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The

Rail
Book
Gantrail Technical Resource
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rail expertise.
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Certificate No. 5180


Introduction
The Introduction

Rail
Book
A world of crane
rail expertise.
www.gantrail.com
Gantry Railing Limited
The Rail Book

1. Guide to use and introduction

Cranes and industrial machines with steel (or cast iron) wheels are normally mounted on steel rail.
Wheel loads can range from under a tonne to well over 100 tonne. The crane or machine is normally
designed by a mechanical engineer using nationally or internationally recognised design rules. Rails
are typically installed within a civil engineering contract. They work to different rules to those of the
mechanical engineer and the two sets of rules do not cover the interface effectively. The strength and
accuracy of the fixing of the rails is most important for smooth running of machines. This Rail Book is
an attempt to bridge the gap. It covers a wide range of information that may be of value to engineers
and contractors who must install crane rails. Gantry Railing Limited (known as Gantrail) has prepared
this document. The company was founded in 1965 and has been working at the heart of this activity
ever since then. Gantrail’s business is installing crane rails and supplying all the required materials
and equipment.

There are well over a hundred rail sections used, some of which are specifically for crane application
but others, while they may be used for cranes are primarily for railway use. Rails are made all over the
world. There are ranges of shapes, sizes, strengths and hardnesses of rail and the steels from which
they are made. Rails are best when they are jointed to avoid noise, vibration and damage to the
machine as it passes over them. The rails ideally need to be fixed with fastenings systems that allow
accurate adjustment on the construction site. This book attempts to cover all these areas.

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The Contents

Contents
Rail
Book
A world of crane
rail expertise.
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Gantry Railing Limited
The Rail Book

Contents:

1. Guide to use and introduction

2. Crane rails
2.1.1. Crane rail versus railway rail
2.1.2. Families of rails
2.1.3. Railway rails
2.1.4. Crane rails
2.1.5. Uncommon crane rails

3. Comparison of rails
3.1.1. Head width versus weight
3.1.2. Vertical bending versus head width
3.1.3. Vertical bending versus weight
3.1.4. Crane rails versus railway rails for crane applications
3.1.5. Rail head shape
3.1.6. Metallurgy of rails
3.1.7. Stresses at the head of a rail

4. Crane wheels
4.1.1. Crane wheel types
4.1.2. Clearances wheel to rail
4.1.3. Crane wheel/rail interaction
4.1.4. Hardness of wheels

5. Industries and applications


5.1.1. Steelworks
5.1.2. Port Harbours and Container Depots
5.1.3. Aluminium Production
5.1.4. Bulk Material Handling
5.1.5. Automated High Bay Warehouses

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5.1.6. Power Stations
5.1.7. Nuclear Reprocessing
5.1.8. Cement Works
5.1.9. Shipyards and Ship Lifts
5.1.10. Water Treatment Plants
5.1.11. Construction and General Industrial

6. Fixing crane rails

7. Joining crane rail

8. Rail cross section drawings

9. Contact Gantrail

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2. Crane rails

2.1.1 Crane rail versus railway rail

Crane rails (centre and left) and railway rails (right) at a stockist

Steel rails are used in both railway and crane applications but the needs are different and hence the
rails are also different. Trains travel at speeds much greater than cranes and their wagon wheel loads
are typically very much lower. Railway rails are typically designed to span from one sleeper (railroad
tie in the US) to the next while having a hard head to take the wear of the wheel of the wagons. Many
cranes are mounted on rails which are continuously supported and thus they do not need the same
level of beam bending strength. Most rails have a flat bottom or foot. Crane rails can normally be
differentiated from railway rails by their thicker webs. Rails need a foot width greater than the head so
that they have stability to forces perpendicular to the length of the rail. Such forces tend to overturn
them. The drawing below shows three sections. The following table shows the main properties for
these rails.

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The UIC 60 rail section is widely used for railways around the world. It is also known by other names
normally containing the digits 60 indicating a weight of 60 kilograms per metre. The German DIN
standard 536 A75 rail is widely used but it was originally designed to be riveted to the top of a steel
girder. It is not a good crane rail for all applications that are found now. The QU 70 from China has
substantially the same dimensions as rails from India and other countries. It is a good all round design
for crane application. In the case of these two rails the numbers indicate the width of the head of the
rail in millimeters.

Drawing 1: UIC 60; an internationally used railway rail, A75; a German crane rail and QU70; a taller
Chinese crane rail. Note the thin web of the railway rail in comparison with the two crane rails.

Typical crane rails verses railway rail used world wide


Height Head
Foot Weight Area
Rail Designation Amm Fmm B
Cmm Web mm Head Web
kg/m cm2
Ixx cm4 Iyy cm4
A C Ratio
Railway
rail UIC 60 172 150 72 16.5 4.4 60.3 76.9 3055 512.3
Crane rail A75 85 200 75 45 1.7 56.2 71.6 531 1010
Crane rail QU 70 120 120 70 28 2.5 52.8 67.3 1082 327.16

2.1.2 Families of rails

Many rails are designed in what might be termed families. These typically have similarities in their
cross section for a range of different sizes and weights. This is most noticeable with families of railway
rails. The main families are national and indicate past strengths in a countries manufacture capacity.
Thus there is a British family, a German family, an American family and a Japanese family all of which

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are still widely used. These have rails ranging from perhaps 10 kilograms per metre (kg/m) to 60 kg/m.
Some American railway rails are heavier.

2.1.3 Railway Rails

The following table sets out details for a number of families of railway rails indicating the country of
origin of the design specification.
Flat bottomed railway rails from the UK Flat bottomed railway rails from Germany
Height A Foot B Head C Web S Weight Height A Foot B Head C Web S Weight
Rail Name Rail Name
mm mm mm mm kg/m mm mm mm mm kg/m
BS 20 M 65.1 55.6 30.96 6.8 9.8 S10 70 58 32 6 10
BS 30 M 75.4 69.9 38.1 9.1 14.9 S14 80 70 38 9 14
BS 35 M 81 76.2 42.9 9.1 17.45 S18 93 82 43 10 18.3
BS 50 O 100 100 52.4 10.3 24.8 S20 100 82 44 10 19.8
BS 60 A 114.3 109.54 57.15 11.1 30.6 S30 108 108 60.3 12.3 30.03
BS 60 R 114.3 109.54 57.15 11.1 29.8 S33 134 105 58 11 33.47
BS 70 A 123.8 111.12 60.32 12.3 34.8 S41 R10 138 125 67 12 41.38
BS 75 R 128.6 122.2 61.9 13.1 37.04 S41 R14 138 125 67 12 40.95
BS 80 A 133.4 117.5 63.5 13.1 39.8 S49 149 125 67 14 49.43
BS 80 R 133.35 127 63.5 13.5 39.674 S54 154 125 67.1 16 54.5
BS 90 A 142.9 127 66.7 14 45.1 S64 172 150 74 16 64.9
BS 95 R 147.64 141.3 68.26 14.3 44.5
BS 110 A 158.8 139.7 69.9 15.8 54.5
BS 113 A 158.8 139.7 69.9 20 56.4

Flat bottomed railway rails from Japan Flat bottomed railway rails from the USA
Height A Foot B Head C Web S Weight Height A Foot B Head C Web S Weight
Rail Name Rail Name
mm mm mm mm kg/m mm mm mm mm kg/m
JIS 12kg/m 69.8 69.8 38.1 7.5 12.2 ASCE 12 50.8 50.8 25.4 4.8 5.95
JIS 15kg/m 79.37 79.37 42.86 8.3 15.2 ASCE 20 66.7 66.7 34.1 6.4 9.92
JIS 22kg/m 93.7 93.7 50.8 10.7 22.3 ASCE 25 69.9 69.9 38.1 7.5 12.4
JIS 30kg/m 107.95 107.95 60.3 12.3 30.1 ASCE 30 79.4 79.4 42.9 8.3 14.9
JIS 37kg/m 122.24 122.24 62.71 13.5 37.2 ASCE 40 88.9 88.9 47.6 9.9 19.9
JIS 40 kg/m 140 122 63.6 14 40.9 ASCE 50 98 98 54 25
JIS 50kg/m 144.5 127 63.4 14.3 50.4 ASCE 60 108 108 60.3 12.3 29.8
JIS 50N
kg/m 153 127 63.8 15 50.4 ASCE 70 117.5 117.5 61.9 13.1 34.5
JIS 60 kg/m 174 145 63.6 16.5 60.8 ASCE 80 127 127 63.5 13.9 39.8
ASCE 85 131.8 131.8 65.1 14.3 42.3
Flat bottomed railway rails from the International Union of
Railways UIC 132 AREA 181 152.4 74.6 16.7 66
Height A Foot B Head C Web S Weight
Rail Name
mm mm mm mm kg/m
UIC 54 159 140 70 16 54.4
UIC 54 E 161 125 65.6 16 53.9
UIC 60 172 150 72 16.5 60.3

