3D CAD and FEM
3D modelling considers customer demands together with ergonomic studies conducted by industrial designers. Each individual component of the crane is designed using a 3D CAD system which can test crane movements and ensure that it has a functional geometry. Then, within the 3D CAD software, Finite Element Method (FEM) is used to analyse the crane structure and loading conditions and obtain strength-to-weight optimisation. Design calculations are developed according to European Safety Standard EN 12999.
In prototype production, each component is checked for conformity to specification and assembled in a dedicated and specially equipped prototyping area. Every step is documented, with photographs, for precise tuning of the assembly process once it goes into production. This is followed by laboratory based “fatigue” tests and environmental tests on crane prototypes and on all electronic and hydraulics components to verify the adopted design solutions and improve the system where necessary. Each prototype is subjected to up to 600,000 cycles of loading, to simulate 10 years of normal crane operations.
Finally, new cranes are delivered to expert users to be used in real day-to-day operating conditions, including heavy duty applications. These field-based Customer Acceptance Tests (CAT) are conducted to collect opinions and feedback for improvements. Cranes are launched only after a complete field testing programme.