Production demands throughout various industries have disrupted workflows worldwide; many companies are experiencing a need to invest in new, reliable material handling equipment to keep up with increased production operations.
Purchasing new systems, particularly overhead cranes, is expensive and requires high up-front investment.
Fortunately, if your facility has an existing overhead crane system, there’s a simpler and cheaper way to achieve greater efficiency.
Older crane systems were designed with DC controls because they easily supplied the power necessary to drive large, industrial equipment. While they were great in their prime, DC controls are outdated technology that severely limit the performance of the crane system. With increased performance requirements in the industry, many crane manufacturers shifted the standard to AC drive technology.
AC power is much more efficient and cost-effective than DC controls because the lower HP motors draw less amperage. AC motors are also more compact and require less maintenance than the DC counterparts, making them a great way to maximize operations without consistent maintenance costs.
Upgrading to AC power also facilitates the use of variable frequency drives and the addition of safety features and automation. Most customers who upgrade to AC systems incorporate collision avoidance features to help minimize the long-term effects of hard-stops of the crane. Customers that have requested modernization to AC drives have reported improved brake performance and significant cutbacks on their maintenance budgets after implementation.
By contrast, DC contactors don’t work well with variable frequency drives. The lack of alternating energy waves permits a high rush of current to hit the system, adding stress to the equipment. To mitigate potential wear and tear, constant maintenance of the crane is required with a DC contactor, increasing operational costs.
Modernizing a crane system to AC power is an effective strategy to increase performance and reliability while reducing maintenance costs. Instead of removing structurally and mechanically sound equipment, companies can update them with modern technology designed to improve performance.