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2.1.4 Crane rails

Crane rails were rolled in a number of industrial countries with cross sections designed by the local
steel company, the country’s national standards body or of another countries designs. There are now
only a few countries rolling crane rail and there are even fewer designs. The most widely used rails
are rolled to the German standard DIN 536 Part 1 1991. They are rolled in a number of countries in
Europe. The next large family by number of rails has its origins in Russian aid after the Second World
War. The Russian origin designs are used in Poland, India and China where they have prefixes PR,
ISCR and QU respectively. The UK no longer rolls the rail that it designed in the past but some of the
designs are rolled in other parts of the world. The crane rails from the USA were rolled by just two
companies and have five similar shaped sections. There are two Japanese crane rail sections. In
Australia and South Africa they used British sections, which are rolled in small quantities in steel mills
specialising in rolling crane rails. The following two drawings show the dimensions that are normally
used to fully define a rail and the dimensions that are used in this document.

Drawing 2: All the dimensions needed to fully define a crane rail.

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Drawing 3: The dimensions used in this book to present and compare rails.

The following tables show the main properties of crane rails that are still generally available. For
convenience they have been divided by head size with less than 100 mm, nominally 100 mm and over
100 mm. The highlighted numbers are the basis for the numbers in the rail name.
Crane rails with head width less than 100 mm
Country of origin Neutral
Height A Foot F Head C Web S Weight Area
Rail Designation of design or Ixx cm4 Iyy cm4 axis
mm mm mm mm kg/m cm2
standard to Base N
Luxemburg &
MRS 51 USA 127 127 63.5 25.4 51.6 66.39 1242 356 56.1
Luxemburg &
MRS 52 USA 131.76 131.76 65.1 23.8 52.09 66.45 1432 362 61.2
Luxemburg &
MRS 67 USA 146.1 131.8 79.4 31.8 67 85.9 2105 503 71.3
Luxemburg &
MRS 73 Australia 157 146 70 32 73.63 9380 2660 674 68
A45 Germany 55 125 45 24 22.1 28.2 90 170 21.7
A55 Germany 65 150 55 31 31.8 40.5 178 337 26
A65 Germany 75 175 65 38 43.1 54.9 319 606 30.3
A75 Germany 85 200 75 45 56.2 71.6 531 1011 34.6
Luxemburg &
73 kg AS Australia 157 146 70 31.8 73.6 93.8 2660 674.4 67
104 CR (MRS 51) USA 127 127 63.5 25.4 51.7 66.45 1240 355.9 56.1
105 CR (MRS 52) USA 131.8 131.8 65.1 23.8 52.2 66.45 1432 364.4 61.2
135 CR (MRS 67) USA 146.1 131.8 78.9 31.8 67.1 85.8 2106 500.8 71.4
QU 70 China 120 120 70 28 52.8 67.3 1081.99 327.16 5.93
QU 80 China 130 130 80 32 63.7 81.13 1547.4 482.39 6.43
ISCR 50 India 90 90 50 20 29.8 38 357.5 111.4 43.2
ISCR 60 India 105 105 60 24 40 51 654.6 195.9 48.3
ISCR 80 India 130 130 80 32 64.2 81.8 1524 468.6 64.7

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Crane rails with head width of 100 mm


Country of origin
Height A Foot F Head C Web S Weight Area Iyy Neutral axis
Rail Designation of design or Ixx cm4
mm mm mm mm kg/m cm2 cm4 to Base N
standard
MRS 85 Luxemburg 152.4 152.4 102.9 31.8 84.83 108.45 3055 991 76.35
MRS 86 Luxemburg 102 165 102 80.3 85.5 108.9 1052.7 1238 47.5
MRS 87 A Luxemburg 152.4 152.4 101.6 34.9 86.8 111.3 3068 975 75.57
MRS 87 B Luxemburg 152.4 152.4 102.2 38.1 86.8 110.45 2923 901 76.6
A100 Germany 95 200 100 60 74.3 94.7 856 1345 42.1
CR 73 Japan 135 140 100 32 73.3 93.4 2000 715 68
Luxemburg &
86 kg AS Australia 102 165 102 80.3 85.5 108.9 1053 1238 47.5
171 CR (MRS 85) USA 152.4 152.4 102.9 31.8 84.8 108.4 3055 997.1 76.5
175 CR (MRS 87B) USA 152.4 152.4 102.2 38.1 86.8 110.3 2922 924.1 76.7
QU 100 China 150 150 100 38 88.96 113.32 2864.73 940.98 7.6
KP100 Russia 150 150 100 38 88.96 113.3 2864.7 941 76
ISCR 100 India 150 150 100 38 89 113 2806 920 76.3

Crane rails with head width more than 100 mm


Country of origin
Height A Foot F Head C Web S Weight Area Neutral axis
Rail Designation of design or Ixx cm4 Iyy cm4
mm mm mm mm kg/m cm2 to Base N
standard

MRS 125 Luxemburg 180 180 120 40 125 160.3 6225 2250 88.6
Luxemburg &
MRS 192 Australia 157.2 229 140 128.3 192
MRS 221 Luxemburg 160 220 220 145 221.4 282.1 6861.9 8167 82.8
A120 Germany 105 220 120 72 100 127.4 1361 2350 47.1
A150 Germany 150 220 150 80 150.3 191.4 4373 3605 72.7
CR 100 Japan 150 155 120 39 100.2 127.7 3270 1358.6 75.7
MRS 192 BHP 192 Luxemburg &
kg Australia 157.2 229 140 120 192 24452 5479 5979 71
GCR 108* France 100 263 123 123+ 108 137.66 1039 7301 49.6
GCR 183* France 120 280 150 150+ 183 234.2 2808 10544 53
QU 120 China 170 170 120 44 118.1 150.44 4923.79 1694.83 8.43
KP120 Russia 170 170 120 44 118.1 150.4 4923.8 1694.8 84.3
KP140 Russia 190 190 140 50 153.49 195.53 7427.23 2483.4 98.4
ISCR 120 India 170 170 120 44 118 151 4794 1672 86.9
ISCR140 India 170 170 140 60 147 187 5528 2609 87.5
* Rail with two equal heads of total width as shown in this table

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2.1.5 Uncommon crane rails

There are a number of crane rails that are not frequently encountered either because they are no
longer rolled or they have special applications. The following drawing shows a few such sections.

Drawing 4: A number of rails from around the world that have been used in crane and railway
application but are either not readily available or are not widely used.

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3. Comparison of rails

Crane makers design and specify all the details of their machines including the wheels. The factors
that affect the choice of rail are the wheel tread width that the crane maker has dictated, the diameter
of the wheel, the wheel load and the duty of the crane. As the crane maker normally defined the
diameter and tread width of the wheel, they often specify or suggest a crane rail. However they are
seldom responsible for the installation of the rail and thus are unlikely to be taking responsibility for the
rail. Thus it is sensible for the rail installer to consider what rail will be best in a particular application
and if necessary try to persuade the facility owner to change the crane maker’s recommendation.

3.1.1 Head width versus weight of crane rails

The following table shows the rail head width versus the weight per metre for a number of crane rails
with 100 mm head width. Clearly the weight of the rail is indicative of the price but there may be other
technical or practical reasons for not using the cheapest. On this basis the lowest cost choice is at the
top of the table.

