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The Evolution of the Soft Mounting System

Clip Design
For more than 40 years, the concept of soft-mounting of crane rail has been accepted in addressing industrys
increasing demand to achieve greater crane productivity. However, as crane capacities and wheel loads
continue to grow, duty cycles increase and speeds become faster. At the same time, many of the newer
generation of cranes are constructed with more flexibility and less material, as are the mill buildings which
support them. As a result, vibration and oscillation (rocking) of the crane and building are more common. This
phenomenon can lead to continuous high frequency cyclic stresses which often results in failure of the rail
support structure and the crane itself.
Failures are not limited to heavily loaded cranes and supporting structures. Lighter capacity cranes and structures
also experience problems because of the tendency to design lighter and inherently more flexible structures to
achieve cost savings. This has begun to result in failures of some of the soft mounting system components.
Problems experienced on soft-mounted rail support systems have become more prevalent in recent years.
GANTREX has actively followed this trend, identified the problems and is in the forefront in engineering new
products to provide much needed solutions.
Initially, it was important to understand the market and recognize the problems faced by industry. The next step
was to conduct extensive testing and develop cost-effective, advanced engineered products with design features
which address the failure mechanisms. The combination of innovative design improvements, comparing elastic and
plastic finite element analysis of the existing and new designs, adherence to appropriate design codes and
conducting extensive testing has resulted in improved products with new features which will enhance the opera-
tion of the crane rail soft mounting system and improve the life of both the cranes and structures.
GANTREX determined that one of the primary causes of the problems was a failure to actually lock the rail
laterally. Often, field installers did not follow recommended installation instructions nor did they understand the
consequences of allowing the rail to float laterally. In many instances, the clip upper component was not properly
adjusted against the rail, allowing rail lateral movement to occur once the crane was placed into operation.
The goal was to produce a clip which would automatically guarantee the correct position of the upper component
against the rail foot, lock the rail laterally, and virtually eliminate any potential for field installation errors. The inno-
vative patent pending RailLok clip design incorporates a special double wedge feature which first keeps a tight
contact of the clip with the rail foot as torque is applied and the nose compresses. In addition, special bolts with an
improved head design allow efficient installation using standard impact wrenches. Once the bolts are torqued, the
taper wedge ensures that the rail is locked laterally.
To reinforce the new clip design and mitigate pad failures (often resulting from higher vertical wheel loads, crane
oscillations and vibrations), a new pad was developed with an improved profile for better load distribution.
Specifically, the work performed by the GANTREX engineering group in its leadership position has resulted in a
technical evolution of soft mounting.
Its not just a new, improved product... it is a solution!
02/2012 Rev. 0
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