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Helping prevent premature fatigue failure

September 7, 2016

Konecranes considers safety as the most important factor in their work and devotes significant effort to preventing fatigue failure at a product’s design stage. The company’s Steel Structure Analysis can aid safety by helping to identify defects in cranes.

Fatigue is one of the most critical forms of damage in steel structures. Fortunately, premature fatigue failure can be prevented by paying careful attention to detail during a product’s design stage.

A deep understanding of fatigue makes it possible to create cost-effective, safer and environmentally friendly products suited to customer needs. At Konecranes, fatigue failure is an element that is taken into very close consideration in product development.

”Safety is the biggest driver for our designers and evaluating the lifetime of the product is essential knowledge for the products’ safety,” says Juha Peippo, Senior Chief Engineer at Konecranes. The entirety of this safety first mentality stems from highly sophisticated engineering work, which takes into account factors such as the loading, usage, steel grade, manufacturing and overall economy of the product. “The company wants to be up-to-date in its operations and also be a pioneer in scientific research.”

Cooperation with universities

A product’s fatigue failure can be sudden and total, which makes it dangerous. It is also complicated and not very well understood.

“The engineer seeking competence must have as much knowledge of the subject as possible. The demand for the knowledge grows all the time,” Peippo says.

According to Peippo, great progress has been made in the area of fatigue failure research. He is one of its pioneers and has written a dissertation related to the topic, called A modified nominal stress method for fatigue assessment of steel plates with thermally cut edges, at Lappeenranta University of Technology.

“At Konecranes, we do a lot of cooperation with universities in order to combine research work with practical design and testing. I keep myself updated continuously by reading about the topic and I recommend this to every engineer.”

A decision-making tool

The Steel Structure Analysis is a part of Konecranes’ consultation services and gives an accurate view of the remaining fatigu life of the steel structure of the crane. Through the analysis, the customer receives information that will help to decide whether to modernize existing equipment or purchase a new piece.

The analysis consists of a Konecranes inspector investigating the use history of the crane and performing a visual inspection of the whole steel structure. After the analysis, the customer is given a list of recommendations for needed repairs or replacements, as well as a detailed plan for future inspections.

“The analysis is very useful for the customer in evaluating the safety of the product and that it meets all the requirements. And for us employees, working with the service allows us to learn to design products with a longer lifecycle on a constant basis,” Peippo says.


Photo: Konecranes
Text: Mirkka Aarti

Expert spotlight

  • Juha Peippo works as Senior Chief Engineer at Konecranes.
  • He has been with Konecranes since 1995, mostly holding product development positions. His main tasks include developing and researching steel structures.