Crane rails with head width of 100 mm


Weight comparison (and to a degree cost)
Percent Neutral
Country of origin
Rail Weight weight Height Foot F Head C Web S Area axis to
of design or Ixx cm4 Iyy cm4
Designation kg/m increase A mm mm mm mm cm2 Base
standard
on lightest N
CR 73 kg/m Japan 73.3 0 135 140 100 32 93.4 2000 715 68
A100 Germany 74.3 1 95 200 100 60 94.7 856 1345 42.1
171 CR
(MRS 85) USA 84.8 14 152.4 152.4 102.9 31.8 108.4 3055 997.1 76.5
MRS 85 Luxemburg 84.83 14 152.4 152.4 102.9 31.8 108.45 3055 991 76.35
MRS 86 Luxemburg 85.5 14 102 165 102 80.3 108.9 1052.7 1238 47.5
Luxemburg &
86 kg AS Australia 85.5 14 102 165 102 80.3 108.9 1053 1238 47.5
MRS 87 A Luxemburg 86.8 16 152.4 152.4 101.6 34.9 111.3 3068 975 75.57
MRS 87 B Luxemburg 86.8 15 152.4 152.4 102.2 38.1 110.45 2923 901 76.6
175 CR
(MRS 87B) USA 86.8 15 152.4 152.4 102.2 38.1 110.3 2922 924.1 76.7
QU 100 China 88.96 18 150 150 100 38 113.32 2864.73 940.98 7.6
KP100 Russia 88.96 18 150 150 100 38 113.3 2864.7 941 76
ISCR 100 India 89 17 150 150 100 38 113 2806 920 76.3

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3.1.2 Vertical bending versus head width of crane rails

When a wheel applies a force to a continuously supported crane rail the rail is subject to compressive
and bending stresses below the wheel. The level of stress is dependant on the stiffness of the surface
supporting the rail. It follows that it is important to have a reasonable degree of bending resistance in
the rail section. If the rail is not continuously supported then it is also subject to beam bending
stresses. The vertical bending stresses can be determined using a formula, which includes the second
moment of area of the rail often known as Ixx. It can be seen in the table below that the A100 has the
lowest Ixx by a significant margin. Thus it is not a good rail for applications where the rail is not
continuously supported. On this basis the best choice is at the top of the table. It should be noted that
there is a warning in the German standard to warn that the A120 is weak in bending.

Crane rails with head width of 100 mm


Comparison of second moment of area and hence resistance to vertical bending
Country of
Neutral
Rail origin of Percent Ixx Height A Foot F Head C Web S Weight Area Iyy
Ixx cm4 axis to
Designation design or increase on mm mm mm mm kg/m cm2 cm4
Base N
standard Lowest
MRS 87 A Luxemburg 3068 258 152.4 152.4 101.6 34.9 86.8 111.3 975 75.57
171 CR
(MRS 85) USA 3055 257 152.4 152.4 102.9 31.8 84.8 108.4 997.1 76.5
MRS 85 Luxemburg 3055 257 152.4 152.4 102.9 31.8 84.83 108.45 991 76.35
MRS 87 B Luxemburg 2923 241 152.4 152.4 102.2 38.1 86.8 110.45 901 76.6
175 CR
(MRS 87B) USA 2922 241 152.4 152.4 102.2 38.1 86.8 110.3 924.1 76.7
QU 100 China 2864.73 235 150 150 100 38 88.96 113.32 940.98 7.6
KP100 Russia 2864.7 235 150 150 100 38 88.96 113.3 941 76
ISCR 100 India 2806 228 150 150 100 38 89 113 920 76.3
CR 73 kg/m Japan 2000 134 135 140 100 32 73.3 93.4 715 68
Luxemburg &
86 kg AS Australia 1053 23 102 165 102 80.3 85.5 108.9 1238 47.5
MRS 86 Luxemburg 1052.7 23 102 165 102 80.3 85.5 108.9 1238 47.5
A100 Germany 856 0 95 200 100 60 74.3 94.7 1345 42.1

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3.1.3 Vertical bending versus weight of crane rails


Considering the stiffness in bending versus weight the following table has been prepared. On this
basis the best choice is at the top of the table.

Crane rails with head width of 100 mm


Comparison of second moment of area versus weight
Country of
Neutral
Rail origin of Ixx Height Foot F Head C Web S
Ixx cm4 Weight kg/m Area cm2 Iyy cm4 axis to
Designation design or divided A mm mm mm mm
Base N
standard by kg/m
171 CR
(MRS 85) USA 3055 36.0 152.4 152.4 102.9 31.8 84.8 108.4 997.1 76.5
MRS 85 Luxemburg 3055 36.0 152.4 152.4 102.9 31.8 84.8 108.5 991.0 76.4
MRS 87 A Luxemburg 3068 35.3 152.4 152.4 101.6 34.9 86.8 111.3 975.0 75.6
MRS 87 B Luxemburg 2923 33.7 152.4 152.4 102.2 38.1 86.8 110.5 901.0 76.6
175 CR
(MRS 87B) USA 2922 33.7 152.4 152.4 102.2 38.1 86.8 110.3 924.1 76.7
QU 100 China 2865 32.2 150.0 150.0 100.0 38.0 89.0 113.3 941.0 7.6
KP100 Russia 2865 32.2 150.0 150.0 100.0 38.0 89.0 113.3 941.0 76.0
ISCR 100 India 2806 31.5 150.0 150.0 100.0 38.0 89.0 113.0 920.0 76.3
CR 73 kg/m Japan 2000 27.3 135.0 140.0 100.0 32.0 73.3 93.4 715.0 68.0
Luxemburg
86 kg AS & Australia 1053 12.3 102.0 165.0 102.0 80.3 85.5 108.9 1238.0 47.5
MRS 86 Luxemburg 1053 12.3 102.0 165.0 102.0 80.3 85.5 108.9 1238.0 47.5
A100 Germany 856 11.5 95.0 200.0 100.0 60.0 74.3 94.7 1345.0 42.1

3.1.4 Crane rails versus railway rails for crane applications

The following table shows examples of crane and railway rails. The ratio of head width to web
thickness is significantly higher for railway rails. The railway rails are shown in italics. While there are
many crane rail applications, using railway rails, the thin web of railway rails makes them less suitable
for such applications. This is not surprising as the highest railway wheel loads encountered in just a
few parts of the world are of the order 20 tonnes. If railway rails are to be used for crane applications
the allowable wheel load is probably of the order 30 tonnes with the largest railway rail sections. In
such applications a check should be made on the web stress. Gantrail use a calculation that has
proved safe. However there appears to be no published data giving an approved method.

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Railway rails used in crane applications


Head width versus web thickness

Country of origin of Height Foot Head Head width divided by


Rail Designation Web mm
design or standard Amm A Fmm B Cmm C web thickness

MRS 51 Luxemburg 127 127 63.5 25.4 2.50


MRS 52 Luxemburg 131.76 131.76 65.1 23.8 2.74
MRS 67 Luxemburg 146.1 131.8 79.4 31.8 2.50
MRS 73 Luxemburg 157 146 70 32 2.19
S20 Germany 100 82 44 10 4.40
S30 Germany 108 108 60.3 12.3 4.90
S33 Germany 134 105 58 11 5.27
S41 R10 Germany 138 125 67 12 5.58
S41 R14 Germany 138 125 67 12 5.58
S49 Germany 149 125 67 14 4.79
A45 Germany 55 125 45 24 1.88
A55 Germany 65 150 55 31 1.77
A65 Germany 75 175 65 38 1.71
A75 Germany 85 200 75 45 1.67
JIS 22kg/m Japan 93.7 93.7 50.8 10.7 4.75
JIS 30kg/m Japan 107.95 107.95 60.3 12.3 4.90
JIS 37kg/m Japan 122.24 122.24 62.71 13.5 4.65
JIS 40 kg/m Japan 140 122 63.6 14 4.54
JIS 50kg/m Japan 144.5 127 63.4 14.3 4.43
JIS 50N kg/m Japan 153 127 63.8 15 4.25
JIS 60 kg/m Japan 174 145 63.6 16.5 3.85
UIC 60 International 172 150 72 16.5 4.36
ASCE 40 USA 88.9 88.9 47.6 9.9 4.81
ASCE 60 USA 108 108 60.3 12.3 4.90
ASCE 70 USA 117.5 117.5 61.9 13.1 4.73
ASCE 80 USA 127 127 63.5 13.9 4.57
ASCE 85 USA 131.8 131.8 65.1 14.3 4.55
104 CR (MRS 51) USA 127 127 63.5 25.4 2.50
105 CR (MRS 52) USA 131.8 131.8 65.1 23.8 2.74
135 CR (MRS 67) USA 146.1 131.8 78.9 31.8 2.48
ISCR 50 India 90 90 50 20 2.50
ISCR 60 India 105 105 60 24 2.50
ISCR 80 India 130 130 80 32 2.50
Railway rails are in italics

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3.1.5 Rail head shape

Crane wheels are designed and specified using well established design rules. The Europe wide rules
are issued by FEM (Fédération Européenne de la Manutention = European Federation of Materials
Handling and Storage Equipment). The current methods used for determining the useful rail head
contact width are split into two separate categories, one for a flat rail head and another for a cambered
or curved rail head. All rails have a small radius at both corners of the head. Drawing 4 showed some
rails with flat heads and some with cambered heads.

