We do not exactly know when the old bridge crane of the Wielemans-Ceuppens brewery was operational for the last time. However, it is very likely that it has been out of work for more than 50 years.
The bridge crane – also know as overhead crane – is a vital tool for transporting heavy loads and for installing machinery and equipment. The specimen installed in the Wielemans-Ceuppens machines room has a lifting capacity of 2 tons and could originally be driven all over the room. Nowadays, however, its full movement is no longer possible since the new lighting installations of the room were placed too low during the renovation of the building.
The bridge runs through rails fixed on the walls. It uses nothing but applied mechanics: with the help of its chains, a kid could control and move the bridge and its two rail trolleys. The bridge itself is made of a truss, a structural principle often used for bridges.
With the trolleys – and each of them with a hoist – it is possible to lift a long beam by grabbing its extremities. The accuracy of the movements is impressive, since the de-multiplication with gears massively reduces the required traction force. Besides, mechanic bridge cranes like these are safer in case of power failure because it rolls and it is controlled manually. Nowadays, however, most bridges are electric.
The bridge crane is fully restored now. The work of restoration consisted mainly of polishing the gears; softening the residual greases and oils; removing obstructions with the help of a jack, and helping the gears work. It is shining bright, literally, as a result of the anti-rust treatment!
Our technicians have also developed an ingenious system to prevent the driving chains from rubbing a ventilation duct that had been installed recently in the room. During the restoration, our team of technicians has worked with the help of a scaffolding and made use of safety harnesses and a lifeline.
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