Balancing act: Ozgur Yalcin, SSAB Middle East
Nowadays, globalised businesses, with digitised models, always ask for fast delivery and work cycles. Cranes and lifting equipment are therefore expected to provide high working speeds and short load cycles. The industry is aiming for more compact designs with lower deadweight and higher lifting capabilities. Achieving higher payload and performance, with lighter structures of stronger steel, is utopia for those in the business of manufacturing and using lifting equipment.
And high-strength steel has now made this possible. Mobile and loader cranes, aerial platforms, forklifts, excavator buckets, and other lifting equipment can greatly benefit from the usage of high-strength steel. High-strength steel boasts greater strength than conventional carbon steel. Lower weight ensures a higher and farther reach along with lower fuel consumption. A higher strength-to-weight ratio means better payload as well as savings in material costs and construction schedules due to lesser steel quantities and lower assembly operations.
Innovative and adaptable applications
SSAB high-strength steel and its various grades have been developed after years of close coordination and inputs from customers, and a deeper understanding of their needs and their unique challenges. Current grades of SSAB’s high-strength steel are highly adaptable for various applications, with excellent bendability and high weldability. In addition to the net payload, any lifting equipment has to carry its own. Now how do customers get stronger yet lighter and more efficient lifting products?
To make products stronger, lighter or more efficient, the primary focus can be:
- Upgrade to a steel with a higher yield and tensile strength, such as Strenx
- Use less material in the product in order to save weight
- Optimise the design to suit the purpose of the product upgrade
At SSAB, we share expertise in high-strength steel design and implementation from decades of experience dealing with the lifting sector. This helps us direct lifting applications that are consumer-driven, cut weight without compromising strength and safety, lower fuel consumption, and reach higher peaks. Our flagship product Strenx features the world’s widest choice of high-strength structural steels in terms of high quality, yield strength, and dimensional range. Yield strengths range from 600Mpa to 1300Mpa, with the latter being the strongest steel available on the market.
Reducing weight while improving strength
Common drive for strength is usually weight and thickness. Reaching higher heights on construction sites means erecting buildings, halls, bridges, and similar components faster, which often means heavier single lifts. The choice of steel for cranes and large lifting devices is vital in such scenarios and it must be able to withstand all applied stresses while carrying the loads from the lift.
Designed to reach higher and wider
SSAB Strenx high strength steels’ potential to improve performance is a natural consequence of its intrinsic steel properties like density and stiffness, as well as how the designer optimises its use. To achieve both stronger and lighter structures, design engineers can benefit from the superior mechanical properties of high-strength steel while considering the design consequences.
For example, some key considerations, not limited to these, can be:
- Stiffness when using thinner material
- Buckling phenomena can be handled as well with longer parts and thinner gauge
- Potential fatigue challenges from loading cycles
Despite the challenges, working with steel in the 600-1300MPa range can be highly rewarding especially with an optimised design. At SSAB, we work closely with our customer teams to address and solve their unique end-user requirements.
High on safety
Another key benefit of high-strength steel clearly demonstrated is its capability to deliver greater performance without compromising the high levels of personal safety required by lifting equipment. High-strength steel in a boom can make any lifting equipment more competitive through increased reach, both upwards and outwards, while also keeping the structure strong and safe yet light and sustainable.
High-strength structural steel also boasts uniformity by virtue of its homogenous properties, which ensures consistency and reliability in production and use, translating into a higher safety index. Among applications, aerial platforms are a good example. Working at great heights quickly and safely requires dimensionally accurate high-strength steel components. High-strength steel also enables stable structures for the long-reaching concrete pump trucks (CPT) required for high-rise towers and complex construction sites.
Strong but flexible
High-strength steel possesses the unique trait of being strong yet flexible. High-impact toughness, which provides for good resistance to fractures, is a guaranteed value, meeting strict specifications of load-bearing applications, and is a key advantage of high-strength steel. However, at the same time, high-strength steel boasts impressive ductility, which ensures a proper resistance behaviour when put under tensile stress such as tension, compression, or rolling.
Bending and forming of complex shapes enhances design and production efficiency. High-strength structural steel is available across a wide dimensional range and its variety of thickness opens up tremendous possibilities for innovative design. To sum up, high-strength steels offer significant weight savings over traditional steel grades, enhance possibilities of innovative design to improve efficiencies, and are flexible for use in ‘hybrid’ applications. From high yield and impact resistance balanced with considerable ductility to higher payload, lower fuel consumption, and increased greater safety, high strength steel is a clear winner for lifting applications.