The equations are as follows;

For a Rail with a Flat Head; b = W – 2 r (1)

For a Rail with a Cambered Head: b = W – 4/3 r (2)

Where b = Useful width of Rail Head


W = The total width of the Rail Head
r = The radius of the Rail

Using these equations we can see the difference that is made by having a cambered rail head.
Consider the DIN standard A75 Rail which has a cambered head now but used to be made with a flat
head;
(1) 75 – (2 x 8) = 59 mm
(2) 75 – (4/3 x 8) = 64.3 mm
Thus the cambered rail head is considered to be 5.3 mm wider than the flat head. This means that the
subsequent calculations will allow a 9% increase in wheel load on a cambered head rail. In practice
the rail head is quickly flattened by the wheel and this advantage is not technically sound, particularly
when the rail is mounted on an flexible supporting pad such as Gantrail Mark 2 or Mark 7 pads.

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3.1.6 Metallurgy of rails

Crane rails to German standard DIN 536 are supplied in two standard steel grades with tensile
strengths of 690 and 880 N/mm². Similar specifications are used in many other parts of the world. A
third grade of harder stronger rails of 1080 N/mm² strength is available but less common. This tends
to be known as a vanadium grade as it contains some of that element. In the USA they tend to use
less alloying elements and rely for strength on a high carbon content and heat treatment. American
rails were rolled by ArcelorMittal in both the USA and Europe, and basic information on some of these
grades is included in the table below.

GRADES Tensile strength Yield strength Elongation Hardness Brinell


2
Rm mini (N/mm ) Re mini (N/mm²) Elongation 5d mini (%) HB mini on section (for
Standard grades info. purpose)
70 690 355 12 200
90 880 440 8 260
110 Cr-V 1080 640 7 320

Heat treated grades HB mini (**) on section


HB >321 1080 650 10 321
HB > 341 1180 700 9 341
Technical Specifications for The Delivery of Arcelor Rodange
Crane Rails (December 2006 edition). Kindly supplied by ArcelorMittal.

The chemical composition of crane rails is important when they are to be welded. This will be covered
in more detail in another section of this book. The table below gives details of the composition of rails
supplied by ArcelorMittal. They are the largest makers of crane rails in Europe and possibly in the
world.
Chemical analysis (for information purposes)

Element %C % Mn % Si % Pmax % Smax %V % Cr


Standard Grades
70 0.40 - 0.60 0.70-1.25 0.10 - 0.40 0.045 0.045 - -
90 0.60 - 0.80 0.70 - 1.25 0.10 - 0.40 0.045 0.045 - -
110 Cr - V 0.65 - 0.85 0.90 - 1.30 0.20 - 0.50 0.04 0.04 0.06 - 0.20 0.10 - 0.40
Heat Treated Grades
HB > 321 0.65 - 0.85 0.70 - 1.25 0.10 - 0.40 0.03 0.03 - -
HB > 341 0.65 - 0.85 0.70 - 1.25 0.10 - 0.40 0.03 0.03 - -
Technical Specifications for The Delivery of Arcelor Rodange
Crane Rails (December 2006 edition) Kindly supplied by ArcelorMittal

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3.1.7 Stresses at the head of a rail

The steel rail and steel wheel are the best combination for carrying very high forces over significant
distances. But the stress regime is complex. The subject has been extensively researched and one of
the first notable workers on the general subject of bodies in contact was Heinrich Hertz in the 1880s.
More recently there has been much work on railway rails and railway vehicle wheels. The following
images are from the paper ‘A systems approach to evaluating rail life by Jaiswal J., Blair S., Kay T.,
Bezin Y., Iwnicki S.D. of Rail Technology Unit, Manchester Metropolitan University.’ The one on the
left shows the stress patterns in a rail. It should be noted that the highest stress, the red, is below and
not at the surface of the rail. The one on the right shows the stress levels in a railway vehicle wheels.

Finite element analysis of wheel on railway rail

The analysis has considerable similarities to the case of a crane rail and wheels. Again it will be seen
that the highest stresses are below the surface. These stresses account for one form of rail failure that
is occasionally seen. The surface layer of the rail becomes detached from the body of the rail to a
depth of perhaps 3 mm. It is this type of stress analysis which allows the rules for allowable wheel load
for cranes to be written.

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4. Crane wheels

4.1.1 Crane wheel types

The function of the crane wheel is to transfer the vertical wheel load into the rail. This is normally the
highest force. They must also guide the crane along the rail. A number of methods of guidance are
used. Most cranes have wheels that have a flange on both sides of the rail. In some instances wheels
have only one flange to one side of the rail, as do typical railway vehicle wheels. Some cranes have
no flanges on the wheels but rely on guide rollers to steer the crane. These are typically a short
distance ahead of and behind the main wheel. The horizontal force that is carried by the wheel can be
up to 20% of the vertical force. Crane design codes set rules for the tread width of the wheel and
hence the width of the head of rails for a given vertical load. In the same equation are the wheel load,
wheel diameter and two coefficients, one related to the duty of the crane the other for the wheel
material strength.

Typical double flanged wheel of a container crane

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4.1.2 Wheel to rail clearances

The clearance between the wheel and the rail is not defined in rules and a wide range of values can be
found. One crane maker has said that they use a figure of between 10 and 20%. It will be seen from
the photographs below that the range can be greater.

Wheel rail clearance as normally expected. Modern container crane

Considerably more clearance than normal. An old stockyard

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4.1.3 Crane wheel/rail interaction

The design of crane wheels in Europe is defined in the FEM rules. These are similar in their
requirements to a number of national standards including those of Germany and Britain. The standard
is copyright and cannot be reproduced fully here. Two requirements must be met. A mean wheel load
is defined from three loading conditions of the crane. The rail head width is then determined using the
wheel diameter, the wheel metal strength, the effective rail head width and two coefficients. The range
of wheel strengths covered is 500 to 1000 N/mm. The coefficients fall in the ranges 100% to 177%
and 100% and 156%. It is seldom possible for those involved with the installation of crane rails to
have enough data to be able to complete these calculations. Thus they must accept the requirement
of the crane maker. However it is sensible to carry out a quick check on the suitability of the crane rail
head width. It is then possible to suggest the most suitable cross section and steel grade of rail to be
considered.

The simplest method for carrying out a quick check of rail head width is as follows. Allow 2.5 mm head
width per tonne for vertical wheel load for heavy-duty cranes. Allow 1.7 mm for normal and light-duty
cranes. These two guides make a number of assumptions including that the ratio of rail head width to
crane wheel diameter is typical for the industry.

The horizontal force that the wheel applies to the rail is given in the design rules. The FEM Rules give
the force in the range 5% to 20% of the vertical wheel load depending on the span of the crane across
the building to the wheelbase along the rail. Other standards have more detailed methods of
calculation but unpublished work suggests that these approaches may be simplifications.

4.1.4 Hardness of wheels

Before discussing the hardness of wheels it is worth commenting briefly on the relationship between
hardness and tensile strength. Harder materials have a higher tensile strength. There are tables
giving conversions between these two properties. However they need to be used with caution, as in
tests there is less consistency than might be implied. Work hardening at the head of a rail can result in
higher hardnesses and as consequent over estimates the tensile strength. This is particularly
important in the case of rails. The carbon and manganese content of the rails typically are high and
these are the main element in the work hardening of rails. The table below gives some sample
comparisons of hardness and tensile strength in units used in most of the world and in the USA.

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Vickers Equivalent Equivalent


Brinell 3000
Diamond Rockwell Tensile Tensile
Kg. Load
Pyramid Number Strength For Strength For
10mm Ball
Number Steel Steel
C. Scale 150
Hardness
Vickers HV kg Diamond N/mm2 Tons/sq.in
Number HB
Cone
627 765 60 2116 137
601 717 58 2023 131
578 675 57 1946 126
555 633 55 1869 121
514 567 52 1730 112
477 515 49 1606 104
461 494 47 1544 100
415 437 44 1405 91
401 420 42 1359 88
363 375 38 1220 79
331 339 35 1112 72
302 305 32 1019 66
293 296 31 988 64
269 270 28 911 59
262 263 26 880 57
241 241 23 803 52
235 235 22 788 51
212 212 17 710 46
207 207 16 695 45
174 174 7 602 39
143 143 -3 510 33
Taken from an American source on the internet.
Springfix http://www.springfixlinkages.com/english_intro.htm

In the FEM Rules table T.9.12.a gives a range of wheel tensile strengths from 500 to 1000 N/mm2 in
intervals of 100 N/mm2. The highest of these values are far from the highest encountered.
The American market has developed independently to most of the rest of the world. There were two
main rail sources, Bethlehem and US Steel. Both had sections with 2 ½ (61 mm) and 4 inch (102 mm)
heads, one also had a 3 inch head rail. However they often use higher strength grade sections (up to
350 BHN or 1170 N/mm2) and much harder crane wheels with hardness of 60 Rockwell number. Care
needs to be taken if American origin cranes are to be used on other than American rails.

