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machine design, Vol.6(2014) No.

2, ISSN 1821-1259

pp. 59-62
Research paper


Rastislav OSTAKOV1,* - Atila ZELI1 - Ivan KNEEVI1 - Ninoslav ZUBER1 - Klara RAFA1

University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Technical Sciences, Novi Sad, Serbia

Received (09.12.2013); Revised (22.04.2014); Accepted (24.04.2014)

Abstract: The newly adopted norm EN 15 011 considering bridge and portal cranes contains a series of novelties for
crane designers. In the scope of this norm, the so called rigid method for determining the loads caused by skewing
during bridge cranes travelling and their trolleys traversing has been introduced. The aim of the paper is to give a
shorter algorithm, supplementary comments, and numerical examples that point out the main phases of skewing forces
calculation procedure, i.e. to contribute to the easier understanding and usage of rigid method in calculations.
Key words: skewing forces, EN 15 011, rigid calculation method, bridge crane, crane trolley

Skewing during bridge (and other) cranes travelling is a
permanent phenomenon. The main cause of skewing is
trolley traversing laterally to the crane track during load
transfering within the limits of crane manipulating space,
bringing about the differences in wheel vertical loads and
travelling resistance forces on crane track rails. Appart
from it, various geometrical imperfections (in the first
place errors occured during crane track rails installation,
proccessing and mounting wheel assembly components
and supporting structures) exert considerable influence
upon the occurence and intensity of skewing forces during
crane travelling along rail tracks [1, 2, 3]. Current bridge
cranes are equipped with independent travelling drive
systems, causing the need of coordination of their electromotors in aim to avoid the excessive skewing forces.
Contemporary electro/mechanical and control systems
enable realization of crane "guiding" accompanied with
considerably lower lateral loadings.
Frequent skewing forces action during crane travelling
can cause the failures of various forms of wheels and
other driving mechanism components, rails and their
supporting structure, and crane structure [8]. Defining of
intensity, character and occuring frequency of these forces
precisely as possible is equally important for cranes
designers and designers of building structures with crane
rail tracks.
Detailed reviews of significant theoretical and
experimental research papers considering defining the
loadings due to crane skewing are given in [1, 2, and 3].
Nowadays, defining of bridge and portal cranes skewing
loadings is determined in EN 15 011.
According to [4], crane/trolley skewing forces are generally
classified into the occasional loads and load combination B
(in case of skewing limiting system even in C) [5], i.e. left
out of crane structure fatigue calculations. The frequency of
skewing forces occuring determines whether they are to be
classified as regular or occasional loads. So, due to their

stochastic character, it is necessary to analyze in more

detail whether these forces are in certain cases relevant for
the fatigue based calculations [8].
In [5] rigid and flexible methods for the skewing forces
calculation are introduced. The first one is used on the
premise that crane and its track structures can be
considered as rigid. The second one is intented primarily
for portal and semiportal cranes with structures (main
girders) considered as flexible. Also, this method is to be
used in cases when it is not possible to determine exactly
whether the crane structure is rigid or flexible one.
Skewing forces of bridge cranes and trolleys are to be
calculated according to the rigid method.


In the paper only rigid method for calculation of crane
and trolley skewing forces is regarded, for a top running
bridge crane and trolley with 4 wheels.

2.1. Rigid method - bridge cranes, [5, 6, 7]

Rigid method for defining the skewing forces is based on
the following assumptions and simplifications:
crane main girders and end trucks are rigid,
unsteady crane travelling is not considered,
crane track is assumed as horizontal and skewing
angles as small, and
geometrical imperfections are neglected.
In Fig. 1 two bridge cranes with 4 vertical wheels are
presented. Crane travelling direction and rail direction
form an angle . Crane is laterally guided along the track
by flanged wheels, Fig. 1.a or by horizontal guiding
rollers, Fig. 1.b.
Crane travelling along the track is usually performed by
independent drives mounted on end trucks, therefore with
uncoupled driving wheels (a pair of driving wheels
marked as "I"), or today very rarely by coupled pair of

*Correspondence Authors Address: University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Technical Sciences, Trg Dositeja Obradovia 6,
21000 Novi Sad, Serbia,

Rastislav ostakov, Atila Zeli, Ivan Kneevi, Ninoslav Zuber, Klara Rafa: Application of Rigid Method for Determining the Skewing Forces
on Bridge Cranes and Trolleys according to EN 15011; Machine Design, Vol.6(2014) No.2, ISSN 1821-1259; pp. 59-62

driving wheels (marked as "C"). But, there is a lack of

coordination between EN 15 011 [5] and EN 13 001-2 [4]
concerning the term "coupled". According to [5] only
mechanically coupled wheels are considered as "coupled"
and electrically coupled wheels as independent, without
any further consideration of free (nondriving) wheels. But
in [4] electrically coupled driving wheels are also
considered as "coupled". Vertical wheels can be axially
fixed (meaning that their bearing arrangements enable
transfer of axial forces) and marked as "F", or axially
movable (if bearing arrangements do not enable transfer
of axial forces) and marked as "M".

