. Access to the cabin is routed outside the areas with moving machines, such as the gearboxes and hoists. For safety purposes, the cabin can be accessed either by a divided ladder or with an elevator.

Green solutions

Port technology has more and more demand for environmentally friendly technological installations. Not only must the fuel consumption and the emissions be considered, but the entire life-cycle must be taken into account if a Green Passport is to be issued.

In the Lemniscate-type design, environmental concerns are very important for the efficiency of the crane, and are used to optimize the movement and speed. To improve fuel economy, NKM Noell included technology for storing excess energy while braking, which is used to reduce the total power consumption of the crane in operation. This technology reduces the peak load and leads to a substantial reduction in emission of soot particles and noxious gas emissions.

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