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5. Industries and applications

This section of the book discusses some of the main applications of crane rails in industry. It tries to
outline some of the special considerations that must be taken into account when choosing a crane rail
and in designing the rail installation. Gantrail are always pleased to expand on what is presented here.

5.1.1 Steelworks

Steelworks not only produce crane


rails they are also considerable users
of rails. There are a number of
different applications in steelworks
necessitating a range of rails and
solutions. At the start of the
steelmaking process there may be
bulk handling of coal, coke and iron
ore. This is covered in more detail in a
further section of this book. The
steelmaking plant has the heaviest Steelworks showing the process plant. Photograph by Ralph Gant.

cranes normally encountered in any industry for the moving of ladles filled with molten metal. They are
sometimes known as electric overhead travelling cranes (EOT). Rails with 120 to 150 mm head are
used (102mm in the USA) and the cranes move slowly. The beams of the cranes across the bay are
large enough and the wheel loads are such that the cross travel are significant rail installations. The
cranes in the mill areas are some of the most arduous applications in all industry. Rails typically have
100 mm head width. The cranes are relatively high span across the building bay but quite short
wheelbase. This ratio determines the proportion of vertical wheel load that is considered to apply
horizontally to the rails perpendicular to their length. The FEM Rules give a range of 5% to 20%.
Unpublished research work undertaken at a university in South Africa has suggested that the figures
can be higher if the rails are out of alignment or the cranes are not running true. Due to the high duty
and high loads the Gantrail type 9 clips are normally used in conjunction with Gantrail Mark 7
continuous steel reinforced pad below the rail. There are other buildings in steelworks for other
processes, workshops and other duties. These have cranes that are less taxing on the rail system.

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5.1.2 Port Harbours and Container Depots

There has been a steady increase in the size and


carrying capacity of container ships since the
1960s when containers became common for sea
transport. Early container cranes typically weighed
600 tonnes whereas current designs are in excess
of 2000 tonnes with perhaps only eight wheels per
corner. At the dock level large section rails are set
into the concrete beams to carry the weight of the
wheel crane. The DIN 536 A150 with 150 mm rail
head is now widely used in all but the USA where
Ship to shore container crane at Felixstowe
they use CR 171 with a 102 mm head.
Container cranes move slowly along the track and
the application is not too arduous. There are high
wind forces to be designed for. As these only
occur infrequently and when the crane is not in use
it can lead to over pessimistic views on needed rail
head width. But there are two heavy duty rail
applications for container cranes. The more
arduous application for the container crane is the
rail installation that allows the trolley to pass from
landward onto the boom and over the ship. Every
container movement requires the rail to pass over
the centre of this and it includes a joint which
allows the hinge to be lifted for berthing of vessels.
These rails typically have 75 or 100 mm head
width. Gantrail type 9 clips are normally used in
conjunction with Gantrail Mark 7 continuous steel Boom rail on a container crane

reinforced pad below the rail. Other rail mounted cranes are often used at container terminals and
ports. The storages yard for containers may have rail mounted cranes and these may be mounted on
concrete beams or sleepers. There is often a container handling facility for taking containers from the
in-port, pneumatic wheeled tugs to a railway wagon. Typically these will have concrete beams
embedded in the ground on which the tracks are mounted.

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5.1.3 Aluminium Production

The most significant parts of


aluminium plants are the pot rooms.
These can be very long and cover the
pots that are used to convert alumina
to aluminium by electrolysis. The
alumina is extracted from mined
bauxite in a chemical process. The
pots are served by cranes and it
essential that the pots are attended as
and when required. Thus there are
special arrangements made so that Aluminium plant pot room

cranes can be removed from the track and serviced away from the area of the pot room. This often
results in a requirement for very low longitudinal forces in the rail. Gantrail have supplied a number of
solutions with modified type 9 clips to meet these requirements. The rails used tend to be to DIN 536
A sections. Gantrail type 9 clips are normally used in conjunction with Gantrail Mark 7 continuous
steel reinforced pad below the rail. There are other buildings in aluminium plants for carbon anode
handling, workshops and other duties. These have cranes that are less taxing on the rail system.

5.1.4 Bulk Material Handling

In the bulk materials handling facilities


there may be stackers and reclaimers
for iron ore, coal, logs, limestone and
other raw materials. The larger of
these machines are found in the
handling of coal and iron ore. These
may weigh 600 tonnes running on long
straight or curved tracks outdoors.
They use rails mounted on concrete.
They may be railway type rails or in
heavier cases crane rails. Taller crane Limestone handling for a cement works

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rails are more suitable as they can be mounted on discontinuous supports along the concrete ground
beam. The machines move quite slowly and they are relatively square in the plan of their wheels.
Hence they are not aggressive to the rail tracks. With discontinuously supported rails Gantrail type 3
clips are normally used in conjunction with Gantrail Mark 2 elastomeric pad below the rail.

5.1.5 Automated High Bay Warehouses

Automated and high bay warehouses employ cranes that


run on a single rail at ground or floor level. These are
sometimes known as storage and retrieval machines.
They are very tall in relation to their wheelbase. The
height of the crane mast may be 30 metres with a
wheelbase of just 7 metres. The buildings in which they
are installed have a simple steel section at the top of the
mast that acts as a steady and guide to the top of the
crane. With such machines the main challenge is to install High bay warehouse at Volvo plant

a rail that is very accurately levelled. It could lead to


oscillation of the crane mast if it was passing down a rail
that is not level. The rails used are typically of the railway
style. These are typically mounted on the concrete floor
of the warehouse on individual pads of steel
supported on high quality non-shrink grout. In some
instances it is arranged that the spacing of the pads or
discontinuous supports, is a whole number division of the
crane wheelbase. With discontinuously supported rails
Gantrail type 3 clips are normally used in conjunction with
Gantrail Mark 2 elastomeric pad below the rail.

Several high bay warehouse cranes parked at the


end of their aisles

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5.1.6 Power Stations

The main area served by cranes in a


conventional power station is the turbine hall.
This has little need for cranes on a day-to-day
basis but the heavy lift requirements are needed
during initial installation and subsequent servicing
activities. The cranes need to be very
controllable and to be able to inch slowly to the
exact position for lifting and lowering items such
as turbine casings and shafts. The rails are
typically 100 mm head width Large coal fired power station deep in the countryside
for power stations with large 500 megawatt
generators but smaller for the newer generation
of lower capacity generators. Coal filled power
stations may need bulk handling facilities. These
are covered elsewhere.

In nuclear power stations there may be a further


high integrity crane in the containment building.
Gas fired power station near to the centre of a city
As the buildings are circular the cranes rotate
around rails mounted on the walls. They are known as polar cranes. As the head of a reactor can
weigh around 250 tonnes these cranes have a significant lift that they perform infrequently. But the
nuclear industry is rightly very quality and reliability conscious. Thus installing crane rails in such
environments requires a great deal of verification, inspection and integrity checking. This inevitably
adds to installation costs. Due to the high integrity required the Gantrail type 9 clips are normally used
in conjunction with Gantrail Mark 7 continuous steel reinforced pad below the rail.

5.1.7 Nuclear Reprocessing

Relatively few countries undertake nuclear reprocessing and the number of processes differ from
facility to facility. However it is common for the fuel for power stations to be transported in strong
heavily reinforced casks that protect from radioactive exposure. Other activities require a range of
lifting operations. The cranes do not tend to move quickly and the original design is cautious and

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conservative. However there are some special considerations. Some buildings cannot be entered
after they have been commissioned. This means that cranes must be used to access them and
accurately pick items from store. The design life for such plants must be up to 100 years. As radiation
can cause changes to organic materials it is not common to allow rubber, plastics, polymer and epoxy
grout in areas that are subject to high radiation. Due to the high integrity required the Gantrail type 9
clips are normally used in conjunction with Gantrail Mark 7 continuous steel reinforced pad below the
rail for many areas of the plant. In active cells pads are not used and the clips have the rubber
member omitted.

