Multinational construction manufacturing corporation Komatsu’s equipment remanufacturing centre is a critical element in the company’s new campus in Tunney Industrial Estate, Edenvale.
Extending over 11 372 m2 under roof, the facility is the flagship for Komatsu in the Southern African region and complements the colocated parts distribution centre, training centre, equipment workshops and Komatsu Africa Holdings head office.
“When components for Komatsu machinery reach the end of their working life, they are sent to the Komatsu Reman Centre for remanufacturing to stringent specifications. To quickly and efficiently complete the process to professionally high standards, equipment and components need to move freely and safely between the various workstations,” says campus management company Metrum Project Management senior project manager Jayson van Tonder.
As such, it was important to find a solution that could adapt to the very specific requirements of the remanufacturing facility. “Having worked with crane manufacturer and supplier RGM Cranes on projects for the training centre and workshops on the new campus, we were confident that, together with overhead crane original-equipment manufacturer Güralp, RGM Cranes was ideally suited to tackling the engineering challenges presented by Komatsu’s cranage requirements,” Van Tonder comments.
The project scope was the first of its kind in Africa, because of the tonnage and engineering requirements, as well as the work flow aspects. While wall travelling jib cranes are not an uncommon item in the African market, the application and scope of work requirements were what differentiated the project.
“We required cranage that could not only handle higher capacities, but that could seamlessly slide back and forth above all the work stations without interfering or obstructing the work area,” says Van Tonder.
The initial discussions around the project began in early 2018 and the conceptualisation was completed later that year. The final decisions and engineering proposals were completed in May 2019 and the final order placement was negotiated and agreed upon in late July 2019.
A highly collaborative relationship was required between all stakeholders to meet the very specific parameters set by Komatsu. This entailed numerous visits by the RGM Cranes technical team to Güralp in Turkey, as well as visits by the Güralp technical advisers to South Africa to liaise with, and provide advice to, the teams responsible for bringing the project to fruition.
Van Tonder explains that not only was a comprehensive understanding of the structure crucial to the success of the projects, but the team also needed to have a thorough comprehension of the required operation of the cranes from Komatsu themselves.
Ultimately, this meant that the structure was engineered in terms of Komatsu’s operations, with all deflection ratios required to meet non-negotiable specifications.
The project called for 25 new overhead cranes: 17 double girder wall travelling jib cranes, each with a 6 t capacity, a reach of 7 m and an 8 m height of lift. Four 32/12 t double girder overhead cranes, with spans of 16 m and 18 m respectively, and a 12 m height of lift.
Additionally, three 25 t double girder overhead cranes, with a span of 18 m and 12 m height of lift for their respective bays and one 5 t single girder underslung overhead crane, with an 8 m span and 5 m height of lift, were required.
The overhead cranes are used in their respective bays for manoeuvring the larger pieces of the equipment being remanufactured into place for disassembly into smaller, more manageable components. Each jib crane is used to transfer the completed components to various operating lines along its travel length, as well as in the smaller equipment areas, for assembly and fabrication purposes.
“The Güralp hoist monitoring system will also enable Komatsu to keep track of various parameters on the overhead cranes including operating hours, service intervals, and the amount of maximum lifts achieved in a single shift. This state-of-the-art technology and the upgraded integration of the complete system, will place Komatsu in a very competitive position and will enhance productivity, efficiency and worker safety,” says RGM Cranes MD Alex Dowling.
The first phase of the crane installation commenced in mid-November 2019, with the 5 t underslung crane. This was followed by the installation, commissioning and testing of the remaining cranes over a record six-week period earlier this year. The operability of the cranes was thoroughly tested and the entire project was handed over to the client in early August.
“The cranes have been used to move in the equipment required for remanufacturing, in order to facilitate the opening of the plant in the coming month. The remanufacturing team have expressed their great satisfaction at the capabilities of the cranes and are keen to start using them in the remanufacturing process,” concludes Van Tonder.