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A 20 ton polar crane motor fell during a 3400 kg (7500 lb) lift, narrowly missing personnel working beneath the crane. Witnesses reported that the motor fall was preceded by a falling oil mass, and it was believed that the motor was intact prior to impact. The maintenance history of the crane showed that the motor had been removed, repaired, and reinstalled 2 years prior to the failure. Observations of oil leakage were noted yearly up to the failure. The motor casing was held onto the adapter plate by eight 14-20 UNC x 25 mm (1 in.) long hex socket cap screws. Examination of the motor adapter plate, motor casing shards (aluminum), the gear side of the motor housing, and seven fractured cap screws (ASTM A574) showed that the motor casing was intact at the time of “uncontrolled descent” and that the screws had failed by high nominal stress reverse bending load fatigue, which was probably the result of insufficient torque on the bolts.

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