5.1.8 Cement Works

Cement is made from lime bearing material, normally limestone. This is quarried and transported in
vehicles and on conveyors. However it is stacked and blended in bulk facilities which are covered
elsewhere in this book. There are applications for cranes in some plants. In some works the clinker
from the furnace is placed in bunkers and then recovered with grabbing cranes before being fed into
crushers. This is a most arduous application and in some countries the customer demands concrete
structures be used in keeping with the industry. The wheel loads are not necessarily very high and
rails with 100 mm head are typically used. Due to the high duty and harsh environment the Gantrail
type 9 clips are normally used in conjunction with Gantrail Mark 7 continuous steel reinforced pad
below the rail.

5.1.9 Shipyards and Ship Lifts

It was tradition for shipyards to have a main crane of


the portal or goliath type. Such applications are still
being constructed but the largest growth area is in
smaller dedicated facilities with ground based
transfer systems rather than overhead lifting means.
The steel for shipbuilding is cut to shape in large
workshops with overhead cranes. Inside workshops

sections of vessels are assembled and then


Shiplift with shipyard at rear
transferred by means of overhead cranes or
ground transfer rail systems. These are quite heavy duty applications but they will not lift the rated
load very frequently. Gantrail type 9 clips are normally used in conjunction with Gantrail Mark 7

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continuous steel reinforced pad below the rail. Shipyards are now being built with very extensive rails
systems entailing thousands of metres of rails. The rails will typically have 100 mm head for heavier
applications or a large railway style rails for lower loads. The rails are either supported on continuous
or discontinuous sole plates and they are fixed with Gantrail type 3 clips.

Once a vessel is completed it is transferred to the water and lowered into it at a ship lift. These have a
platform supported by rows of winches to each side. The vessel is slowly lowered into the water.
Such facilities are used for commercial vessels and military craft such as submarines. The rails on the
shiplift are often fixed with clips that are more solid in construction and clamp the rail in position.

5.1.10 Water Treatment Plants

The water industry normally undertakes


two functions – water supply and sewage
treatment. While the facilities are kept
separate for health and infection
prevention there are similarities in the
process plant. But it is in the sewage
treatment plants that most new rail

installations are being made. The


sewage is normally piped to the plant
where it passes through a course filter
system. It then passes into settlement
tanks where solids settle to the bottom
over a set period of time. The liquid then passes on to other
Sewage treatment plantprocess equipment.
tanks during The
installation of peg settlement
tracks tanks
needs to be scraped so that the solids can be taken to one end concentrated and extracted for further
processing. Tanks are typically rectangular and have a wheel-mounted bridge over them. This needs
to be driven with a force greater than can be achieved by friction between the
wheels and rail. There are several driving systems in ascending order of sophistication and
effectiveness. Rope operation was used but is now more normally replaced with a peg track system.
Here there is a light railway type rail to take the wheel load and then a parallel track formed from ‘U’
shaped folded metal with circular dowels at close intervals. A sprocket on the machine drives against
this track.

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More sophisticated still are systems using rack and pinion with properly formed gear teeth on a bar
beside the rail and a gear wheel on the machine. The benefit of these systems is that the pushing
effort can be greater with increased sophistication and hence the output of the given concrete tank can
be maximised. The rails are typically mounted on discontinuous sole plates and fixed with Gantrail
type 3 clips. Gantrail Mark 2 pads are used below the rail. At a later stage in the process the
contaminated water may be trickled slowly through a bed of coke or plastic shapes. The large surface
area of these allows air and oxygen to act on the water. These beds may be round or rectangular and
may have relatively light rail mounted distributors systems. The rails are railway type and are
discontinuously mounted. Gantrail type 3 clips and Mark 2 pads are appropriate for this application.

5.1.11 Construction and General Industrial

There are many industries and applications,


which have not been described in this section.
Study of the crane design rules give a range of
applications and define how they should be
rated when design is being undertaken. The
following table is extracted from the FEM Rules
and shows a number of applications as well as
the classification. The higher the figure the
more arduous the duty of the crane.
Concrete block manufacture

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Type of crane Highest group


classification
Hand-operated appliances 2
Bridge cranes (with crab and/or slewing jib crane) 4
Deck cranes with hook 4
Erection and dismantling cranes for power stations, machine shops, etc. 5
Stocking and reclaiming transporters with hook 5
Workshop cranes 5
Deck cranes with grab or magnet 5
Bridge cranes for unloading, bridge cranes for containers 6
Stocking and reclaiming transporters with grab 8
Overhead travelling cranes, pig-breaking cranes, scrapyard cranes (steelworks) 8
Soaking-pit cranes (steelworks) 8
Forge cranes (steel manufacture) 8
Bridge cranes for unloading, bridge cranes (with crab and/or slewing jib crane) 8
Extract from FEM Rules table T.2.1.2.5

For Gantrail to be able to effectively support our customers, it is important to know the industry and the
application of the crane. In the table above the group classification 8 is indicative of the heaviest duty.

There are two other factors that are important in the design of cranes and also in understanding the
duty that a crane rail system must endure. It is important to know the hours of operation that a crane
will experience or more particularly the number of lifts that it will undertake. It is also important to know
the number of times it will be lifting the maximum load for which it has been designed. As far as the
crane rail installation is concerned the general rule is that Gantrail type 9 clips are stronger and used
for the most arduous applications.

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6. Fixing crane rails

The purpose of this book is to give a considerable amount of detail about crane rails and their
application. The business of fixing crane rails is the prime activity of Gantrail. Thus it would take up
too much of this volume and unbalance it if it were to cover the area completely. However it needs
introduction. Beyond this introduction there is the web site at www.gantrail.com where considerably
more information and guidance will be found. Thus this section will be limited to a table, which acts as
a flow chart for the decisions that must be made in designing an installation. This is followed with
drawings of typical arrangements of rails mounted on steel and concrete.

Input data Consideration Output


1 Rail Section If the rail section is given but no wheel load is specified assume Vertical Wheel Load
the wheel load to be 0.5 tonnes per mm of head width.
2 Vertical Wheel Load If no rail section is given and only the wheel load, seek advice Rail Head Width. Suggest
from Gantrail Technical Department, a rail manufacturers rail sections to customer
catalogue or choose on basis of 2.5mm head width per tonne of
wheel load for heavy duty cranes and 1.7mm head width for
medium and light duty cranes.
3 Horizontal Wheel If this is not given, it cannot be calculated easily without Horizontal Wheel Load
Load considerable amount of information about the crane. Assume it is
15% of the vertical wheel load. It is sensible to inform the
customer of the assumption.
4 Industry/Support Outputs required are: should pad be used? Clip type? Clip Type of Mounting and Clips
Steel/Concrete spacing? E.g. Steel Industry - use type 9 clips. (Mounting on
concrete go to item 8 below. This is mainly a matter of experience
or may be found in other parts of this book).
5 Girder/Support Rail bottom flange width plus clip width must not exceed girder or Confirm Girder Width
Width sole plate width. Customer must supply this or accept our
suggestions.
6 Our range of Clips Clips must fit rail. See the Gantrail data sheets or seek advice of Clip reference
Gantrail. Clips must be able to economically take crane horizontal
wheel load. Clips must fit on girder. (For narrow girders consider
9116/08 or 7120).
7 Clip reference, Clip spacing cannot be calculated but only checked by calculation Clip spacing
wheel loads, rail in some cases. Hence Gantrail use experience. The guide is:
Normal spacing is 600 to 650mm. Very Heavy Duty Cranes
500mm. Light Duty Cranes 800mm.

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8 Concrete Mounting Wheel loads above 35 tonnes, heavy-duty applications and steel Full details of system
works use continuous soleplate. See other Gantrail information.
9 Discontinuous Discontinuous mounting is suitable for lighter applications and Full details of system
Mounting most cases with vertical wheel loads of less than 15 tonnes. It is
heavily dependant on the industry and application. Between 15
and 35 tonnes, rely on experience or consult Gantrail Technical
Dept. It is necessary to calculate the rail stress and sometimes
deflection. For high bay warehouse cranes (storage and retrieval
machines), deflection must always be checked.
10 Order Clips, Pad Precisely define the materials that are needed. Please also supply Gantrail supply the
and Gantrail Materials any supporting information that may be necessary for Gantrail to required materials
check the application and process the order. Indicate what rail
section is to be used. A completed questionnaire is always helpful. Happy Customers
Please tell Gantrail the industry in which the application is to be
used.

