Past Events

24th Annual Crane Symposium

Conference Details: 11–13 June 2017, Omni William Penn Hotel, Pittsburgh, Pa., USA

1. The 24th Annual Crane Symposium was held on 11–13 June 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pa., USA. 2. Mike Foster, Sterling Steel, gave a presentation on eddy current analysis of crane gears.

Conference Highlights: Since 1992, the AIST Cranes Technology Committee (CTC) and its predecessors have organized the Crane Symposium to deliver practical information and experiences from crane maintenance personnel, crane manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and engineering consultants, who all strive to make electric overhead traveling (EOT) cranes and their runways the safest, most reliable, and most durable machinery and equipment in the industry.
There were 219 attendees at this year’s event, representing plant maintenance staff; applications, electrical, mechanical, safety, service and design engineers; operations and maintenance personnel and management; and those who supply parts, equipment and services to the industry. Crane users represented 46% of the audience. Equipment suppliers and technology providers made up 43%, with the balance comprising original equipment manufacturers, engineering firms and two students.
Nucor Steel once again had the largest turnout, with 30 attendees. Steel Dynamics was second, with 20 attendees. Both of these companies value the programming content and networking opportunities at the Crane Symposium as a benefit to their crane maintenance personnel such that both companies co-locate their individual corporate-wide crane maintenance meetings with the AIST Annual Crane Symposium. The AIST Crane Symposium has always drawn attendees from outside the steel industry and this year was no exception, with attendance from Alcoa and TIMET (Titanium Metals Corp.) and from the U.S. Navy Crane and Naval Shipyard.
The two-day program included presentations focused on safe work practices and ergonomics; electrical, mechanical and structural maintenance techniques; crane inspection technologies; and best practices in EOT crane modernizations. Former CTC chair, Frank Petrek, Xtek Inc., began the program with an introduction and summary of the AIST Overhead Crane Maintenance, Inspection and Repair Handbook, developed by the CTC to provide a general user’s manual of best practices and procedures for the maintenance, inspection and repair of crane structural, mechanical and electrical components.
A case study by Todd Hauter, Steel Dynamics Inc. – Flat Roll Group Butler was given on replacing the ladle cranes at the facility. The need for new cranes provided an opportunity to update the technology on the cranes. A common DC bus for all motors was added to maintain productivity, human-machine interface panel for status and control inputs, anti-collision system, and improved ergonomic and visual aspects. Three-dimensional modeling of the crane and runways improved the design of the crane. Crane operators and maintenance personnel all had input as to their needs for the design, especially for the operators and the cab design. A lesson that he learned from a previous AIST Annual Crane Symposium was the need to get the operators involved in designs.
Ethan Ulvan, Acuren Group, provided an overview of how thermite welding is used to repair crane rail. The process was reviewed as to how aluminum and iron oxide are combined to fuse the rail together. A description of the heat-affected zone and its impact on the quality of the weld was discussed. If the weld cools too quickly, martensite forms and the weld will be brittle. Slower cooling results in pearlite formation and a tougher weld. Additionally, the remaining rail will experience some heat treatment and will soften during the process. To avoid the martensitic formation, welders must be well trained and must follow proper procedure.
The Crane Innovator of the Year Award recognizes the individual who has brought forth the latest in technology, or increased efficiencies in operational and maintenance practices for the continuous improvement of heavy industrial cranes. This year’s recipient, Tom Steveley from Nucor Steel Gallatin, presented his project, “Meltshop Crane Maintenance and Reliability Practices.” The Gallatin Crane Maintenance Department conducted a thorough review of its ladle cranes to gain an understanding of key maintenance indicators for the crane. Additionally, the crane maintenance personnel provided input as to when and how maintenance work should be performed. By instituting predictive maintenance practices and being proactive in providing maintenance prior to component failure, they have improved their bottom line expenses on crane maintenance costs and, more importantly, the plant services group has had no lost-time accidents in more than 11 years.
A particular note of appreciation goes to Morgan Engineering, SES LLC and U.S. Trolley who were the Crane Symposium Event Sponsors, to Konecranes Inc., who sponsored the conference Gateway Clipper dinner cruise, and to Cincinnati Crane for their sponsorship of the Sunday Reception.
The 25th Annual Crane Symposium will be held on 10–12 June 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pa., USA. If your company would like to submit a brief abstract for consideration, please email it to Brian Bliss ( by 15 September 2017.