First Of Its Kind Flagship Overhead Crane System Creates Efficient And Safe Working Environment At Komatsu’s New Remanufacturing Facility

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RGM Cranes

Komatsu’s Mining & Construction equipment remanufacturing centre is a critical element in the company’s new campus in Tunney Industrial Estate, Edenvale. Extending over 11 372m2 under roof, the facility is the flagship for Komatsu in the southern African region and complements the co-located 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, instead of replacing with new, they are sent to the Komatsu Reman Centre for remanufacturing to stringent specifications. In order 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 Jayson van Tonder, senior project manager for Metrum Project Management, the company tasked with managing the entire campus project.

It was important to find a solution that could adapt to the very specific requirements of the remanufacturing facility. “Having worked with RGM Cranes on projects within the training centre and workshops on the new campus, we were confident that together with overhead crane OEM Güralp, RGM Cranes was ideally suited to tackle the engineering challenges presented by Komatsu’s cranage requirements in the remanufacturing facility,” says Van Tonder.

The project scope of supply was the first of its kind in Africa, based on the tonnage requirements, work flow aspects and engineering requirements. “Wall travelling jib cranes are not an uncommon item within the African market, but the application and scope of work requirements were what differentiated this 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 in order 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 advisors 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 on which the cranes would work 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 outlined by them.

The project called for 25 new overhead cranes:

  • 17 double girder wall travelling jib cranes, each with a 6-ton capacity, a reach of 7 metres and an 8 metre height of lift
  • Four 32/12-ton double girder overhead cranes, with spans of 16 and 18 metres respectively, and a 12 metre height of lift
  • Three 25-ton double girder overhead cranes, with a span of 18 and 12 metres height of lift for their respective bays
  • One 5-ton single girder underslung overhead crane, with an 8 metre span and 5 metre height of lift.

The overhead cranes are utilised 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, and they are also used 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 Alex Dowling, managing director at RGM Cranes.

The first phase of the crane installation commenced in mid-November 2019, with the 5-ton 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 then 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,” says Van Tonder.