Drawing 5: Details of a medium duty crane rail installation on a rolled steel girder.

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Drawing 6: Details of a heavy duty crane rail installation on a continuous steel sole plate on a concrete
beam.

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Drawing 7: Details of a medium duty crane rail installation on discontinuous steel sole plates on
concrete.

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7. Joining crane rail

Crane rails are typically supplied in 10 or 12 metre lengths but cranes run best on continuous rails.
For crane applications it is possible to join railway and some crane rails with splice bars. These bars
are readily obtainable for railway rails but not necessarily for crane rails. The best solution for crane
rails is to weld the joint and this book will only consider that solution in detail.

Crane rails are made from hard steels, which contain high percentages of carbon and other elements
that make welding more difficult. Thus the choice of rail, steel or strength grade and welding process
are important in installing a crane rail installation. All crane rail welds should fuse the full cross
sectional area of the rail. Partial penetration welds almost always fail early in their service life.

7.1.1. Rail Welding Methods

Full details of rail steels are covered in more details earlier in this book. Rails steels have carbon
contents, which are very much higher than steels used for most other engineering purposes. Thus the
welding techniques and consumables have developed to meet these needs. The key information
required before welding rail is the carbon equivalent. This is given by the following formula.

Mn Cr +Mo + V Ni + Cu
Carbon equivalent (CE) = C + —— + —————— + ——-—
6 5 15
Where the elements are
C Carbon
Mn Manganese
Cr Chromium
Mo Molybdenum
V Vanadium
Ni Nickel
Cu Copper

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Structural steel has a maximum CE of 0.54 %. The weakest grade of crane rail steel has carbon
content in the range 0.40 to 0.60 %. The welding techniques and methods take account of this by
using a high preheat temperature. They also allow the rails to be joined with square cut ends, which is
clearly the cheapest from of preparation.

Three techniques are commonly used:

• Puddle Arc also called Enclosed Arc


• Aluminothermic
• Flash butt

7.1.1a The Puddle Arc or Enclosed Arc Method

Puddle Arc Welding was developed by Philips Welding, probably in the 1950’s. The method was
developed as a means for joining any large cross section steel items together. The welding of crane
rails became a particular application, which is now a specialist area. In the method the two rail ends to
be joined are cut square and placed about 20 mm apart. The base of the rail at the gap has a copper
strip placed beneath it and a mild steel strip of 16 mm by 3 mm section is placed on the copper. This
strip prevents the arc of the welding process striking on the copper. The strip is fully melted in the
welding process and becomes alloyed with the weld metal. Thus the composition of the strip is not
important, providing it does not contain significant impurities. The welding process uses large diameter
electrodes (5 or 6 mm) and a high current to fill the majority of the gap. The process is to strike the arc
on the rail ends and to melt the electrode and rail into a puddle of weld metal, which is covered with
liquid slag, derived from the coating on the electrode. As the steel of the rail and characteristics of the
flux are both very different from other welding processes, special electrodes have been developed for
this process. While it is possible to use some conventional low hydrogen electrodes for puddle arc
welding, it is discouraged. The gap between the rail ends is filled in two stages normally. The foot of
the rail is first welded. This is done run by run with the slag being chipped off after each run. Following
this the remainder of the weld is completed. To prevent the puddle of weld metal and flux from flowing
away from the weld, copper mould pieces are placed either side of the weld. The welding is stopped
about 10 mm from the top of the head to allow the rail to cool to the weld preheat temperature. It is
then continued to above the head of the rail. After cooling it is ground back to form the final running

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The Rail Book
surface for the crane wheel. This pause in the welding allows the upper layer of weld to attain a higher
hardness then fully annealed material.

The precise procedure for puddle arc welding rails needs to be specified on the basis of the rail steel
and the application details. The rail ends must be placed at a small angle to each other, (in the vertical
plane). This is to allow for distortion due to shrinkage of the weld metal. The ends of the rails must be
pre-heated to a temperature dependant on the carbon content of the steel. Some electrodes are not
suitable for some carbon contents. Gantrail can supply draft procedures. The completed weld may
need to be cooled under controlled conditions, i.e. insulated with a thermal blanket, depending on rail
steel composition.

Puddle arc welds are never perfect. It is normal to entrain some slag and to have a limited degree of
lack of fusion or undercut at the bottom. They cannot be inspected easily thus it is wise to agree the
quality control standards for production welds before work starts. The agreed standard should be
based on trial welds or past experience.

7.1.1b Aluminothermic Welding

In aluminothermic welding a refractory sand mould is placed around the two square cut rails ends. The
gap between the rail ends is about 30 mm. The rail is preheated to a temperature dependant on the
chemical composition of the rail and the precise welding process. A crucible containing a combustible
powder, iron and alloying elements is placed above the mould. The powder is ignited and when it
attains the correct temperature, it melts a plug and flows into the mould. On completion of the weld and
solidification of the steel the mould is broken away and the runners and risers are removed either
manually or by means of a special shearing machine. The cooling and post weld heat treatment of the
rail are chosen dependant on the rail material and the application.

Comparison of Aluminothermic and Puddle Arc Welding

Both the aluminothermic and puddle arc processes are suitable methods for welding most grades of
crane rails. The choice of method is normally dependant on local factors. Puddle arc is cheaper on its
use of consumables. Aluminothermic welding is quicker per joint. As there are normally two men to an
aluminothermic welding team, the manpower requirements of the two processes are similar. Thus

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The Rail Book
overall puddle arc is cheaper. In some cases, aluminothermic welding is considered to be potentially
too dangerous to be undertaken above ground level. Puddle Arc is the most economical process for a
small number of welds.

The weld metal quality of aluminothermic welds is of high integrity compared with puddle arc welds.
However, the performance of the two systems are both adequate as the fracture resistance of puddle
arc weld metals may be higher than that of aluminothermic.

7.1.1c Flash butt welding

Flash butt welding is commonly used for railway rail welding in steel mills before shipment. It is also
used on site for railway rails. It requires thousands of amps current and hence heavy equipment. The
rail ends are heated while in contact and when they are hot enough they are forged together. The
process is used for crane rail welding on site in North America but it has not found much application in
other parts of the world.

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The Rail cross section
drawings

Rail
Book
A world of crane
rail expertise.
Rail cross

drawings
section

www.gantrail.com
Gantry Railing Limited
The Rail Book

8. Rail Cross Section Drawings


8.1. List of commonly available rails
Rail Designation Country of origin of design or
standard
A45 Germany
A55 Germany
A65 Germany
A75 Germany
A100 Germany
A120 Germany
A150 Germany
AS 86 Luxembourg
MRS 87 A Luxembourg
t
MRS 86 Luxembourg
MRS 87 B Luxembourg
MRS 85 Luxembourg
MRS 125 Luxembourg
MRS 221 Luxembourg
MRS 73 Luxembourg
MRS 51 Luxembourg
MRS 52 Luxembourg
MRS 67 Luxembourg
QU 70 China
QU 80 China
QU 100 China
QU 120 China
ISCR 50 India
ISCR 60 India
ISCR 80 India
ISCR 100 India
ISCR 120 India
ISCR140 India
CR 73 kg/m Japan
CR 100 kg/m Japan
73 kg BHP Australia
86 kg BHP Australia
192 kg BHP Australia
104 CR USA
105 CR USA
135 CR USA
175 CR USA
171 CR USA
KP 60 Russia
KP 70 Russia
KP 80 Russia
KP100 Russia
KP120 Russia
KP140 Russia
GCRD 108 France
GCR 183 France

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The Rail Book

8.2. Disclaimer
These rail drawings are supplied as a guide and in good faith. Rails are made to specifications which
are subject to change and they are made to tolerances which are not shown on these drawings.
However these drawings should give a guide to the shape, style and overall dimensions. Not all rails
that are shown in standards are presented as drawings. Some rails that are shown in standards are
not readily available. Gantrail can advise on availability of particular sections.

Rails are listed by country of origin but this is sometimes not the full story. For examples the German
rails which are identified with a name such as A100 are made to a German DIN standard in a number
of countries as well as Germany. The Russian crane rail sections which are not necessarily all shown
here, are the basis for rails rolled in the Czech Republic, India and China. However the details shown
in each countries standard’s are not identical.

