V-type double-girder cranes lift locomotives with smart tandem control
Safely lifting locomotives in Czechia
Four Demag V-type double-girder cranes with used in the production of locomotives at CZ LOKO
CZ LOKO launched production in a new workshop at the beginning of this year. This Czech company is the second leading European manufacturer of shunters, striving to become the leader. The new, generously equipped workshop is one step towards this goal.
The history of CZ LOKO dates back to 1849 when a railway factory was established in Česká Třebová; this historical area is now a part of the company, with the second centre of production workshops in Jihlava, where the new workshop can be found. You might wonder where the locomotives manufactured here are used and why you do not see them on the tracks. CZ LOKO locomotives are designed for a different type of work. Shunters can be usually seen inside large production facilities where they move rail cars over shorter distances. These locomotives play an irreplaceable role in these applications. The wide range of customers includes, for example, companies in metallurgy or the paper and the wood-processing industry. Some of the locomotives are also specifically modified for train or metro track maintenance in many European countries. Rail transport is among the cheapest and most ecological, offering enormous future potential.
“The new workshop is especially important for our future development,” says Michal Schaffer, Marketing Manager in CZ LOKO. He continues: “Our plan is to have three finished locomotives leave the workshop every month.”
On the way to sustainability
CZ LOKO is looking towards the future. The automotive industry is not the only sector focusing on electric drives. Standard shunters have always used combustion engines, but CZ LOKO was the first to manufacture locomotives with a hybrid engine of their own design in 2003. The company continues to expand its portfolio in this direction, with the aim to achieve sustainability in the use of resources.
You can easily imagine a locomotive as a jigsaw puzzle. The initial platform is the frame, onto which various modules are installed. The first module contains pneumatic equipment, which uses compressed air to drive other parts of the locomotive. The second module is for cooling, the third module contains the engine with a generator. This is followed by the cab module, and the last module includes the electric equipment.
“Finally, the chassis manufactured in Česká Třebová is installed below the frame,” Michal Schaffer concludes the highly simplified description.
New workshop with new Demag cranes
The individual modules are manufactured and assembled at various workstations at CZ LOKO. Their weight is naturally high, which makes handling them more difficult. Therefore, the recently built workshop includes four Demag ZVKE double-girder bridge cranes with a load capacity of 32 tonnes.
Miroslav Veltruský, the Demag sales representative, explains what makes them extraordinary: “The cranes need to handle large and heavy loads with a high level of precision. Therefore, the crabs are equipped with special hoists for precise lifting, which ensures that the hook remains in one axis when lifting and lowering the load.”
Demag V-type cranes have, among other advantages, excellent dynamics and a long service life thanks to their low deadweight. There are several workstations in the building and the four Demag standard cranes optimally cover their needs. When a load weighing more than 32 tonnes needs to be handled, the cranes can operate in a tandem of two cranes on one track to lift up to 64 tonnes together.
Demag SafeControl controls smart-tandem operation. Handling of the bulky locomotive components requires two cranes working perfectly together for safe and reliable transport. The operator can always see the function on the display of their DRC radio control system and on the large display of the Demag StatusBoard on the crane girder. In addition, the StatusBoard can visualise the current operating statuses of the crane in real time. These include, for example, load capacity, total load, overload, duty type or the activated assistance and convenience features of the SafeControl system – for transparent and, above all, safe control of the crane.
Why did CZ LOKO choose this solution? “Firstly, we wanted quality cranes we can rely on. It was also important that the Demag staff accommodated us in all our requirements. All my colleagues agree that the level of cooperation during the delivery of the cranes was extraordinary,” Mr. Schaffer speaks highly of the tender winner.
The quality of the Demag V-type cranes is reflected, for instance, by the patented joints that can reduce their oscillation frequency by 30%. The braced girder design reduces the weight of the crane by 17% on average and doubles the service life to up to 500,000 load cycles.
Miroslav Veltruský explained why they decided to use the V-type cranes in this particular application: “Considering their weight and load-bearing capacity, this design is lighter, while stronger, which leads to more stable movement of the load when the crane travels. That helped us save the “kilograms” (and also the price) of the crane runway girders. The ability of the design to allow light to pass through in such a large workshop is also important.”
Shunters are not sprinters, but marathon runners, and so the company is also busy with repairs and modernisations of older models, which is another good example of being kind to our planet. Long-term savings can also be achieved by regular care of the production equipment. Demag Service, by far the largest organisation of its kind in the Czech Republic, looks after crane inspections and maintenance.
Demag V-type girder design with diaphragm joints reduces the weight of the crane. This has benefits and makes it possible to exploit the crane’s load capacity while adhering to the restrictions posed by the building structure. They can achieve a very high load-bearing capacity in relation to their deadweight and can be ideally adapted to individual requirements.
The smart SafeControl system enables safe and smart tandem operation with a single radio control to transport the bulky loads within the CZ LOKO factory. StatusBoard is a large-format LED display which informs the staff in the plant about the weight of the load as well as the operating statuses of the crane.
The DRC-10 radio control facilitates ergonomic control within a larger radius of the crane, making daily tasks easier for the crane operator.