Thern recently collaborated on an electric winch project with Techcrane (https://www.techcrane.com), an API-2C Marine Crane manufacturer in Covington, LA, just north of New Orleans. Their large marine cranes are used mostly for offshore and inland marine applications and typically utilize hydraulic winches. Thern is Techcrane’s preferred supplier for crane orders that require an electric winch or require a smaller capacity winch than what they provide in-house. In the fall of 2018, Techcrane reached out to Thern to see if we could provide electric winches for a 10-ton crane that was being created for an application in a nuclear power plant; and since it was inside the reactor containment building it had to be electric and not hydraulic. The plant is owned and operated by Entergy and is located west of New Orleans on the Mississippi River. The crane was to replace an existing 40-year old crane that was beyond its service life. The crane is only used once a year during a scheduled maintenance shutdown and they needed the new crane installed and available for use during the next shutdown… scheduled for early January.

The crane needed two electric winches; one to lift the boom up and down (luffing), and one to actually lift the load. Techcrane also requested Thern provide the motors and gearboxes to power the boom extension in and out, as well as two motors to power the crane rotation (slewing). Thern worked with SEW Eurodrive to develop a solution for the motor and variable frequency drive control system.

The largest challenge that the Techcrane and Thern teams faced, was the short lead time and critical delivery window required to install the system at the plant right after the first of the year. This meant it needed to be at Techcrane for the acceptance test in mid-December which left a short period of time for installation. Manufacturing, engineering and on-site technicians worked together to ensure that the product would meet the customer’s expectations within the timeframe permitted. Final wiring, programming, and testing of the controls were conducted on-site by Thern and Techcrane, resulting in a solution that satisfied an end-user with a critical application and a very tight delivery window.