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Newport #1

Shipbuilding System Upgrade

Newport News, VA

Marine Terminals | Manufacturing | Crane Systems | Power & Motion Technology | by Samantha Lotz | Feb 01, 2016


As the largest shipbuilding company in the United States, Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) needs to be at the top of their game to effectively build the most advanced ships in the world. This includes keeping their overhead and gantry crane equipment running at the most efficient levels. Intended to avoid any production slowdowns due to wearing parts, system failures, or crane downtime, NNS scheduled 10-15 year overhauls of multiple cranes and their components.

NNS was able to improve coordination among the system components, enhance facility safety, and minimize downtime by implementing a solid crane modernization program. Properly planning an effective modernization program was key in updating drives and wireless control systems in a timely manner to keep the facility running at a high level.

By modernizing crane control systems on a pre-determined schedule, NNS avoids lengthy downtime and critical operation issues. Cranes are able to quickly return to service as a result of the facility’s foresight. Additionally, universal components can be purchased, eliminating the financial burden of investing in multiple spares. One transmitter and receiver pair may be used on several different cranes.

Initial steps in the scheduled upgrade plan included modernizing crane controls by adding Magnetek’s industry-leading IMPULSE®•G+ and VG+ Series 4 variable frequency drives. IMPULSE•G+ drives are typically installed on bridge and trolley motions, while hoist motions utilize VG+ drives. Preventative maintenance monitors are built into the drives, providing feedback needed to proactively schedule maintenance and minimize downtime, making them ideal for NNS’s systems. IMPULSE drives improved overall crane operation and simplified maintenance requirements.

Shipbuilding System Upgrade

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