Fig.1. Bridge crane with 4 vertical wheels and guiding

by means of: a) wheel flanges; b) guide rollers
It is assumed that during crane steady motion skewing
force YF occurs in the contact point of front guide means
and rail head side. Obviously, trolley is in position that
corresponds to the maximal value of force YF. In [5] is
stated that in case of crane with mechanically coupled
driving wheels, the maximal value of YF corresponds to
the trolley position in the middle of span l, i.e. when crane
wheel vertical loads are approximately equal. But, for the
case of crane with uncoupled driving wheels, there is a
confused explanation: "The position of the trolley is
located in such a way that the maximum skewing forces
are computed. This is usually a location on the opposite
side of span in relation to the side with uncoupled drives."
Relevant trolley position for a crane with uncoupled
driving wheels is commented further in the paper.
Algorithm of the procedure for defining the skewing
forces on crane guide means and vertical wheels, according to the "rigid method" is presented in Fig. 2.

Fig.2. Procedure of defining values of forces Yj i YF

according to rigid method, [5]
The next comments complete certain calculation items:
- Comment 1: Minimal values of clearances between the
guide means and rail head side sgmin depending on the type
of guide system: for trolleys sgmin = 4 mm (wheel flanges
guiding) or sgmin = 2 mm (rollers guiding); and for cranes
sgmin = 10 mm (wheel flanges guiding) or sgmin = 5 mm

Rastislav ostakov, Atila Zeli, Ivan Kneevi, Ninoslav Zuber, Klara Rafa: Application of Rigid Method for Determining the Skewing Forces
on Bridge Cranes and Trolleys according to EN 15011; Machine Design, Vol.6(2014) No.2, ISSN 1821-1259; pp. 59-62

(rollers guiding). In [5] for the case sg (4sgmin)/3 stands

by mistake g = sgmin/wb, the correct term is g = sg/wb.
- Comment 2: Norm [4] gives no special values of w in
dependance on the guiding system, only the general term
w = 0,1(bh/wb).
- Comment 3: Undisturbed crane travelling along its track
(without impacts or wheels becoming wedged) requires
the value 0,015 rad.
- Comment 4: The adopted value of friction factor 0 in
the previous versions of EN 15 011 is 0 = 0,3, without
any further explanation, but in [5] value of 0 is defined
for two cases: 0 = 0,3 for clean rail and 0 = 0,2 for
uncleaned rail in usual working environment. When using
"rigid method", linear form of f is not allowed in case 0
< 0,2 (in expression for f value of = is in radians).
- Comment 5: Values of vertical loads on wheels with
bearings not transfering lateral loads, are to be assumed as
zero in equations for defining summs S, Sd and Sdd. In [5]
is incorrectly defined: S = Zj = mg (the weight of crane
with load) without any further explanation, because Zj is
previously defined as Zj = 0 in case that wheel bearing
arangement doesn't transfer axial forces. Therefore, the
equation S = mg is correct only if bearing arangements
of all wheels transfer axial forces. If the wheel No j is in
front of front guide means (e.g. rollers), the corresponding
value of dj is to be inserted with negative sign into the
expressions for calculating Sd and Sdd.
- Comment 6: Resulting force on the shaft No i of coupled
wheels Wi is to be calculated only in case when vertical
forces on the first and second wheel (Z(1)i, Z(2)i) are greater
than zero. For the shaft No i corresponding force acting in
x direction: Xi = flbWi can be calculated, too.
- Comment 7: Force on the guide means YF = Yj (e.g. for
a crane with 4 wheels YF = Y1+Y2+Y3+Y4). Basically,
model for defining the loads due to skewing according to
[4] doesn't differ much from the model in "rigid method"
(except differently marked and grouped characteristics in
calculation), but procedure in [5] doesn't define a method
for calculating the distance from the front guide means to
the crane instantaneous sliding pole, see in [1, 2, 3, 4].

2.2. Rigid method - bridge cranes trolleys, [5, 6]

Fig. 3 represents the skewing forces acting on flange
guided wheels of a double-girder bridge crane trolley.

Fig.3. Bridge crane trolley with 4 vertical flanged wheels

Assumptions and simplifications mentioned in 2.1 go for

trolleys, too. There are no more detailed explanations or
limitations in [5] concerning the application of rigid
method for determining values of trolley skewing force
YF. Therefore, the algorithm in Fig. 2 can be used also in
case of trolley. It is necessary to point out the minimum
recomended trolley track clearance values: sgmin = 4 mm
(for flanged wheels), or sgmin = 2 mm (for guide rollers).


Further given two examples illustrate the calculation of YF
forces value according to the rigid method.

