Regensburg Germany. A Self-Erecting Tower Crane has collapsed due to an apparent luffing rope failure. Unfortunately this is not an uncommon cause of self-erector accidents. The solution is simple, inspect the ropes during the crane erection. No one was injured and the damages are apparently are around 50,000 Euros. Sorry for the delay but only searching in German allowed me to find the accident… Kran Unfall
So the rope. The jibs on many of the self erecting tower cranes are pulled up via a luffing winch with a rope. The winch is locked in place and the jib is held up by the rope. After the crane is erected it’s difficult to inspect the rope. It would require a man basket or other powered access such as a snorkel lift. While the rope is on the drum you are only inspecting a third of the visible rope. So as the crane’s mast is being extended you have to inspect the rope. I like to stand over the hoist with a tower wrapped around the rope. The towel protects my hands from wires, yet it lets me feel the shape of the rope and any broken wires will snag the towel clearly showing the problem and it’s exact location. This is the trick I use for hoist rope inspections as well. I can’t tell you how much time it saves and how much more effective this is over a visual inspection of one side of the rope.
I cringe when I get a call to inspect self-erector tower cranes after they are erected. The luffing ropes are critical but the least inspected item. I spend extra time on site to see the whole crane erected because of this item. I sometimes spend more time on a small self-erector than I do on a large crane because of this time. It must be done.