Increasing levels of international trade are helping grow opportunities for the strongest crane rail ever rolled by British Steel.
The company launched a hard-wearing, high-strength crane rail grade in October 2020, and enquiries are on the up, especially in emerging markets in Asia. Special Profiles Account Manager James Platts said: “The market for these particular crane rails is relatively small but growing. We’re seeing an increasing trend for its use in the Far East including at Kowloon, Singapore and Shanghai – but demand is widespread and in the last year alone, we’ve also had enquiries for ports in Belfast, Barcelona, London, Dubai, Jeddah and Freemantle.”
The crane rail’s industry name is 110CrV, recognising that it has additions of chromium and vanadium, which give the steel rails a longer life span than standard grades. Developed on the back of an existing specification used in the rail sector, the chemistry was carefully adjusted to develop the exacting product required by the world’s port operators.
“This crane rail’s higher strength is helping customers achieve significant time and cost savings,” said James. “Their strength mean they’re more durable so the time between rail replacements is extended and they can carry heavier loads too, allowing port operators to increase their capacities.”
The crane rails are laid into the ground and enable huge cranes to manoeuvre alongside ships so they can unload containers onto the dockside. The cranes themselves are very weighty and when carrying heavy containers too, the rails are continually exposed to extremely heavy loads.
James said: “A great deal of work went into developing the steel specification needed to cope with the constant crane movements. We also had to use our expertise to adapt the straightening processes in our Skinningrove mill to roll this specification.
“Customers are not just choosing our crane rail because of the significant benefits it brings, they also want to work with us because of our deserved reputation for high-quality products and service. It’s exciting to see the market demand growing around the world and we expect this trend to continue, so we’re now starting to explore how we could extend our 110CrV product range to provide the world-class products our customers are looking for.”