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DC drives give port cranes new lease of life

DC drives give port cranes new lease of life Advanced DC drives from Emerson Control Techniques in America have been selected by Terminal de Contenedores de Yucatán, to modernise the control system on an ageing ship-to-shore crane.

Terminal de Contenedores de Yucatán (TCY), owned by Grup TCB of Spain, is the most important container and cargo-handling terminal in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. When the terminal commenced operation in 2005, the two Panamax Starporter ship-to-shore cranes were already nearly thirty years old.  Seven years later, keeping the cranes operational had become difficult due to increasing downtime and escalating maintenance costs.

David Asensio, project manager for Grup TCB, commented at the time: "The cranes are in good mechanical condition, but poor electrical condition."  Replacement parts for the old DC drives had become nearly impossible to find and could take weeks to obtain, leading to unacceptable downtime.

For this application, Emerson Control Techniques proposed an all-new, fully integrated drive and control system featuring its Mentor MP DC drive. Asensio explains: "After reviewing the competition, we decided that Emerson Control Techniques has the best DC drive. The Mentor MP DC drive has a rugged design that is easy to maintain, a matter that is sometimes not taken into account." Emerson Control Techniques' new control system encompasses all the electrical equipment including low-voltage auxiliaries, DC drives, PLC, I/O, crane management system and MCC.  Also included are new remote I/O and control stations, RF Ethernet-based remote diagnostics, and a modern rotating operator's chair and consoles to replace the old sliding chair and fixed consoles.

This cost-effective solution provides TCY with a higher degree of reliability to increase uptime, a rapid supply of spares and remote monitoring and diagnostics to facilitate troubleshooting and maintenance. For the hoist (which utilises a 373kW motor rated at 50 tons and has a speed of 45m/min) a 120A Mentor MP was selected. The 55kW trolley, with a speed of up to 120m/min and the 55kW boom with a maximum speed of 6m/min share a 210A Mentor MP, which is switched between the two. The eight 14kW, 45m/min gantry motors have their duty shared between four 105A Mentor MP DC drives.

The Mentor MP is a reliable, flexible and powerful digital DC drive designed to maximise motor performance, enhance system reliability and interface digitally with the latest control equipment using Ethernet and a wide range of industrial networks. This makes the Mentor MP an ideal solution for modernising port cranes and equipment.

Crane productivity is maximised by using a series of bespoke basic, modular and open-ended software packages, developed by Control Techniques specifically for crane control. These are programmed into the PLC and onboard SM-Application modules, and connected via fieldbus, optimising movements in order to relieve the operator of these delicate and repetitive tasks.
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