“Downtime or technical failures are naturally the biggest concern for any operator and owner of port handling equipment,” says H. Önder Türker from Portunus Port Spares & Services, in view of their recent ship-to-shore (STS) crane refurbishment and upgrade work for PSA Mersin Port, Turkey.
He says the larger ships, being designed to meet economies of scale, demand cranes that operate more efficiently and reliably. However, when they break down, terminal operators must find speedy ways of getting them back on track. It is generally accepted that port handling equipment, under the stress and strain of a busy cargo handling operation, will experience technical problems or failure. As cranes age, what was state-of-the-art technology is soon surpassed by newer and more innovative technology or solutions, which more often dramatically improve the crane performance, help lower operating costs or both. These were some of the challenges Portunus Port Spares & Services faced in bringing these STS cranes into the twentyfirst century, and with many years of experience in inspection, refurbishment, upgrades and spare parts, they were best placed to undertake this job for PSA Mersin.
After evaluating the cranes’ condition, work began and included installing the latest in crane control systems from Siemens (Siemens S7300), to help automate the crane. This is one of the most successful controllers on the market and serves as a universal automation system for centralised or decentralised configurations. As an integrated system it will save additional investment and maintenance costs.
Many older crane cabins were not designed with ergonomics in mind and less emphasis was made back in the 1970s and 1980s, unlike today. The cabins have been designed to ensure greater safety and comfort, with the aid of a touch-screen system and an automatic parking system. A new computer has been installed for reporting failures and faults to allow faster diagnostics and quicker repairs, and thus help increase crane availability.
Furthermore, many older cranes were not designed with high levels of safety as they are today. Wind speed sensors have been installed so that, in the advent of high wind speed, the system will not permit cranes to move.
Crane load measurement systems have also been installed, and these are critical elements to the safe operation and the longevity of the crane. For anti-collision, other sensors have been installed to help detect anyone or any object at a distance of 1-5 metres. A complete overhaul of the crane hoist gear and gantry crane gear was performed. The trolley systems used in the gearbox and carden shaft were replaced with a direct drive gear system to help minimize failures. A total of 16,800 metres of cable, for higher data and power transmission, 428 metres of crane hoist rope and 22,500 nuts and bolts were renewed and replaced over three cranes.
A new brake system was installed, and brake pad sensors were attached for faster reporting. A spreader control drum replaced the cart (basket) system. Maintenance was also carried out on the lifting reductors and boom gear; the electrical room and high voltage substation were inspected, and a high voltage transformer compartment ventilation system for cooling and AC and DC motors was also installed.
Upon completion, Lloyds Turkey came to carry out a revision and control test, and certified all work performed. Önder says that, with the many additional features and changes, it has greatly transformed the performance of the cranes by at least 20 to 30 percent. Missing out on such improvements can make the difference between losing and gaining competitive advantage over your competition.