TC American Monorail installed a custom configured XP INTERLOCK™ spark-resistant transfer crane in a paint booth area with flammable solvent fumes. The crane utilizes multiple “patented track” sections that are interconnected by special locking transfers at key transfer points, along with spark-resistant components for safe, explosion-proof operation in a hazardous area.

This custom configuration required a five-ton bridge crane that has the capability of utilizing multiple track systems to allow unimpeded access to different parts of the plant without setting the load down. Keeping the load continually moving adds a measure of protection for delicate, high-value components that can be easily damaged. This allows the smooth transfer of the load from the assembly area to another part of the facility for final cleaning and painting using a separate track system. The continuous movement streamlines workflow patterns and enhances worker safety. The multi-track transfer is accomplished through the utilization of specially designed mechanical interlocking mechanism that locks two separate track sections together in a direct, positive manner that ensures proper track alignment at all times. The interlocking feature also eliminates flexing of the track as a result of occasional off-balance loads. The result is a smooth and safe transfer from one part of the facility to another without the need to set the load down, and locate another piece of material handling equipment to move it into the next bay.

In this installation, the load was designed to travel to a paint area in which flammable solvent fumes are present, calling for spark-resistant equipment to keep the area explosion-proof. To eliminate the sparking risk, all crane components that could act as a potential spark source were redesigned or replaced. The standard electric hoist motor was replaced with a 2.8 HP air motor, fitted with a spark-resistant stainless steel festoon system to carry the air lines. Spring-loaded rubber tire drives are used on the end trucks, along with bronze idler wheels and side rollers. All metal-to-metal contacts that could act as potential spark sources are protected by stainless steel or bronze buffers to insulate the contact areas. The trolley drive system utilizes a ¾ HP air motor, with stainless steel safety drop lugs, to achieve a travel speed of 50 feet per minute.

Through the combination of the direct interlocking track switching feature and spark-resistant construction, the crane offers safe and efficient transfers of delicate, high-value loads into hazardous areas. “This dual capability crane system offers great value for the customer and satisfies rigid requirements in a compact and economical design,” reports Josh Stern, TC/American Sales Manager. “This dual design can provide benefits to any facility that deals with hazardous chemicals, such as refineries, painting operations or pipe coating plants.

Headquartered in St. Michael, MN, TC/American is a leading manufacturer of patented track under-running bridge crane systems and monorails supplied to customers worldwide in the aviation/aerospace, mining and heavy manufacturing industries.