3.1. Numerical example and comments on the

obtained results: Defining the skewing forces
of a single girder bridge crane [7]
A shorter numerical example is given in aim to define
trolley positions corresponding to the maximal calculated
values of skewing force YF for various crane wheel-pair
combinations. Data on single girder bridge cranes with 4
wheels, Fig. 1 are given in Tab. 1.
Table 1. Basic crane data
Crane characteristics
Crane 1
Crane 2
capacity Q [t]
span l [m]
guide means
wheel flanges guide rollers
crane mass mc [kg]
trolley mass mt [kg]
rail head width bh [mm]
clearance sg [mm]
distance wb [mm]
d1 = d3 = 0
d1 = d3 = 185
distances dj [mm]
d2 = d4 = 1500 d2 = d4 = 1685
Values of YF are calculated for various wheel bearings
arrangements and 3 trolley center of gravity positions: (R)
1,65 m from the right hand rail, (M) in the span middle,
and (L) 7,25 m also from the right hand rail. Slip friction
coefficient f is defined on the basis of friction factor
value 0 = 0,3. The obtained results are given in Tab. 2.
EN 15 011 predicts maximal skewing forces on cranes
with mechanically coupled driving wheels on the same
axis when trolley is positioned in the crane span middle.
On the basis of calculation results in the example, it can
be concluded that statement is correct only if all wheels
are equipped with bearings capable of axial force transfer,
and one or both wheel pairs are mechanically coupled.
As already mentioned, EN 15 011 doesn't define in
unmistakable terms the critical trolley position in case of
crane with mechanically independent driving wheels. In
such case, if all wheel bearings are capable of axial force
transfer, intensity of YF is independent of trolley position
(and of crane lateral guiding system, as well). But, if
wheels on the end truck with guide means in contact with
rail head side, are equipped with bearings capable of axial
force transfer, and on the opposite end truck are with
axially free bearings, maximal values of YF are obtained
when trolley position is next to the guiding end truck.

Rastislav ostakov, Atila Zeli, Ivan Kneevi, Ninoslav Zuber, Klara Rafa: Application of Rigid Method for Determining the Skewing Forces
on Bridge Cranes and Trolleys according to EN 15011; Machine Design, Vol.6(2014) No.2, ISSN 1821-1259; pp. 59-62

This stands also for other wheel-pair combinations, if at

least one wheel is with axially free bearing (regardless of
the existence of driving wheels mechanical coupling). The
only exception to this rule is the IFF-IFM combination
with wheel flanges lateral guiding.
Table 2. Review of calculated values of force YF (crane)
Angle [rad]

Crane 1
Crane 2
Skewing force YF [N]

(1)* - wheel-pair combinations:

XXX-YYY front (1&3)-rear (2&4) wheel pair,
C mechanically coupled wheel pair on the same axis,
I uncoupled (mechanically) wheel pair on the same axis,
F wheel bearing capable of
first mark denotes right
axial force transfer,
hand wheel, second one
M axially free wheel bearing. denotes left hand wheel.
(2)* - trolley position (see Fig. 2).

Skewing forces for cranes with mechanically coupled

driving wheels are usually greater than for cranes with
independent (uncoupled) wheels.

3.2. Numerical example and comments on the

obtained results: Defining the skewing forces
of a bridge crane trolley
Skewing forces are determined according to Fig. 2 and 3,
also for a case of a double-girder bridge crane trolley with
next parameters: crane capacity Q = 20 t, trolley mass mt
7500 kg, and l = 2 m, bh = 50 mm, sg = 10 mm, wb =
2430 mm, d1 = d3 = 0, d2 = d4 = 2430 mm, f = 0,25.
Similarly to the example in 3.1, various wheel bearing
and trolley driving systems are considered for calculating
the values of YF. Survey of results is given in Tab. 3.
Table 3. Review of calculated values of force YF (trolley)
Angle [rad]
Skewing force YF [N]
IFF-IFF/IFM-IFM 33856,8/16928,4 32211,9/16911,1
IFF-CFF/IFM-CFM 38760,0/16928,4 37342,4/16911,1
CFF-CFF/CFM-CFM 42422,8/16928,4 40863,0/16911,1
(1) - wheel pairs combinations (see Tab. 2 and 2.1),
(2) - force YF calculated on the basis of the next assumption:
Z1 Z2 Z3 Z4 [(Q+mt)g]/4, where g = 9,81 m/s2,
(3) - force YF calculated for the various Zj values, determined on
the basis of real positions of trolley centre of gravity.


Trolley skewing during traversing is less noticeable then

crane skewing during travelling. Reviewed results indicate
that in case of trolley, higher skewing force values are
obtained when bearings of all wheels are capable of axial
force transfer, i.e. when traversing is performed by 1 or 2
pairs of mechanically coupled driving wheels (not often
used system nowadays). When determining forces Zj and
maximum values of force YF, sufficiently accurate results
are obtained even if uniform wheel vertical loading
distribution is assumed (not quite exact, due to usually
unsymmetrical distribution of trolley structure loads).

ENs in effect contain detailed calculation procedures for
determining skewing force values during crane travelling
and trolley traversing, but due to problem complexity and
large number of relevant parameters, further research is to
define cases (on the basis of experimental results, e.g. by
machine monitoring) when skewing loads exert relevant
influence on fatigue occurrence in crane structure and
driving systems. Analysis of procedure given in [5] and
its usage in numerical examples point out the need for
additional consideration of some obscured terms in [5].

The paper is a part of project TR 35036 (Application of IT
in harbours of Serbia - from machines monitoring to the
network system of EU environment), financially supported
by Serbian Ministry of Science and Technological

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