Three Linden Comansa tower cranes are being used to help build the Ituango hydroelectric power plant which will be Colombia’s biggest power plant and the largest infrastructure project under way in the country. when it opens at the end of 2018, it will have the capacity to generate 2,400 megawatts of clean energy, nearly twice that of the San Carlos power plant, currently the country’s largest with a capacity of 1,240 megawatts.
The CCC Ituango Consortium, made up of the Colombian construction companies Conconcreto and Coninsa Ramón H, as well as Brazilian construction company Camargo Corrêa, are carrying out the main civil works on this project for EPM (Empresas Públicas de Medellín, Colombia’s main utilities company), which will involve a 43 mile (70 km) long reservoir. Three Linden Comansa tower cranes are erected on one side of the dam that is being built, which will reach a breathtaking height of 738 feet (225 meters).
Two of them, one model 21LC450 and one 16LC185, are being used to build a controlled spillway with a design flow of 22,600 cubic meters a second. Both these cranes have been set up to reach a height of 197 feet (60 meters) and have been assembled on a folding cross base with travelling system so they can be moved on tracks installed on the ground. They can cover a greater area of the construction site much more quickly than if they had to be dismantled and assembled each time they are moved, thus meaning savings in terms of time and costs. The 21LC450 has a load capacity of 22 tons and a height under hook of 179 feet (55 meters), while the 16LC185 can handle a load of up to 9 tons and has a height under hook of 195 feet (59 meters).
The third crane, an 11LC160, with a capacity of 9 tons, has been in three different locations, always very close to the other two cranes. It was initially installed in an area higher than the spillway to be used to help build the tunnel which will provide road access to the spillway. Once this initial work was completed, the crane was moved to a slightly lower area to be used to help build the two intake tunnels, which will take water from the reservoir to the machine room and turbines, which will turn the mechanical energy into electricity. At all these locations, the 11LC160 was set up with a height under hook of 131 feet (40 meters) and, like the other two cranes, on a folding base with travelling system to be able to be moved quickly. This way it can also lift the different loads over a larger area than a stationary crane would be able to, thus making the very best use of resources.
The three cranes were sold to the CCC Ituango Consortium and were initially assembled at the construction site by Gigacon, Linden Comansa’s official distributor in Colombia. The modular structure of the cranes, comprised parts which are light and easy to handle, thus making them easy to transport and assemble. It was fundamental given that the power plant is located in the canyon of the Cauca River, in an area excavated from the mountain, where there is little flat ground, far removed from any towns or cities. Medellín is the closest city, around 5 hours from the power plant.
Gigacon provides its services throughout Colombia from its offices in Bogotá, Medellín and Cartagena.