Helicopter assembles Potain tower cranes on a glacier

By Leila Steed02 March 2023

Crane dealer Valente Grue Assistance (VGA) has assembled two Potain MDT 109 top-slewing tower cranes on top of France’s largest glacier.

VGA, which is based near Lyon and provides crane sales and rental services, is Manitowoc’s Potain dealer for the Rhône-Alpes region.

The company installed the units on the Mer de Glace “Sea of Ice” glacier in the French Alps, to help with the construction of a new logistics base and cable car station. 

 

A helicopter transports part of a Potain MDT 109 crane over the French Alps Valente Grue Assistance used a helicopter to transport and assemble the Potain MDT 109 tower cranes on the French glacier. (PHOTO: Manitowoc)

 

A helicopter was used to transport and assemble the cranes on the northern slopes of the Mont Blanc mountain range, near Chamonix.

The Potain MDT cranes, which have a maximum load capacity of 6 tonnes and can carry weights of 1.35 tonnes at 55 metres, were assembled separately within four months of each other, with each taking four days to erect, despite some unexpected snowfall.

 

A helicopter transports a crane section over the French Alps Despite unexpected snowfall, the transport and assembly of the cranes was carried out safely and to schedule. (PHOTO: Manitowoc)

 

While the first tower crane was installed at an altitude of 2,000 metres and was tasked with lifting operations for the construction of the logistics base, the second was set at an altitude of 1,600 metres to help build the cable car station.

 

A helicopter transports part of a Potain MDT 109 crane over the French Alps Despite unexpected snowfall, the transport and assembly of the cranes was carried out safely and to schedule. (PHOTO: Manitowoc)

 

According to Potain manufacturer Manitowoc, “The MDT 109 was chosen for its load curve, which met the needs of both sites in the same configuration — a 34 metre height under hook, 35 metre jib and 2.85 tonne lifting capacity — on fixing angles.”

 

Engineers working at height to assemble the Potain MDT 109 crane The remote location of the construction sites called for an experienced team of engineers. (PHOTO: Manitowoc)

 

The company said, “Potain carried out a thorough study to fully understand the challenges and determine the right process.

“In addition to the weather conditions, the team had to factor in the weight of the elements, which could not exceed 3.6 tonnes. Potain technicians supported the VGA and customer teams throughout the unloading of the elements in the drop zone and assembly.”

 

A fully assembled Potain MDT 109 crane Each of the top-slewing cranes took just four days to transport and assemble. (PHOTO: Manitowoc)
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