Demag's longest-ever crane to be installed for long-range Airbus jet production24 August 2021

A record-breaking Demag process crane will literally play a supporting role in the assembly line of the new Airbus A321XLR in Hamburg.

Travelling on a path of 82 metres, it will have a span of no less than 106 metres – making it the longest crane that Demag has ever built. It will cover the entire area of the factory bay. The double-girder suspension crane will travel on six crane runways, which will be installed parallel to each other at distances of 24 and 10 metres under the factory roof.

The hoists used on the double-girder process crane are just as unusual as its dimensions. The crane trolley features a slewing mechanism with four Demag hoist units installed in a rectangular arrangement. They can be adjusted relative to each other in the X and Y axes, enabling the crane to handle the various fuselage panels and sections of the Airbus A321XLR. In this way, the crane system offers additional freedom: in the rotational axis and for the position of the four hoist units relative to each other.

Each of the four hoist units has a load capacity of 6.25 t, providing a total load capacity of 25 tons. The crane is operated by radio control. Depending on the selected combination, the hoist units can be operated as single units or in synchronised mode.

The long and cross-travel drives and the slewing drive as well as the lifting and lowering motions feature variable speeds. Monitoring of synchronised operation of the four hoist units in a low tolerance range will ensure that the large, sensitive fuselage sections are lifted and lowered evenly without any risk of twisting. The semi-automated target positioning function will ensure gentle, safe and reliable handling.

The crane will be used in two-shift operation with assembly scheduled for April 2022.

Dr Thomas Bönker, Demag senior vice president, process cranes, said: “We have been helping the aviation industry with reliable cranes for decades. More than every second passenger aircraft is assembled using Demag crane systems worldwide. Just like the aircraft, the cranes have become ever bigger and offer more performance with an increasingly higher level of automation.”

Operations Engineer

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