Overhead crane runway systems are subject to loading and wear forces on a regular basis. So it is no surprise that they face operational and safety issues from time to time. No doubt, you should frequently inspect the cranes and hoists. But the crane runways and their supporting systems should also be thoroughly inspected to ensure the proper working of them. For an accurate runway inspections, you should always call an expert, that is, a professional inspector. You should also have to give him full access to your runway so that they can inspect the entire runway. The inspector must inspect the runway both visually and physically. The area of inspection includes both sides of the runway length as well as runway girders and columns.
What checks should a typical runway inspection include?
A typical crane runway inspection is always to be performed by an expert in this field. It is a visual assessment by an individual specially trained to perform such inspections. A professional inspector will thoroughly assess your crane runway and its supporting systems. And then, they will give you a detailed report on the overall health of your crane runway system. They will find conditions that might prove to be harmful to your overhead crane and suggest repairs or further inspection. However, you’ve to remember that a routine checkup of your runway’s health is not an engineering analysis. It is not an alignment survey either. It helps diagnose the causes of certain problematic conditions present in your system. It also tells what you can do to resolve them.
When a professional inspects your runway system, they perform a thorough assessment of the supporting structure of your crane runway. From the rail and its fastening system to runway girders and tiebacks to bracing, everything goes through a rigorous assessment. The tiebacks include both girder tiebacks as well as column tiebacks. Girder seats and stools, runway end stops, grout and hardware are among other things that a runway inspector assesses. Also, if applicable, an inspector checks the column and column bases during an assessment.
A professional runway inspector checks the entire length of the runways to ensure the elimination of all possible adverse conditions. They check each hardware component thoroughly and accurately to ensure their tight grip. They mark the deficient and defective items or areas on the spot and include them within the report. Racking, inventory and process equipment make access using a lift not only impractical but also impractical. In this case, the inspector needs to walk the runway to ensure a proper inspection. Not installing a properly designed runway fall protection system could prove to be fatal in such a situation. Installing a properly designed runway fall protection system allows the inspector to walk the length of the runway safely.
Conditions prevalent during runway inspections
There are certain deficient conditions that the inspectors find during almost all crane runway inspections. Here is a list of the conditions prevalent during inspections:
- Improperly installed runways are very common during routine checkups of overhead crane runways. Most of the time, the runway installation is pretty unsuitable and unprofessional. They also don’t match IS and ISO requirements.
- Loose rail attachment bolts or clips are also very common finds that can make a runway’s alignment improper.
- Loose nuts, bolts and many other parts can fall to the ground and go missing, leading to various safety issues.
- Rail splice bars, if missing or loose, are capable enough to cause adjacent rails to raise gaps. That, in turn, can cause the wearing off of bridge wheels and bearings.
- Excessive rail wear is a definite sign of multiple crane alignment issues and can cause wheel wear.
- Worn off rail tiebacks are prone to break and cause runway alignment issues. They can contribute to girder failure as well.
- Runway girders gradually develop cracks due to excessive stress.
- Mishandled loads or ground-based tools can cause severe damage to runway columns.
- With each passing day, runway column bases and shelves can gradually decay and develop elevation problems.
The recommended frequency of crane runway inspections
The question that perplexes most people is how frequently you should put your crane runway through a thorough inspection. The frequency of crane runway assessments depends on multiple factors. These factors include the usage level of your overhead crane, design criteria as well as industry standards. So it is no surprise that the frequency of runway inspections varies from crane to crane.
The primary recommended frequency of inspections should not be more than two years. As your crane gets older, you may need to put your crane through a runway assessment annually or bi-annually.
However, remember this – previously collected data and prior assessments of the system play a big part in determining this frequency. So it’ll be wise to call a qualified and trained expert to provide you with the necessary recommendations and suggestions.
To ensure the maximum safety and workability of your crane, an inspector should periodically inspect the runway of your crane. That includes all the parts of your crane’s runway as well as its supporting structure.