The numerical simulation of wheel loads on an electric overhead travelling crane

McKenzie, Kim Anne (2007-12)

Thesis (MEng (Civil Engineering))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.


The failure rate of electric overhead travelling crane supporting structures across the world is unacceptably high. Failures occur even when the supporting structures are designed within the relevant design codes. This demonstrates a lack of understanding of the dynamic behaviour of cranes in many design codes. The current South African loading code is simplistic with respect to crane supporting structure design, relying on empirical factors to determine the correct loads. While these factors lead to predicted forces in the correct range of values, the Eurocode’s methods are more scientifically based. In recognition of this the draft South African code predominantly incorporates the methods used by the Eurocode to calculate design forces for crane supporting structures. The purpose of this thesis was to use an existing numerical model to determine the wheel loads induced by a crane into the crane supporting structure through hoisting, normal longitudinal travel, skewing and rail misalignment. The numerically obtained forces were then compared with the design forces estimated in the current South African code and the Eurocode, in order to determine whether the factors and methods used in the codes are accurate. The current empirically based South African code was found to be highly conservative. In contrast the scientifically based design forces from the Eurocode were close to the numerically calculated forces, only failing to predict the behaviour of the crane in the case of skewing. Further work needs to be completed in the estimation of forces induced during this load case. Once this is achieved it is hoped that the better understanding of the crane forces adapted from the Eurocode into the draft South African code will lead to a reduction in failures of electric overhead travelling crane supporting structures.

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