7 Shipping Container Crane Maintenance Tips

A shipping container crane is a critical machine. Within the industry of cargo shipping, cranes fill the crucial role of loading and unloading large vessels. The wear and tear these cranes face are far beyond that of their land-based equivalents. From salt spray to extreme storms, these machines take a beating. Shipping container cranes are used on piers and ships. Large maritime shipping vessels may have several cranes on board. These machines are almost always in use. Because of the critical nature of them, keeping up regular maintenance is a must.

Keeping your shipping container crane maintained is essential to a well-running operation. Strong winds, waves, and a constant deluge of saltwater all add up to corrosion issues. There is also the factor of available space. Shipping ports are incredibly crowded, requiring several different configurations of cranes. The ships themselves are also short on space, making the footprint of the crane highly valuable real estate.  

Here is a breakdown list of the most common crane configurations:

Telescopic Boom Cranes – These cranes have a linear lift setup that is very user-friendly. With the structural design of the telescopic boom, these cranes can hold heavy loads.

Knuckle Boom Cranes – These cranes are generally used on ships and platforms that are quite large. They are also relatively easy to keep up and are preferred for loading and unloading ships.

Foldable Telescopic Boom Cranes – Since these cranes are foldable, they are primarily used on ships due to their smaller footprint. 

Stiff Boom Cranes – These are your standard boom and winch setup cranes. They aren’t the best on space but are great for more extensive work areas. They can move general cargo quickly. Maintaining them is also less expensive than other types. 

With several types of cranes in use around the port, plus any unique setups used, it takes experienced, highly trained technicians to provide proper maintenance. With that said, let’s take a look at some maintenance tips for your shipping container cranes:

First, ensure that you follow the manufacturer’s specifications. It’s critical that the cranes are maintained along the proper guidelines laid out because the manufacturers understand the equipment and its needs. 

Each manufacturer requires differing maintenance schedules. Follow the guidelines provided by your manufacturer, and the life of the crane will be extended.

Next, we’ll look at the different parts that are going to require the most maintenance. Shipping container cranes have lots of moving parts that will require regular maintenance. Here are some of the areas that must be maintained regularly:

Hydraulics – The hydraulic systems should be inspected regularly to ensure that no hoses or housings are cracked and leaking. These components need to be kept in good working order. General wear and tear will happen over time, even with proper maintenance; when these parts start wearing out, it’s time to replace them. The pump, actuator, motor, and valves need to be gone over thoroughly.

Hydraulic Fluids – Fluid levels need to be checked at regular intervals. Refill if any fluid is necessary, and periodically drain and flush the system. 

Steel Wire – These cables must be well lubricated. The entire length should be inspected for any wear and tear. Lubricate any parts that come in contact with the steel cable. Be sure to include the pulley and drum systems.

Crane Rotational Parts – Cranes generally rotate from their base. These touch points need to be well lubricated. Inspect the sheaves, slew rings, bearings, and other touch points to watch for wear and tear. 

Crane Brakes – Brakes are a critical safety feature. Maintaining them is vital for the safety of the crew. Monitor the thickness of the brake pads and replace them as needed.

Paint and coating maintenance is next on the list. The corrosive effect of weather, wind, and salt water can decimate any metal machine rapidly. Keeping a high-quality paint and coating will help prolong the life of your cranes. There are several advantages to frequent painting and coating, such as maintaining the cranes looking new along with being able to withstand the elements. 

Cleaning cranes of any debris buildup and excess grease helps to prolong the life of the crane as well. Metal shavings, dirt, debris, and who knows what else all get caught in the exposed grease, which then can work its way into the bearings, pulleys, and hydraulics. If left unchecked, it can lead to excessive wear and, finally, a breakdown. Having a professional pressure washing crew clean the machinery in preparation for a new paint job and coating can offer benefits down the road. 

Professional Shipping Container Crane Painting and Coatings

At Hydro-Tech, we specialize in cleaning, painting, and maritime coating cranes. With several years of experience, we are able to get the job done quickly and with the highest quality standards. When searching for a service to assist with your crane maintenance, look no further than Hydro-Tech. 

Paint wears down over time, exposing the metal underneath to the ravages of weather, saltwater, wind, and debris. Hydro-Tech can thoroughly clean the crane and apply new paint and industrial coating to protect the machine for years to come. General maintenance of these machines includes the inspection of paint and coating materials to ensure no excess corrosion occurs. Let us help you paint and coat your shipping container cranes today. Call us or visit our website to discuss what we can do for you. Our highly trained professionals are here to help keep your machines running smoothly.

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