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“I’ll call you”

No, it’s not someone slipping out of an unwelcome lunch date, it’s a crane checking in with its service engineer for its next overhaul. And it’s very much part of KCI Konecranes’ vision of the future of crane maintenance.

KCI Konecranes’ Control Pro monitoring units may seem very unassuming, visually, but they hide a wealth of opportunities. One indication of their importance is the fact that they can be found as a standard feature of virtually all the company’s crane deliveries today, including retrofits on many of the cranes that KCI Konecranes services.

They already play an important role in maximising the service life of cranes, and have the potential to play an even more important role in the future.

Today’s cranes can ‘call home’ when they have a problem or are approaching a scheduled service outage, thanks to the link now possible between Control Pro units and service engineers’ mobile phones.

Clear upside

Control Pro collects a range of operational data, including the number of hours a crane is operated, how many times it is started up, its load cycles, the loads it carries, and alarms and overload situations. It also acts as a security device, preventing equipment being overloaded, and keeps a running check on maintenance intervals as well.

It is a key tool for monitoring the service life of a crane and helping ensure that this is the maximum possible under the conditions it is operating in. Where processes change, for example, and cranes are called on to do more than they were originally planned for, Control Pro-based systems can provide data for seeing how these changes impact a unit and how they can translate into changed service needs. It is also invaluable as a tool for troubleshooting problems.

Control Pro enables KCI Konecranes to see how components age, and where wear and tear is actually taking place – all in virtual real time.

The upside of this is clear: less downtime and lower costs, and better productivity – critical issues for high-throughput process industries, but also important for virtually any customer in today’s highly competitive marketplace.

Better by design

Two areas where Control Pro-generated data will prove even more valuable in the future are best practices and R&D and plant design.

This data can provide ready-made input for companies wanting to analyse their logistics performance across different locations, benchmark reference performance, and encourage the spread of best operating practices between sites.

It can also help Konecranes, and its customers, dimension and specify new systems more accurately, based on empirical information from existing systems.

Service engineers also now have the possibility to access Control Pro-generated data wirelessly via their mobile phones. As a result, they will soon not need to hook up to the net or access customer systems to check the situation at a site, as their cranes will be able to call them and tell them what they need and when, and check in with Konecranes’ spare parts people as well, to alert them to an upcoming order.

> Franciska Janzon
(Published in High Technology Finland )