Simply put, things that need lifting are getting bigger, heavier and more awkward. For this reason, rigging and lifting jobs are more complex than ever and require solutions that involve all types of specialized lifting equipment.
With the power grid in the United States needing expansion, upgrading and replacement, among the most challenging rigging jobs are those that involve transformers, turbines and other power plant components and vessels. Manufacturing facilities are also retooling and updating their plants, which means putting heavy equipment in tight spaces.
Crane Service Inc. was award an intriguing project at the University of New Mexico – Albuquerque. The job involved installing a natural gas turbine, formally known as Taurus 70S Onshore Power Generation Turbomachinery. The turbine measured 35-feet, 7-inches long, 10-feet, 2- inches wide and weighed 123,500 pounds.
“Scheduling was one of the first challenges we faced,” says Chris Martin, marketing coordinator for Crane Service Inc. “We were awarded the job on a Thursday morning, a week before the job was set to take place.”
Crane Service Inc. developed a rigging plan that would involve the use of its Grove GMK 7550 all-terrain crane, Amital USA - AL12G steerable rollers and a Model 22A 220-ton, 2-point lift system rented from Rigging Gear Sales.
With such a short window of time, rapid dispatch of the equipment to the jobsite was critical.
“We had to check on the availability of the gantries and delivery of such from Dixon, IL,” Martin says. “We had to mobilize our Grove GMK 7550 a week after being awarded the job. The Grove GMK 7550 was already on a job in Colorado. We had a zero hour, if you will, of when we needed the GMK 7550 to finish. It did come close, but we were able to finish in Colorado and make it back to New Mexico on time. We are thankful that Rigging Gear Sales was able to help us on short notice.”
Martin says the ingenuity of the rigging plan was the key to the success of the project.
“Site wise, the project area was very tight, with only 10 inches between the gantry, natural gas turbine and a roll-up door,” he says. “The gantry could not go through the doorway with the turbine. Instead, the natural gas turbine had to be set in part way with the Grove GMK 7550. We had to hoist with GMK 7550 and gantry at the same time, until it could be lowered 5 feet, 6 inches below grade. Once it was below grade we were able to then skate the unit, with our steerable rollers, into a live energy center at the university.”
Martin says the rigging plan required strategies for every scenario.
“We had to really think about how we were going to safely finish the project under the time constraints that we were given,” he says. “We had to think about the feasibility of many options. Ultimately our team decided the gantry, skates and GMK 7550 would be the right equipment. This was truly a job that involved many of our companies’ resources and teams.”
Bridging the gap
An AccuSteer Differential GPS navigation system by Mi-Jack Products is a key component for a project in Central Florida that involves the addition of two lanes to the Caloosahatchee River Bridge. The bridges are high-level, fixed structures over a major navigable waterway and require heavy construction activities in an environmentally sensitive area.
The construction companies chose to use a pair of MJ70 Travelift cranes to implement a top-down construction method. The cranes are handling piling, bridge beams, decking and reinforcement materials.
The MJ70 Travelift cranes were built to specifications to have an 83-foot, 6-inch inside clear width, 25-foot, 5-inch hook height, and a 40-foot wheelbase. The construction companies also chose to use the Mi-Jack AccuSteer Differential GPS navigation system based on the precision required to steer the machines on such tight aisle ways as well as the large span between the tires.
AccuSteer is a sophisticated navigation system based on leading differential GPS technology employing precision GPS navigation, according to Mike Lanigan, Jr., Mi-Jack Sales manager.
“The system is crucial to this job as it allows the operator to concentrate on the loads they are moving,” he says. “This is made possible because the AccuSteer Differential GPS navigation system generates information on the cranes’ position within accuracies of 2 centimeters by employing two sets of dual-frequency receivers and antennas fixed to each of the cranes and one set located at the base station. Solar-powered base stations were placed at the peak of the bridge outside the lanes of traffic.”
The clear line of sight allows the Navigation Processor to accurately generate steering correction data for the crane’s electronic control system, which is then translated into crane movements.
“That process allows the cranes to travel along a GPS-generated pathway to within plus or minus 2 inches of the center line of the tire,” Lanigan explains. “Without this system the job would not be completed as efficiently as it could be.”
