Based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Valbruna Slater Stainless, Inc. (VSSI) is part of the Valbruna Group. Founded in 1925, Valbruna has 2,500 employees and an annual output of approximately 250,000 tons of specialty steels. Production is primarily focused on stainless steels and specialty alloys, such as nickel alloys and titanium long products.
As part of its investment in continuous improvement, Valbruna is constantly updating its production capabilities and experience. For VSSI, this included upgrading its overhead cranes, which are used to move finished goods and raw materials for stainless steel processing.
VSSI wanted to replace two older DC-powered cranes with more powerful AC cranes – but still retain the existing bridge structure. The older cranes had become unreliable, and the hoists were heavy compared to more modern solutions. Getting new cranes to work on the current bridge would ensure that the upgrade was highly cost-effective.
VSSI turned to Hoosier Crane Service Co. for expert assistance. HSC, founded by Tom and Cherie Schmidt, is a family-owned business headquartered in Elkhart, IN. Hoosier Crane has grown throughout the last 20 years from 4 employees to approximately 100 employees and is presently providing overhead crane material handling solutions throughout the USA.
The older DC cranes were each equipped with 20-ton and 7-ton dual hoists on one trolley. Hoosier Crane’s original plan was to keep a center line bridge drive motor on both but replace the DC motors with larger AC motors. However, Hoosier Crane decided that the more viable solution was side-mounted SEW Euro Drive gearboxes with motors.
Hoosier Crane removed the two existing hoists and replaced them with new R&M 10-ton hoists. Hoosier Crane installed the new hoists on a new ASCE rail. These new hoists were one-third of the weight of the old hoists.
Using the R&M 10t hoists, Hoosier Crane was able to deploy a more reliable, lightweight, and modern system without replacing the bridges.
Patrick Hilger, Engineering and Maintenance Manager at Valbruna Slater Stainless, Inc. said: “Hoosier Crane has been a reliable service vendor for Valbruna for years. We were looking for a reliable, cost-effective solution that could still be designed to fit the existing bridge structure. Using the existing bridge structure saved cost on installation and material.”
Derek Bukrajewski, Director of Service for Hoosier Crane, said: “R&M has always been a reliable option in the past. In this case, it fits the footprint for what both HCS and the customer were trying to accomplish.”