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Waste to energy and biomass crane automation

Automated cranes can help make modern waste-to-energy facilities safer, more viable and profitable. Konecranes has been at the vanguard of crane automation in waste-to-energy since 1972 with successful plants operating globally, including those in the United States, Canada, Europe, China and South East Asian markets.

Full automation reduces operating costs

In waste-to-energy facilities that operate 24 hours a day with two to three shifts, running in full automation for even one of those shifts may generate enough savings to significantly improve other areas of the plant. Reducing operating costs helps keep plants viable, and automation is a proven and effective avenue.

Evolving design

Our latest generation of fully automated cranes with a remote operating station, or ROS, allow new waste-to-energy facilities to be designed for even better safety and efficiency. The ROS removes the need for an operator chair and pulpit, which alleviates potential dangers associated with a glass-fronted control room over the pit, and helps streamline and centralize the workforce in a safe location. In various regions around the world, including a pulpit room restricts how a plant can be operated. Removing the pulpit room enhances flexibility. When manual mode is required for maintenance or troubleshooting, cranes can be operated from the area that is most convenient, allowing the crane operator to interface and share tasks with a pit manager or furnace operator. The result is a versatile, efficient workforce that is able to respond to changing conditions, and achieve a significant reduction in operating costs.

Available options for local requirements

With full automation providing the primary operating system for the cranes, a pulpit chair is no longer mandatory. But, in older plants where a pulpit chair is traditional or required by local regulations, Konecranes can provide this option.

Software and Interface

The Main User Interface, or MUI, is Konecranes new standard for programming waste-to-energy automation. Accessed from the MUI station, the MUI features a computer and 23-inch LED panel screen, keyboard and mouse. This computer is fully integrated with the PLC system of the crane, while isolated from outside networks. It allows the operator to schedule and program a week-long agenda that includes up to 20 different work routines in full automation, giving plant managers enhanced flexibility to manage pit operations for receiving, mixing and burning waste.

In seasons where flexibility is not as important, facilities can repeat the Monday through Sunday agenda indefinitely without accessing the crane–except to take it out of automation for scheduled inspections and maintenance. In addition, the MUI monitors crane operations, including usage statistics, error messages and equipment condition. The system also generates summary reports to help managers optimize maintenance and alert them if more operator training is needed.

Automation through crane modernization

Modernization to add automation to older waste-to-energy cranes can be a cost-effective option if the crane already has certain key components installed, including a Siemens PLC, inverter controls and encoders. But if these elements are missing, adding them could approach the cost of a complete modern crane. However, modernization can be a viable solution in some cases. Konecranes evaluates each situation individually and works with its customers to ensure that we present all of the best possible options for consideration. When modernization does make sense, Konecranes Smart Features often lead the way in justifying this investment.

Smart Features for improved safety, speed and pos​itioning

Konecranes proprietary Smart Features deliver specific benefits that protect people and productivity in waste-to-energy settings. For example, DynAPilot sway control technology manages the grab trajectory and prevents the grab from hitting the pit walls or pulpit while automated as well as in manual operations. This safeguards both equipment and infrastructure and reduces repair expenses in a major way. Protected Areas allows managers to pre-program no-go areas to keep the crane from operating where it shouldn’t. And on the productivity side, the DynAReg feature helps facilities reduce their power requirement by recycling power generated by the hoist. 

Konecranes automation for waste-to-energy plants makes operation more reliable, more profitable, and keeps people out of harm’s way. Adding TRUCONNECT Remote Monitoring will give you visibility to crane usage. Sensors collect data, such as running time, motor starts, works cycles and emergency stops. It also provides brake and inverter monitoring. The data is transmitted to the Remote Data Center, where it is compiled and made available on the customer portal. In facilities both old and new, Konecranes industry-leading technology could be the tipping point that helps waste-to-energy plants remain viable in the future.

The CXT® Biomass crane

The CXT Biomass crane is a fully automated, completely operator-free system. The crane takes care of fuel material management by itself.

CXT Biomass crane benefits

  • More efficient operations with full automation
  • Increased safety with Smart Features
  • Less noise and emissions, more space for your process
  • Hoisting inverter with Extended Speed Range (ESR) provides smooth, fast operation that can reduce cycle times