Transfer press conundrum
General Motors awarded International Industrial Contracting Corporation (IICC) a project that involved the installation of an IHI 6,500-ton capacity transfer press system for GM’s Fairfax assembly plant in Kansas City, MO.
The new press was a critical addition to the automaker’s ability to turn out new models of Chevy Malibu and Buick LaCrosse, according to IICC’s Randall Goddard.
“The press, once fully assembled, weighs in excess of 3,400 tons and produces body panels for the two vehicle models,” says Goddard.
Once assembled, the crowns weighed a combined 560 tons and measure 80-feet long by 30-feet wide by 12-feet high.
After assembling the crowns, IICC moved their gantry systems over the crowns and rigged the load for lifting. They employed eight gantry units in total, four Riggers Manufacturing E-Z Lift 604T and four E-Z Lift 600T gantry units from their inventory.
The gantries are equipped with multiple levels of beams that consist of eight riser beams, four W36 X 395 boxed header beams and four W14 X 455 header beams.
The total weight of the beams and rigging was 143 tons, Goddard says.
“Once the load was ready to lift, the total weight being lifted by the gantry systems was 703 tons,” says Goddard. “The gantries were synchronized in both the lifting and travel applications so that the placement of the crowns on their upright supports would proceed smoothly. The crowns were lifted to a clear height of 23 feet and an overall gantry height of 35 feet. The crowns, once at the correct elevation, were traveled over 180 feet on their runway track.”
He says the crowns were precisely positioned above the uprights and slowly lowered over the 18 precision body-fit machine keys.
“After that, we called it a day,” says Goddard. “The project went very well for International Industrial Contracting, and General Motors now has another major transfer press system in their facility to produce parts from.”
In early 2013, Lampson Australia assisted with the relocation of three draglines using the company’s in-house designed and fabricated Lampson Transport System.
“Our system, which uses three Lampson Crawler Transporters and a steel support frame, relocated the draglines in two stages in order to reassign equipment to other mines,” says John Lee of Lampson Australia.
Two of the draglines were Marion 8050s and one was a BE1370. The draglines were relocated some 20 to 30 kilometers on the Norwich Park/Saraji/Park Downs Coal Mines located in Central Queensland Australia.
“Some self-walking of the draglines was required due to timing and steep grades,” says Lee.
The project took place during the first half of 2013 and lasted 26 weeks, including mobilization and demobilization.
“Our onsite personnel performed brilliantly and molded their services to suit the demanding mine site requirements,” says Lee. “In addition, we had no lost time due to injury, the project was incident free and was done within the clients planned time and budget.”
Power plant asset
A small island country in the North Atlantic, Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe. It is comprised of lava fields, volcanic mountains and glaciers, and glacial streams provide an immense hydroelectric resource.
Landsvirkjun, the national power authority of Iceland, has been developing new power plants and its ability to produce large quantities of cheap power is attracting many industries. Power plant construction requires moving and placing large transformers and generators. Historically, Landsvirkjun has contracted with European companies to move the large equipment.
In late 2012, Arni Benediktsson, director of engineering for Landsvirkjun, contacted Hydra-Slide Ltd. to investigate the idea of purchasing its own jacking and skidding equipment. He wanted the power authority to have a safe and simple solution to be able to move their transformers.
Landsvirkjun ended up purchasing an LP400 Low Profile Skidding system, a 20-2-4E Synchronous power unit, 55-ton jacks and Ekki jacking timbers.
Recognizing that their personnel were unfamiliar with jack-and-slide systems, Benediktsson requested that Hydra-Slide representatives be present during the first job, which involved installing two transformers.
The two new 82-metric ton transformers would arrive by ship from Portugal to the Port of Reykjavik. The plan was to transport them directly, one by one, to their final destination at a new Hydro Power Station in Southern Iceland, about 150 kilometers from Reykjavik. The transformers were unloaded off the Goldhofer trailers using jacks and Ekki timbers and then skidded to their final location beside the new power house.
On April 16, 2013, at the Port of Reykjavik, the first transformer was loaded onto an 8-line Goldhofer owned by ET Verslun, a local Iceland company. The 150-kilometer move started at midnight and several hours later, the transformer safely arrived at the powerhouse site.
