Tuesday 30th Nov, 2021

Altra Motion: braking the storm with Svendborg

Investing in quality brakes can be crucial to avoid unplanned movement, which is why Svendborg has developed a new range of rail-mounted Storm Brakes.

Investing in quality brakes can be crucial to avoid unplanned movement, which is why Svendborg has developed a new range of rail-mounted Storm Brakes.

Altra Industrial Motion’s brand Svendborg Brakes has a history in braking solutions dating back to the 1800s and has developed solutions for the mining industry for more than 30 years. They have just released the latest in rail-mounted braking systems, called Storm Brakes. 

Svendborg Brakes application engineer Mads Willum is an essential member of the Altra Motion – Svendborg Brakes team and explains the importance of Storm Brakes. 

“Storm brakes are devices which provide braking forces on the crane rails or crane wheels for rail-mounted material handling cranes, onshore or inland,” Willum says.

“They prevent a crane from uncontrolled moving along the rails in a case of sudden gusts of wind.

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“Storm Brakes, also known as ‘parking brakes’, are specially designed for stackers, reclaimers, ship loaders, outdoor cranes, and any rail-mounted material handling equipment at risk of an unplanned movement incident.”

Altra Industrial Motion national sales manager Rex Sinclair says the acquisition of an industry leader like Svendborg Brakes in 2013 significantly expanded the company’s global presence.

Sinclair adds that rail-mounted brakes have faced issues in the past, which Storm Brakes mitigate.

“There have been situations with these kinds of brakes on ship loaders where a storm has come along and blown them down the rails,” Sinclair says.

The additional safety benefits of Svendborg’s Storm Brakes include there is no need for lubrication, easier maintenance and fewer hands on the equipment at risk of injury. 

To cater to its customers’ specific needs, Svendborg offers a range of models that can be applied to various rail conditions.

Whether a rail is new, mushroomed, worn, has splice or angle bars, is buried in asphalt or is surrounded by bulk materials like iron ore, Svendborg has a Storm Brake to suit.   

The rail clamp is a type of Storm Brake which applies pressure to both sides of the rail, which Willum says will ensure the equipment is incapable of getting away from an operator.

“The rail clamp ensures 100 per cent fixation of the equipment, so it doesn’t move, and rail clamps are designed to release and retract completely from the railhead,” Willum says.

Rail brakes, alternatively, apply pressure to the top of the rail using the machine’s weight. 

Svendborg also offers a third wheel brake system as part of the Storm Brake range, which provides a combination option between the brake and clamp – applying force to the idler wheel flange of the machine. 

Willum explains how the Storm Brakes avoid the need for lubrication, using a clever design to protect the product. 

“Rail clamps are the devices which apply on both sides of the railhead with a mechanism designed to have provision for vertical and horizontal float to accommodate potential rail deviations,” Willum says. 

“Our design allows for very easy floating with minimal side loads, and there is no possibility of mechanism jamming. Protecting the rail clamp, so they do not rub on the rail and get easily worn out.

“Poorly designed floating mechanism with float blocks must be lubricated to function, especially in the dusty environments.”

Storm Brakes also come in a hydraulic or electric option, removing the need for hydraulic oils. 

“If hydraulics are deemed a risk for whatever reason, environmental or hydraulics are not wanted, the electric option is a viable solution,” Willum says.

While producing fewer emissions through the lack of hydraulic oil, the electric option also involves less maintenance. 

“An electric Storm Brake generally has a non-pollution advantage compared to hydraulic controlled – in an electric unit, there are no circulating hydraulic oils,” Willum says. 

With an electric/hydraulic option, retractable clamp for easy installation and removal, and integration with Svendborg’s Industrial Internet of Things software platform for condition monitoring, the competitive advantages of Storm Brakes cover all bases. 

Svendborg’s Storm Brakes are the latest solution to avoid failures in rail-mounted operations.