These drawings were produced using an AutoCAD program. If you do not have such a program on
your computer but would like to be able to open, view and print basic copies of the drawings do please
contact Gantrail on info@gantry.co.uk or at the address below. We will direct you to a free program or
we may be able to supply you with a licence free copy of a program that will allow you to use the
drawings.

Rails tend to be referred to by their weight or their head width in millimetres. The weight is normally
given in kilograms per metre of rail length. By good fortune rails with inch and pound measurements
have a weight in pounds per yard (three feet or 36 inches) of almost exactly double the kilograms per
metre figure. This can lead to rails having more than one designation.

Gantry Railing Limited will not accept any responsibility for the consequences of any errors that may
be present in these drawings.

The Rail Book Issue 03 Uncontrolled when printed


THIRD ANGLE PROJECTION FOR GUIDANCE ONLY
THIS IMFORMATION HAS BEEN Edition C Date 25/05/16 Scale 1:2 @ A4
PROVIDED IN GOOD FAITH BUT
SPECIFICATIONS DO CHANGE

74,6

35,6
185,7

17,5

30,2
11,1

152,4

NOTE: THE PROPERTIES SPECIFIED BELOW HAVE BEEN CALCULATED USING AUTOCAD SOFTWARE AND ARE ACCURATE AT THE
TIME OF THIS DRAWING ISSUE. THESE FIGURES MAY DIFFER SLIGHTLY FROM THOSE PUBLISHED IN THE STANDARD FOR THE RAIL.

R
Rail Designation 68KG BHP

GANTRAIL Gantry Railing Limited Rail Origin AUSTRALIA


SUDMEADOW ROAD, HEMPSTED Standard BHP RT STD
GLOUCESTER GL2 5HG, ENGLAND 2

Rail Mounting Systems Tel: (01452)300688 Fax (01452)300198 Area of section 8614 mm
International Dialling # 44.1452
http://www.gantrail.com
Calculated Mass 67.6 kg/m
THE TECHNICAL DATA CONTAINED IN THIS DRAWING IS THE PROPERTY E-Mail: info@gantrail.com Neutral Axis to base 85 mm
OF GANTRY RAILING LIMITED AND IS SUBJECT TO COPYRIGHT C 4 4
Moment of Inertia Ixx 3934 cm IYY 603 cm
THIRD ANGLE PROJECTION FOR GUIDANCE ONLY
THIS IMFORMATION HAS BEEN Edition A Date 05/08/14 Scale 1:1 @ A4
PROVIDED IN GOOD FAITH BUT
SPECIFICATIONS DO CHANGE

70

46

14,5
140

14
11
27

18

114

NOTE: THE PROPERTIES SPECIFIED BELOW HAVE BEEN CALCULATED USING AUTOCAD SOFTWARE AND ARE ACCURATE AT THE
TIME OF THIS DRAWING ISSUE. THESE FIGURES MAY DIFFER SLIGHTLY FROM THOSE PUBLISHED IN THE STANDARD FOR THE RAIL.

R
Rail Designation 43kg
Gantry Railing Limited Rail Origin CHINA
SUDMEADOW ROAD, HEMPSTED Standard GB/T699-1999; GB2585-2007
GLOUCESTER GL2 5HG, ENGLAND 2

Rail Mounting Systems Tel: (01452)300688 Fax (01452)300198 Area of section 5701 mm
International Dialling # 44.1452
http://www.gantrail.com
Calculated Mass 44.75 kg/m
THE TECHNICAL DATA CONTAINED IN THIS DRAWING IS THE PROPERTY E-Mail: info@gantrail.com Neutral Axis to base 68.4 mm
OF GANTRY RAILING LIMITED AND IS SUBJECT TO COPYRIGHT C 4 4
Moment of Inertia Ixx 1480 cm IYY 258 cm
THIRD ANGLE PROJECTION FOR GUIDANCE ONLY
THIS IMFORMATION HAS BEEN Edition C Date 15/04/15 Scale 2:1 @ A4
PROVIDED IN GOOD FAITH BUT
SPECIFICATIONS DO CHANGE

32

20,9
70

6
11,2
4

58

NOTE: THE PROPERTIES SPECIFIED BELOW HAVE BEEN CALCULATED USING AUTOCAD SOFTWARE AND ARE ACCURATE AT THE
TIME OF THIS DRAWING ISSUE. THESE FIGURES MAY DIFFER SLIGHTLY FROM THOSE PUBLISHED IN THE STANDARD FOR THE RAIL.

R
Rail Designation S10
Gantry Railing Limited Rail Origin GERMANY
SUDMEADOW ROAD, HEMPSTED Standard DIN 5901
GLOUCESTER GL2 5HG, ENGLAND 2

Rail Mounting Systems Tel: (01452)300688 Fax (01452)300198 Area of section 1272 mm
International Dialling # 44.1452
http://www.gantrail.com
Calculated Mass 10.1 kg/m
THE TECHNICAL DATA CONTAINED IN THIS DRAWING IS THE PROPERTY E-Mail: info@gantrail.com Neutral Axis to base 35.1 mm
OF GANTRY RAILING LIMITED AND IS SUBJECT TO COPYRIGHT C 4 4
Moment of Inertia Ixx 85.8 cm IYY 13.8 cm
THIRD ANGLE PROJECTION FOR GUIDANCE ONLY
THIS IMFORMATION HAS BEEN Edition C Date 14/04/16 Scale 1:1 @ A4
PROVIDED IN GOOD FAITH BUT
SPECIFICATIONS DO CHANGE

63,5
42,9
133,3

13,1

16,3
8,7

117,5

NOTE: THE PROPERTIES SPECIFIED BELOW HAVE BEEN CALCULATED USING AUTOCAD SOFTWARE AND ARE ACCURATE AT THE
TIME OF THIS DRAWING ISSUE. THESE FIGURES MAY DIFFER SLIGHTLY FROM THOSE PUBLISHED IN THE STANDARD FOR THE RAIL.

R
Rail Designation 39 E1 [BS 80 A]
Gantry Railing Limited Rail Origin UK
SUDMEADOW ROAD, HEMPSTED Standard BS 11 1985
GLOUCESTER GL2 5HG, ENGLAND 2

Rail Mounting Systems Tel: (01452)300688 Fax (01452)300198 Area of section 5065 mm
International Dialling # 44.1452
http://www.gantrail.com
Calculated Mass 39.8 kg/m
THE TECHNICAL DATA CONTAINED IN THIS DRAWING IS THE PROPERTY E-Mail: info@gantrail.com Neutral Axis to base 65.5 mm
OF GANTRY RAILING LIMITED AND IS SUBJECT TO COPYRIGHT C 4 4
Moment of Inertia Ixx 1205 cm IYY 220 cm
The Contact Gantrail

Rail
Book
A world of crane
rail expertise.
www.gantrail.com
Gantrail
Contact
Gantry Railing Limited
The Rail Book

9. Contact Gantrail

We are committed to delivering outstanding service to all of our clients and partners worldwide and we
are always happy to provide technical support and advice on your projects.

Please contact us with your enquiry and we will be delighted to assist you.

Gantry Railing Limited


Sudmeadow Road
Hempsted
Gloucester
GL2 5HG

Tel: +44 (0) 1452 300688


Fax: +44 (0) 1452 300198

Email: info@gantrail.com
Web: www.gantrail.com

Gantrail Contacts:

Malcolm Trigg Managing Director malcolm.trigg@gantrail.com


Les Spencer Director and General Manager les.spencer@gantrail.com
Peter Bygrave Technical Manager peter.bygrave@gantrail.com
Malcolm Gray Commercial & Estimating Manager malcolm.gray@gantrail.com
Dieter Verheyen Senior Project Manager dieter.verheyen@gantrail.com
Jean-Claude Englebert Area Manager salesME@gantrail.com

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The Rail Book

Acknowledgements:

Gantrail would like to express their thanks for the significant amount of work undertaken in the
preparation and provision of this Rail Book.

Notably, we would like to thank the following people and organisations:

• Warwick Faville
• Union Railtrack
• Arcelor Mittal
• Earl & Thompson Marketing

We would also like to acknowledge external parties whom have not been specifically
referenced throughout the document but whose available information has been used as
reference.

We look forward to developing The Rail Book in line with the needs and requirements of our
customers and partners worldwide. If you have any comments or suggestions regarding The
Rail Book including feedback on its further development please email info@gantrail.com.

The Rail Book Issue 03 Uncontrolled when printed