Crane Wheel Lubrication Extends Rail & Wheel Life

Even if you have perfectly aligned wheels and runway rails, the friction of crane flanges on runway rail eventually wears out the wheels and the rail.  Unfortunately, perfectly aligned wheels and rail rarely happens in real life; crane runway rail attached to steel building structures expands and contracts with temperature fluctuations causing alignment issues.

Crane wheels and crane rail replacement are two of the most expensive wearing components of a crane system.  In addition to the expense of replacement, rail and wheel replacement require that the crane and/or entire runway be placed out of commission during the work, which also creates the added expense of production loss if the work cannot be completed during a planned outage.

Crane wheel flange lubrication using solid dry lubrication sticks, such as those manufactured by Trans-Lube are a cost-effective solution to dramatically extending wheel and rail life.  In addition, it also improves the performance of the crane by improving the finish on the wheel and rail surfaces.

Spring-loaded lubrication sticks are mounted on each crane wheel with the lubrication applied to the wearing surfaces of the wheel flange.  A crane with 4 wheels will require 4 to 8 lube stick systems depending on the wear characteristics of the crane wheels.  The lubrication sticks are replaced approximately monthly on heavily used cranes during routine maintenance.   There is no worry about the lubrication getting on the railhead running surface and causing skidding as the lube is only on the flanges.

After installation of the dry lubrication systems, noticeable changes, visible by an inspectors’ eye, will occur on the existing wheel flanges in as little as a couple weeks on high use cranes.  The dull gray and gouged finish of the flanges transforms into one with a very smooth with a shiny “chrome-like finish”.  The measured rate of wear of the flange slows dramatically with the smoother and repaired mirror-like finish on the flange assisting to maintain a strong flange thickness. The flanges are not getting noticeably thinner. The matching side of the railhead is also being polished.

Before the lube sticks were installed the cranes generated a high-pitched sound due to abrasive and adhesive contact between the wheels and the rails as the crane bridges down the runway. This sound is often an intense screeching that is penetrating and distracting to workers.  The presence, and at other times absence, of some of the sounds make it apparent that there is some direct relationship of noise with outside climatic temperatures. The installation of dry lubrication significantly lessens this type of noise.

If you have problems with crane wheel or rail wear, CRANE 1 can assist you in determining the cause and provide services including wheel or rail alignment as well as the installation of dry lubrication systems to help improve the performance of your cranes and hoists.