Upgrading crane brakes without breaking the bank



Lawrence E. Chizmar, Jr, Pintsch Bubenzer USA, Flemington, NJ, USA


Reasonably priced container crane brake upgrades and rebuilds maintain overall crane safety and performance, while helping to extend a crane’s useful lifespan.

Mid-life considerations
There are many active STS container cranes in the 20-40 year old category, and some that have exceeded 40 years of useful life. Crane designers did not necessarily anticipate such longevity in the 1960’s and 70’s when a 20-year active life for a container crane was considered standard. Advances in computers, structural fatigue analysis, drive upgrades etc. have contributed to this longevity. Although often overlooked when keeping older cranes in service, upgraded or rebuilt crane brakes play an important part in maintaining container crane safety and productivity.

Don’t be eccentric
Container crane main hoist brakes should always be capable of stopping and holding the rated safe working load of a crane. All early cranes utilised drum brakes with asbestos linings for all service braking functions (main and boom hoist, and trolley). Given the availability of superior disc braking technology, and the outlawing of asbestos, any remaining main hoist drum brakes on active cranes should be replaced with caliper disc brakes. A typical example of such a replacement is shown in Figure 1 and 2.

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