When FiberMax Crane Pads were introduced at the 2014 ConExpo-Con/Agg Expo, the product marked a turning point for the industry. The first of its kind crane pad combined new materials, core designs and manufacturing processes that immediately provided four distinct advantages over traditional steel crane pads, steel plate and wood crane pads.
- Engineered Performance: DICA’s FiberMax Crane Pads are engineered for optimal strength and rigidity, resulting in maximum load distribution performance at the lowest possible weight.
- Reduced Weight: FiberMax crane pads typically weigh 60% less than traditional crane pads and mats, potentially saving you thousands of pounds of dead weight. This savings results in keeping trailer weights down or eliminating the need for an additional trailer.
- Lower Operation Costs: Decrease set up and tear down time with rigging-friendly hardware. Multiple lifting hardware options allow you to select the option best suited for your operation. FiberMax Crane Pads are also easy to clean and will not absorb bacteria or other contaminants eliminating site-to-site contamination issues and concerns.
- Durability & Longevity: The FRP composite material used to manufacture FiberMax Crane Pads provides decades-long resistance to chemicals, liquids and corrosion and enables our crane pads to thrive in environments that more quickly degrade wood and steel.
See below to learn more about the inside of a FiberMax Crane Pad and how it’s manufactured to better understand how these performance benefits are achieved for your application.
FiberMax Crane Pad Manufacturing Process
During the FiberMax Manufacturing process, the dry fiber materials are placed into each mold. Each mold is then bagged to allow for the creation of a vacuum within the mold. Once the vacuum is created, precisely positioned tubes connected to the mold opened to all the polymer resin to flow. The vacuum comes into play to drive resin throughout the fiberglass reinforcements. Though more time-consuming than other methods, vacuum infusion is a more customizable process that creates a maximum fiber-to-resin ratio.
Benefits of the Vacuum Infusion Process
Parts made using the vacuum infusion process are both stronger and lighter thanks to the improved fiber-to-resin ratio. Vacuum infusion is also highly controllable, as only three variables affect the resin flow: the permeability of the laminate, the pressure differential in the cavity in relation to atmospheric pressure; and the viscosity of the resin.
Step by Step – Vacuum Infusion Process
2. Position internal core. The internal core is placed on the bottom facesheet. Vertical fiberglass in the core will become the shear webs. Closed cell foam offers shape until the part is completely molded. The desired amount of fiberglass can be placed on the foam to increase the structural properties of the webs.
3. Seal bag. To achieve a vacuum and infuse polymer resin into the part, a bagging sheet is sealed to the molding tool.
4. Infuse resin. Atmospheric pressure pushes the liquid resin throughout the pads resulting in a fully infused product. In other words, when the resin valves are opened, atmospheric pressure seeks to fill the vacuum void or imbalance, like hot air chases cold air. The need for atmospheric pressure to balance itself creates the action of pushing the resin throughout the part.
5. Cure and remove. Once the resin is infused, a chemical reaction creates heat, curing the resin into a solid part. The part is then removed.
6. Apply finishes. To complete the part, a number of finishing operations are performed, such as sanding, drilling, applying the nonslip overlay, adding drainage scuppers, and applying coatings for extra protection or added aesthetics.
With crush ratings up to 1,000 psi and capacities up to 400,000 lbs, FiberMax Crane Pads are a high-performance solution for mobile cranes with lifting capacities up to 500 tons.
DICA’s patented, fully molded, one-piece FiberMax Crane Pads optimizes directional distribution to effectively distribute highly concentrated outrigger loads and significantly lower Crane Pad weight to reduce daily transportation and operating costs. This engineered crane mat construction allows FiberMax Crane Pads to provide the same strength and stiffness as steel crane pads but weigh up to 60% less.