High demand helps heavy lifting sector take mighty strides

By Euan Youdale09 January 2009

Low ground pressure is a feature of the AL.SK90. ALE calculates the maximum, under full load, as 36

Low ground pressure is a feature of the AL.SK90. ALE calculates the maximum, under full load, as 36 tonnes per square metre beneath the foot of the boom

The demand for heavy lift machines is well-documented and manufacturers are beginning to fill their ranges as they have done at the lower capacity levels.

An example is the new 1,600 tonne capacity Terex Demag CC 9800 crawler crane, which is being launched this month (December) at the company's Zweibrücken factory in Germany.

The new model is based on the CC 8800-1 and uses the same rope system and hook block - as does its bigger brother the 3,200 tonne capacity CC 8800-1 Twin.

A feature is the wider boom system, with components up to 4 m. It provides a higher maximum load moment rating of 27,000 tonne metres, when configured with 800 tonnes of Superlift counterweight at a 30 m radius. This is compared to the maximum 24,002 tonne metres offered by the 8800-1, says Rüdiger Zollondz, Terex Demag product manager, lattice boom cranes.

Maximum boom and jib length for the CC 9800 is 156 m and 120 m, respectively. Maximum SWSL combination is 108 + 120 m, resulting in a top hook height of 230 m.

The machine is suitable for a range of applications, including petrochemical, large infrastructure and power plants. "This is a general purpose crane which fits into the range perfectly," Zollondz adds.

A configuration is also available for the erection of Enercon E126 wind turbines, which offer a capacity of more than 6 MW. This incorporates a 132 m main boom, plus an 18 m extension, allowing the crane to lift 360 tonnes to a hook height of 144 m.
The first machine will be delivered to Sarens towards the end of January. The second unit will go to Enercon.

At the time of writing, in mid-November, the crane was carrying out test lifts with 2,100 tonne loads, the requirement for a 1,600 tonne capacity crane.

Double boom

In September ALE launched its 4,300 tonne capacity AL.SK90 at its yard near Breda, the Netherlands.

Primary applications for the 96,000 tonne metre rated giant are the construction of modular buildings and the onshore construction of offshore oil platforms and other large modular structures.

The first customer is KBR for work in Saudi Arabia where the crane will complete a series of lifts up to 950 tonnes at long radius. With 61 m main boom and full ballast (4,000 tonnes set at 32.1 m radius) the chart shows a capacity of more than 1,400 tonnes - at 50 m outreach. In the same set up but with the 130 m boom and 120 m outreach, the chart shows a capacity of 281 tonnes.

The double lattice boom design incorporates some interesting and unusual features. Instead of the ballast swinging in an arc at radius behind a central slewing point, usually near the foot of the boom, the SK90 slews around its ballast. For lighter lifting jobs a 600 tonne capacity winch system can be used instead of the group of heavy lift strand jacks. Lugs are incorporated into the boom head to mount the winches. Boom luffing is achieved using a large hydraulically driven chain type pendant system.

New heights

Land-based cranes are set to get even bigger. India-based rental company ABG says it is developing a 5,000 tonne capacity crane. It has already ordered a Terex Demag CC 8800-1 Twin, which will find work with new 40,000 MW nuclear generators, resulting from the US-India nuclear deal, signed in October. However, even the might of this machine will not be able to lift nuclear reactors of the future, says Agarwal. So, the company is in discussion with Terex Demag about developing a 5,000 tonne crane.

The sheer size and weight of the machine may rule out crawler tracks, explains Agarwal, but potential designs are, at present, a closely guarded secret.

One of the challenges in India will be decommissioning, Agarwal adds. "There is a lot of work coming from old oil platforms and nuclear power plants. It requires even larger cranes to lift from a greater radius."

Unlike construction projects, which can be coordinated to include the placement of a crane, decommissioning work requires cranes to walk onto an existing site and reach over large structures.

The same goes for upgrading power plants. All this needs to happen quickly to ensure facility down-time is kept to a minimum. A 5,000 tonne capacity crane could accommodate such projects.

Ocean going

The offshore lifting sector is an increasingly attractive market. The new 2,000 tonne capacity class MTC 78000 is Liebherr's entry into the offshore heavy lift segment.

It is the manufacturer's largest crane to date and claims it is one of the biggest offshore slewing cranes in the world.

Capacity is 1,600 tonnes but could be up to 2,000 tonnes. The 1,600 tonnes will be available up to a 35 m radius, which corresponds to a maximum dynamic moment of 78,000 tonne-metres, Liebherr said. Boom length is 87 m.

The crane can slew through 360° and, at the maximum 74 m radius, the main hoist gives a capacity of nearly 530 tonnes. In addition to the main hoist are two auxiliary hoists with capacities of 500 and 50 tonnes, respectively.

Ancillaries and machined components come from Nenzing. Assembly of the first unit, that will go to work in the Gulf of Mexico, is underway in Rostock, as is fabrication of the second unit.

New Jumbo

Jumbo has also expanded its fleet with a new ship, the Fairplayer. It is the third in the series of four J-Class vessels and includes two 900 tonne capacity cranes.

Earlier this year Jumbo said it wanted to move into the offshore installation market. Fairplayer is suited to this and is fitted with DP2, making it the second vessel in the fleet with dynamic positioning capability. A fourth J-Class vessel, the Jumbo Jubilee, will enter service mid-2009.

The J-Class vessels are 144.2 m long, by 26.7 m wide. They have a 12,900 tonne deadweight capacity and a 3,100 m2 heavy duty deck space. A cargo hold of about 22,000 m3 is available. The vessels also include adjustable and removable tween-decks and advanced ballasting and anti-heeling capabilities, says Jumbo.

"In their offshore role the vessels will be used for the installation of mooring systems, offloading systems and installation of subsea structures, pump skids and processing units with a capability to install weights in excess of 250 tonnes in water depths of 2,500 m."
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