Continuous advanced structural health monitoring system for crane inspection applications
Cranes are one of the most common items of machinery used in today’s industry. They are mainly employed for handling heavy workload in fields of industry such as construction, ports and shipyards, industrial plants, offshore oil/gas and many more. The wide-spread use of cranes in industry necessitates strict operational quality and safety measures. There are a number of circumstances which dictate that in-depth inspections are necessary for crane owners, such as (i) high insurance fees if no inspection report is available or following a crane failure; (ii) high repair costs for damaged cranes; (iii) down time costs in the case of crane failure or temporary decommissioning; and (iv) logistical and project management issues in the case of crane failure.
The research conducted at Brunel, in collaboration with the NSIRC and TWI, has implemented an automated, continuous health monitoring inspection system for large cranes (tower, boom, reinforcing joints, lattice etc.), which is able to identify structural integrity faults before they lead to crane failure. Advanced non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques such as acoustic emission (AE) and guided ultrasonic waves (GUW) are employed to constantly monitor the health of crane components and automatically detect and report any possible failures.
In order to complete the development of a reliable, automated, continuous SHM system for cranes based on state-of-the-art NDT methods, there are several difficult challenges yet to be addressed which are currently being considered by researcher. However, current AE techniques have been shown to provide a viable solution for passive continuous structural health monitoring (SHM) in general. When used in conjunction with GUW, these techniques can be used to provide an effective solution for crane inspections.