Energy chain with monitoring and predictive maintenance for RMG crane

Retrofit of intelligent sensor system in outdoor crane to increase the service life of the energy chain

This RMG (rail mounted gantry) crane, or rail mounted bridge crane, uses two energy chains mounted in opposite directions on a travel of 113m due to the high number of cables. In order to increase the lifetime of the chain and the service life of the crane, a safety system was installed to shut down the cable guidance in case of damage, as well as a preventive maintenance system. These smart plastics components were retrofitted and were not mounted on the e-chain from the start.


smart plastics on RMG crane

Products used

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The challenge

As with most machines, this crane is designed for long and constant operating times. Even short and especially unplanned stops are undesirable and must be avoided.
However, the high number of cables in the two e-chains imposes a high load and stress on them. In addition to the desired long service life in connection with the high loads mentioned, the most varied weather­­conditions naturally also come into play. Wind and weather put a strain on the material, but the function should be 100% guaranteed in every season, because the cranes in port facilities have to perform at their best.
Therefore, it was the customer's wish to install both a safety system that switches off in the event of damage (condition monitoring) and a preventive system (predictive maintenance), which in addition to a signal also provides a maintenance recommendation and the remaining service life of the product.
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Therefore, the customer opted for the complete smart plastics crane package and now has full control, overview and safety for the energy supply on his RMG crane:
Specifically, in the crane today there are  3 condition monitoring systems i.Sense EC.P (push/pull force monitoring on e-chains®), i.Sense CF.P (tensile force monitoring on cables) and i.Sense EC.B (breakage detection on e-chains).
On the other hand, a predictive maintenance system was also installed. All systems are coordinated with one another and delivered and installed as a package.
Thanks to the condition monitoring, in case of an incident with an energy chain, be it a bent guide trough, foreign bodies in the guide trough, a blockage or the breakage of a chain link, the crane operator can be informed about the incident and, if desired, the system can also be stopped immediately.
Predictive maintenance, on the other hand, avoids any further incidents before they can occur. When maintenance is required, a signal is transmitted with the associated information. All sensor data e.g. temperature, acceleration or speed can be viewed in real time online or on the company network via a dashboard.

smart plastics on RMG crane with EC.B EC.B Sensor on the moving end: installation was carried out by means of a mounting plate on the steel mounting bracket
smart plastics module on RMG crane smart plastics modules in the switch cabinet: installed right on the top-hat (DIN) rail

General smart plastics overview

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Topic overview:
  • Condition monitoring (i.Sense)
  • Condition monitoring products
  • Condition monitoring application examples
  • Predictive maintenance (i.Cee)
  • Application examples for predictive maintenance
  • Predictive maintenance data flows
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