The Landsvirkjun crew quickly went about setting up the Hydra-Slide jacking equipment, and after a quick learning session from Hydra-Slide, they easily unloaded the new transformer, jacked it down and skid it about 40 feet into place. The synchronous power unit allowed them to lower the transformer on all four points at the same time without the usual end-to-end jacking as in conventional systems.
This, combined with the easy-to-handle Ekki timbers, made for a safe and simple operation, according to Hydra-Slide’s Don Mahnke. Once near ground level, the LP400 skid system was put in place and the transformer was just as easily slid into place.
The Goldhofer trailer returned to Reykjavik, loaded the second transformer, and the operation was repeated.
Jon Arnar Emilsson, project manager at Landsvirkjun, was pleased with the successful operation.
“The equipment worked perfectly and has already changed our thinking regarding heavy transport and all design around heavy equipment,” he says.
The LP400 Skidding System is a fully-engineered low-profile skid system that is only 2-inches high and completely hand-portable. It has an automatically resetting ratchet track to safely push loads with no need for personnel to be close by. The track can be leap-frogged to go longer distances and is so compact it can be loaded into a pick-up truck to move from job to job.
The 20-2-4E 4-port 10,000 psi Synchronous Hydraulic Pump unit provides synchronous control for up to four lift points with 0.5 gallon per minute output per port. The Landsvirkjun unit is powered by a 20 HP 380 volt 3-phase electric motor and came with a 30-gallon reservoir, four manual operated Enerpac control valves, a master control valve, five pressure relief valves, four pressure gauges, loop filtration circuit, four pressure port outlets with counterbalance valves and quick couplers and four return ports with quick couplers.
The jacks supplied by Hydra-Slide were standard Power Team RD556 cylinders.
The jacking timbers were 10 cm by 10 cm by 1 meter Ekki, a West-African hardwood internationally recognized as being one of the strongest and toughest timbers available. It is naturally resistant to rot, decay, biological attack, industrial chemicals, abrasion and splitting.
Moving a super yacht
Atlas Enterprises recently moved the heaviest object employees have transported since the company was founded as Ron Holland Housemoving in the early 1970s.
The super yacht, a 215-foot and 480-ton structure, is equipped with a swimming pool on deck that doubles as a helicopter pad when the pool cover closes over the top.
“It’s not the largest thing I have ever driven,” said Chris Holland, president of Atlas Enterprises, “but it is certainly the most expensive.”
HMR Supplies, a sister company, has supplied equipment for the yacht builder’s use numerous times. However, the company wanted the skilled engineering and professional experience of the Atlas team to get the super yacht, which is long enough and heavy enough to be classified as an ocean liner, to the body of water it uses for its sea trials. Due to the size of the super yacht, there was very little room in the fabrication facility for placement of trailers under the yacht.
The move began with two full days of preparation that included completing the bolster and cradle system that had been engineered and fabricated by HMR Supplies. Once the yacht was securely nestled into the bolster system, the dollies that ultimately carried the super yacht onto the barge were put into position. The move ended after an eight-hour session that required the removal of the doorway header within the fabrication facility due to only three inches of clearance for height and navigation of a 90-degree turn in tight quarters.
“It was highly satisfying to see it all work smoothly,” says Holland. “Several times the margin of error was as low as two inches. I’m incredibly proud of our team.”
Atlas’ two partner companies – CR Holland Crane Service and HMR Supplies – assisted with project logistics that included 12 Coaster Holland Dollies, 4 Powered Holland Dollies and two power units. No push or pull truck was used to move the yacht. Holland said two power dollies placed in front propelled the super yacht out of the fabrication building and through the city streets. To reach the launch area, the structure had to navigate an extremely tight fit between a building and a fence just before making the 90-degree turn.
Holland said that the turn would not have been possible without all four Powered Holland Dollies that are hydrostatically driven and run by remote control. Two of those dollies moved the back end of the super yacht independently of the front end throughout the turn.
Once at the water’s edge, the super yacht was launched from a barge that carried it into deeper water where the barge was then sunk. As the yacht was moved slowly onto the barge, water was pumped into the ballast tanks on the barge to safely accommodate the weight of the yacht.
The bolsters, which were supported and lashed down before dollies were removed, remained on the barge until after the yacht was launched for its sea trials.