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Auto-Dispatch Systems for Overhead Cranes and Monorails


Traditionally overhead cranes and monorails have been used to manually move materials from one location to the other. The advancements in control systems, and communication technologies have helped companies to cut costs and increase productivity by automating their material flow process.

Manually moving heavy loads over a longer distance is more time consuming and less efficient than automatically moving loads. Moving loads in a hazardous environment can also be a safety concern for the operator.

An automatic-dispatch control system interfaced with Electromotive IMPULSE® AFD controls for the overhead cranes or monorails moving materials from one location to another will result in a safer, more reliable and efficient operating system. The automatic control of the speed and acceleration rates will improve the material flow process by shortening the travel times and increasing the positioning accuracy of the bridge, hoist and trolley. Eliminating human intervention during the automatic material flow from one location to the other, helps to create a more productive and safe work environment.

Use of the auto-dispatch systems on cranes and monorails traveling over longer distances or in hazardous environments increase productivity by decreasing travel times, and by providing accurate and automatic positioning. The use of the IMPULSE® AFD's with these systems provide a smooth and controlled operation of the cranes and monorails, and reduces the maintenance cost. Due to the automatic speed control and positioning, cranes with auto-dispatch systems become more reliable and efficient than a human-operated crane or monorail.

Technical Description

Auto-Dispatch Scale Pit Bucket Handling Monorail System

Separate controls were provided for two scale pit monorail bucket hoist/carriers operating on two separate rails. Each system is designed to automatically dispatch the bucket carrier to the scale pit, grab a load at one of three selected pick up points and travel to one of two containers for unloading. The system control is also arranged to allow the operator manual control of the carrier.

Two duplicate and separate control systems are provided for each of the automated scale pit monorail systems. The bucket carrier is located at a "home" position with the bucket jaws 'open'. The operator initiates the cycle after all start-up conditions are met. The carrier travels to the first point in the scale pit and the hoist auto lowers the bucket onto the slag in the pit. The hoist IMPULSE® Vector drive uses its load sensing capability to determine when the bucket is resting on the slag. The bucket jaws are closed and the hoist raises the load to hoist upper travel position. The bucket carrier then travels to a position over a container and stops. The hoist lowers the bucket to a set position where the bucket jaws are opened, depositing the load. The carrier will travel to each pick point until a predetermined level is reached. It will then go to the next point. The system will also indicate when a container is "full", notifying the carrier to service the second container.

Auto-Dispatch Vulcanizer Load/Unload Monorail System
A monorail carrier is arranged to automatically load and unload pans of automotive air conditioner hose from one of three floor stations to a vulcanizer. The system contains one monorail hoist/carrier operating on a monorail track over the vulcanizer and pick-up and delivery stations. Each carrier has a special pan lifting fixture and is furnished with Electromotive IMPULSE® AFDs. The pans can be of varying height and are placed in layers in the vulcanizer. The carrier is controlled from a floor mounted control console with communication and power to the carrier via an Electromotive festoon system. The system is controlled from a wall mounted control display panel with a PLC for auto dispatch operation. Horizontal carrier positioning is critical and is determined by a laser positioning sensor mounted on the track with target on the carrier. The monorail carrier may be remote controlled either by the auto dispatch PLC control, radio control or by an Electromotive plug-in push button station on the carrier. The carrier is provided with warning lights and travel alarms during automatic travel. IMPULSE® AFDs provide smooth travel control & prevent sudden acceleration or deceleration of the moving load.
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