22 june 2016

Proactively servicing ten-year-old electronics: it makes good sense

Electronic components are the elements most subject to obsolescence in a crane, especially given the rapid developments in the electronics market. Today, it is increasingly difficult to find spare parts for ten-year-old electronics. In addition, older components may be incompatible with newly-developed electronics. Consequently, TCS advice is to proactively service your crane electronics every ten years and replace components reaching obsolescence. In this way you will avoid unexpected faults, and may benefit from the newest developments in electronics.

Support for older electronics is being phased out

It is a well-known fact that electronic components become obsolete rather quickly. Think of your TV or smartphone; the appliance you bought a few years ago is now almost an ancient artefact. Luckily, your crane electronics live a little longer than that, but they are subject to the same phenomenon. Manufacturers launch new drives and controls at a fast pace. Support for older models is phased out and spare parts become increasingly difficult to find. This can have very unpleasant consequences in the event of a breakdown.

Corrective maintenance is more expensive and complex

It is also important to understand that electronic components are interconnected. When a broken component needs to be replaced by a more recent model, its compatibility with the entire system should be examined. This may additionally force you to replace other components, increasing the cost and complexity of the intervention. And in some cases, delivery of new components takes several weeks, which may have severe consequences for production.

Four weeks out of service due to a broken drive

A TCS customer recently had a problem with a dual-lift overhead crane. One of the drives broke down, but for compatibility reasons both drives needed to be replaced, along with the control unit. A few years earlier, we had advised the purchase of replacement drives in order to be prepared for such an event, but that didn't happen. As a result, the customer had to wait for delivery, leaving the crane out of service for four weeks, a costly business.

Months of unavailability due to inappropriate intervention

Another company had an even more severe problem when an 18-year-old drive in a critical crane broke down. As this particular model was no longer available, they installed a somewhat similar model, but failed to make a detailed study. A few weeks later it emerged that there were several problems with the new drive, which had caused additional damage to the crane, resulting in several months of unavailability.

Peace of mind with proactive servicing

TCS advice is to service your crane electronics every ten years. The cost of such an intervention is relatively small: the renewal of the electronics would amount to about 10% of the crane's initial cost. But the benefits are clear: fewer defects and increased operational reliability, meaning absolute peace of mind. Also note that such a renewal intervention is carefully planned and carried out quickly, with limited impact on your operational activities. And it could also reveal opportunities for modernising your crane functionality.

More information on the ten-year electronics servicing programme?
Email, and we will be happy to visit you.

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