The life cycle of a working crane’s wheels is a stressful one.
With the amount of pressure and movement they withstand day in, and day out, crane wheel maintenance is paramount.
When it comes to preventative measures to keep crane wheels in fine working order, here are some of the most important you should know.
How to Keep Crane Wheels in Working Order
A working crane is a host to a set of polyurethane or carbon steel wheels which play a vital role in the function of the crane.
This set of wheels refers to a runway system upon which the crane sits, moving along a track- also known as rail wheels.
Despite being manufactured from a seriously tough material, they still require regular maintenance. Otherwise, you could be faced with severe downtime.
Typically, gantry crane wheels are manufactured from polyurethane while other wheel materials may include alloy, low-carbon steel or medium-carbon steel.
The higher the rate of carbon in the steel, the more robust a crane wheel will be.
Heat treated carbon wheels also make for extremely hard-wearing wheels, increasing their load capacity and lifespan.
Some of the most common preventative measures to preserve your crane wheels include:
1. Changing Drive Wheels in Pairs
Most commonly, spare wheels are kept onsite in the instance where a rail wheel must be replaced.
But it’s essential to always swap out the drive wheels of a crane in pairs, and not as singular wheels.
This may seem like a waste, especially if the other drive wheel is still in relatively good working order. But failing to do so will lead to crane alignment issues down the line.
Just because the opposite drive wheel is not showing any visual signs of wear and tear, doesn’t mean it’s in 100% working order.
Nine-times-out-of-ten, it’s also very close to failure because it has been under counteractive strain.
Mainly, your crane drive wheels need to be precisely matched in diameter to avoid crane skew, flange and rail wear.
According to the CMAA, the safety standard is that the matching drive wheel must be .001 per inch in diameter with a maximum of .01 inches.
2. Misaligned Crane Runways
This can lead to what is commonly known as crane skew and misalignment issues.
If a reputable professional does not install your crane’s runway system, this can lead to significant issues with not only the wheels but entire crane system.
When a crane is not tracking correctly along the runway, this causes damage to the drive wheels, runway beams, and support structures.
This type of crane damage can ultimately lead to:
- Crane derailment or complete failure
- Prolonged equipment downtime
- Expensive repairs and replacements
- Serious or fatal job site accidents
A crane that fails to track correctly puts excessive strain on the wheels, wheel bearings, and wheel flanges. This can also contribute to damage to the crane’s motor drives.
If you notice any of the following signs, your crane runway may be misaligned:
- Broken or cracked wheel flanges
- A high rate of wear and tear on drive wheels, bearings and rails
- A higher rate of power needed to maneuver the crane along the runway
- Wheels that float over the rail, then crash down
- Loud, scraping noises as wheels travel along the runway
The best way to preserve your crane wheels is to ensure your crane alignment is regularly inspected by a reputable third-party. These third-party experts will be able to safeguard your crane is in compliance with CMAA standards and is entirely safe for operation.
Looking for Speciality Crane Parts?
Whether you’re looking for high-quality crane wheels, custom fabrication or specific crane parts, Kor-Pak offers the service you need.
Our primary goal as a business is to reduce your downtime, supplying heavy industry machine parts at peak efficiency.
Contact us today for all your specialty crane parts.