Worldwide in-demand problem solver
ELEPHANT BRAKES by RIETSCHOTEN, in Hanover, is a brake specialist with an international reputation. Word has even spread to Melbourne, in Australia, more than 16,000 km away: There, manufacturer Eilbeck Cranes equipped its cranes with Elephant Brakes brake calipers during the construction of a new subway line, paving the way for Rietschoten to enter a new, very promising market.
Several times a day, workers on the new subway tunnel in Melbourne descend as much as 40 meters (more than 130 feet). The Australian company Eilbeck Cranes, which supplies specialized cranes for mining and distinct construction projects all over the world, has installed four crane systems for this purpose. The systems move personnel loads of up to two tons. Rietschoten's special spring-activated hydraulic brakes ensure that they can be safely braked, even in the event of an accident.
The new metro line is scheduled for completion in 2025. An estimated 20,000 passengers per hour will use the route, which is more than nine kilometers long. Worth more than eleven billion Australian dollars, it is one of the biggest construction projects in Melbourne in the last 40 years.
Rietschoten has been assembling and marketing industrial brakes since 1961. The company started out as a sales partner for products from international manufacturers, but soon also focused on its own developments in order to penetrate deeper into the value chain. In the meantime, almost all products are developed and produced in Hanover. The company is regarded worldwide as an expert in brake solutions.
Looking for solutions
This reputation has extended all the way to Australia. An engineer from Eilbeck Cranes had come across the specialists in Hanover while searching for suitable brakes for the new subway project in Melbourne. "A call from Australia doesn't reach you every day, of course," Uwe Enge says, "but we were able to develop and offer an optimum solution very quickly." Alongside Andreas Holka, also a graduate engineer, he is responsible for the company's management, and focuses on sales. As he sees it, this is not just about marketing specific products: "Our goal is to develop the best solutions for our customers' challenges."
In the case of Eilbeck Cranes, this meant that not only was a safe braking system needed that would stop large loads safely but, at the same time, be small and compact in design so that it could be integrated into Eilbeck Cranes' equipment without much effort.
Rietschoten's solution to this problem: R&H 200.552.01, a powerful but very compactly designed spring-operated hydraulic brake. No other competitor currently offers such a small model with such great braking power at a comparable price.
This is a spring-activated, hydraulic-opening brake system. Hydraulics normally cancel out the braking effect, so the braking principle is reversed to provide safety in the event of a system failure: force is used to keep the system open. If this force fails—for example, due to an accident or power failure—the system automatically closes and stops the moving loads. The achieved braking force of 10,400 N is equivalent to the weight of 25 mid-sized cars, or a tank. The unique know-how of the experts at Rietschoten guarantees that the brake discs function reliably under these loads and do not begin to glow due to the friction that occurs. In this context, the R&H 200.552.01 is the result of Rietschoten's innovative modular system, which allows individual product configuration for every requirement, and is based on the R&H 200 product series, which was first introduced to the market in 2017.
Business field data
"There is also an opening and closing detector on the brakes," Andreas Holka explains. "The crane operator can see the status of the brake —open or closed—right from the cockpit, at all times." In the future, Rietschoten wants to develop digital services, such as this analysis of data collected by way of sensors, as a new and promising business field. "For example, we can determine signs of wear at an early stage this way and communicate them to customers."
Technology, service and the price/performance ratio have demonstrably convinced this new customer Down Under. Eilbeck Cranes has already asked for support in subsequent projects, such as the Brisbane Cross River Rail in Queensland, and the Auckland Rail in New Zealand. That means Rietschoten is establishing a permanent representation in the Australian market. "We were able to win a promising sales partner in Australia that has a strong presence in heavy industry, especially iron ore mining," says sales director Uwe Enge, adding, "We want to secure a piece of the pie in this very lucrative market."
In the future, the company will also rely on a modular brake system in double-caliper and floating-caliper designs. Rietschoten has high hopes for this latest new development, what they call the EBS series. "We are already training our worldwide sales partners," says Uwe Enge, adding, "but there are other innovations in the works." He sees exciting potential applications for the new modular braking systems, especially in heavy industry and mining.
In Australia, the company is already well positioned for this.