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Crane system facilitates green heating and cooling

12 December 2012

The Demag crane system facilitates fuel loading at the biomass heat and power generation plant at Sky Europe's sustainable broadcasting facility.

The Demag crane system facilitates fuel loading at the biomass heat and power generation plant at Sky Europe's sustainable broadcasting facility

Demag Cranes has installed a fully automated crane system at Sky's combined cooling, heating and power (CCHP) plant, as part of Sky's new studio complex in Osterley,West London.

Sky's state-of-the-art development, Sky Studios, provides 23,000 sq m of floor space for studios, offices, post production and technical facilities, housing the broadcaster's flagship entertainment and sports' channels. The building incorporates a range of initiatives to minimise environmental impact, making it the most sustainable broadcasting facility in Europe.

Combined cooling, heating and power is provided by a renewable energy plant, designed and built by industrial and commercial bioenergy specialist, Clearpower. The CCHP plant uses wood chip biomass, from broken down wooden pallets, to generate electricity and heat for Sky Studios. The plant processes 10,000 tonnes of wood chip per year, generating 1MW of electricity and 5MW of heat.

Wood chip is delivered to the CCHP plant by vehicles and tipped into a sunken input area.When sensors indicate that biomass levels require replenishment, the Demag Cranes' system automatically lifts biomass from the input area and deposits it into the silo store. The wood chip is then fed into the furnace, by a conveyor system, according to demand.

To meet the requirements of the CCHP application, Demag Cranes installed a 7.8m span overhead travelling crane, incorporating a DR-Pro electric wire rope hoist, rated at 6.3t SWL. Suspended from the hoist is a specialist 4.5 cu m capacity clam shell grab, with teeth and side knives, for optimum handling of the wood chip.

The crane has long travel speeds of 1.5-40 m/min, cross travel speeds of 1.5-20 m/min and hoisting speeds of 1-16 m/min for fast and efficient load handling.

It features frequency inverter controlled drives, which ensure precision load positioning and minimise load sway, reducing the possibility of contact between the bucket grab and the walls of the storage area. The system also includes long travel and cross travel limits. The wire rope hoist features include a special heavy duty rope guide, specifically designed to counteract side pull, fail safe bottom block operated hoist limit, slack rope detection and electronic overload protection, while the crab is fitted with anti-derailment protection. All motors incorporate IP55 rated enclosures to eliminate the ingress of dust in the arduous environment.

Radio remote control is also available for use during maintenance.

Clearpower CEO John Heffernan says the automatic nature of the crane system offers several advantages over alternative materials handling equipment, not least 24 hour unmanned and uninterrupted operation.

"Demag Cranes has engineered the most appropriate and competitively priced solution for this application. The crane system has also helped us overcome the difficulties associated with the limited space available for the development of the CCHP facility."