Shinui Petra, one of South Korea’s largest construction equipment rental companies, has introduced a ground-breaking crawler crane into its rental fleet – the MLC650 from Manitowoc. The crane has been specially selected for its unique Variable Position Counterweight (VPC), a design feature which allows for reduced ground preparation, ground-bearing pressure, space requirements and counterweight. All of these attributes makes the MLC650 ideal for use in South Korea, where work sites are often congested.
“When we first saw the MLC650 at the CONEXPO 2014 exhibition in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., my team and I were thoroughly impressed by the unique VPC technology. The ability for this crawler crane to navigate with ease in highly congested job sites, coupled with its increased capacity for heavy lifts without traditional counterweight configurations, gives us a strong competitive advantage,” said Choi Byung Eng, president and CEO of Shinui Petra.
The MLC650 has 104 m of main boom to which up to 30 m of fixed jib can be added. A 101 m luffing jib is also available to reach a maximum 157 m. Shinui Petra has ordered the performance-enhancing VPC-MAX attachment for the MLC650 which enables the crane to raise 140 m of boom or a boom and luffing jib combination of 205 m. In addition, its maximum capacity is boosted to 700 t with the VPC-MAX. The MLC650 has joined the Shinui Petra rental fleet and has already completed its first lifts.
The crane is well-suited to infrastructure applications and so it is was perfect for Shinui Petra’s first task for it, installing concrete beams for the construction of an elevated road. The space available for the crane’s assembly was extremely limited, however the MLC650 was still able to setup swiftly, because installation requires considerably less space than alternative cranes of this capacity.
The counterweight does not have to be fully extended to the rear of the crane during set up, nor does it touch the ground during this process. In addition, the crane does not have carbody counterweights and with the VPC-MAX system there is no need to stack or unstack counterweights after or during a lift. As a result, both time and cost are greatly reduced.
On the project the MLC650 was rigged with 56 m of main boom, its VPC-MAX attachment, 400 t of counterweight and with 10 parts of line on the hook. It lifted loads of up to 150 t out to working radii of up to 40 m.
“The VPC changes the way companies think about projects,” said Bruce Buchan, SVP crawler cranes at Manitowoc Cranes. “It not only enhances crane capacity, but also reduces mobilization time on the job site which, in the end, saves customers a significant amount of time and money and delivers a faster return on investment to them.”
The patented VPC system is also deployed in Manitowoc’s largest crawler crane, the Manitowoc 31000, which has a maximum capacity of 2,300 t. One of these units is based in South Korea, working for Chunjo Construction Co. Ltd.
Jong Seoung Park, general manager for Manitowoc Cranes in South Korea, said the company’s ongoing commitment to innovation had helped it build a loyal customer base in the country.
“The legacy of Manitowoc crawler cranes in South Korea spans several decades and crane owners here have always appreciated the company’s ability to bring new levels of performance to the industry,” he said. “So, it’s no surprise that the VPC is proving so popular. We’re delighted that Shinui Petra has taken delivery of this MLC650 and we feel confident that other VPC-equipped cranes from Manitowoc will be arriving in the country in future.”
If you are traveling on the East-West Line (EWL) between Chinese Gardens and Lakeside station, don’t be alarmed if you see a hulking steel structure towering over the train tracks.
Train operator SMRT has deployed fixed gantry cranes to speed up its works along the tracks, which includes the replacement of rail sleepers.
There are currently two such cranes at work sites near Chinese Gardens and Pasir Ris, and this is the first time they have been built over train viaducts here.
“Everything is really quite new, the first time in Singapore. So everything we are doing here is quite monumental. We are learning as we go,” said SMRT’s project director for track infrastructure Roger Lim during a media preview at the Chinese Gardens site early Friday morning (5 Feb).
Track Renewal Progress
Lim said one third of the 92,000 sleeper replacements for the EWL have already been completed, following a similar effort along the North-South Line (NSL) last April, when 96,000 timber sleepers were replaced.
As part of its track renewal plan for both the EWL and the NSL, SMRT is also aiming to replace its third rail system, which provides electricity to the tracks, and its signalling system.
“I think learning from the experience in the North-South Line, we applied some of the lessons learned to the East-West Line. One point especially, is how to bring the RRV (Road Rail Vehicle) up the viaduct, because that will actually help us to create another workfront, help us to expedite the work,” Lim, 47, said.
Able to lift up to 40 tonnes, the gantry cranes allow SMRT to hoist these RRVs, which are specialised engineering vehicles used to replace timber sleepers with longer-lasting concrete ones, directly onto the train track.
Previously, RRVs could only be deployed through ground-level sites at Kallang and Redhill, as well as Ulu Pandan and Changi Depots.
The gantry cranes provides SMRT with more access points to the track and saves its engineering teams up to an hour of travelling time, which is extremely valuable given that they can only work just three hours each night, between 1.30am to 4.30am.
For example, to replace sleepers in the Boon Lay area, an RRV only needs to travel 8km to and from the Chinese Garden launching site, compared to 16km from the nearest ground access point at Ulu Pandan.
The gantry cranes, which weigh about 74 tonnes and are about 20m tall, each take about four weeks to set-up.
For the gantry cranes to become fully operational, six weeks of extensive tests have to be completed. Daily, weekly and monthly checks are also conducted once it goes live.
Mark Poole, head of the rail division at Gammon Construction, SMRT’s contractor for its sleeper replacement programme, said the team at Pasir Ris have undergone at least 20 dry runs to familiarise themselves with the procedures and emergency drills.
He said there are a myriad of fail-safe measures in place, such as backup generators, as well as a manual recovery system to clear the tracks in the worst-case scenario.
“The two things that are the most important are making sure the railway is working… The railway has work at 5.20 in the morning. And the second one is it has to work safely,” Poole, 41, added.
The crane at Paris Ris has been operational since January this year, while the one at Chinese Gardens will be fully functional by 14 February.
The launch of the Chinese Gardens crane will also coincide with the second phase of SMRT’s early closure initiative, which Lim said has helped improve productivity by about 25 per cent.
From mid-February to the end of August, stations between Pasir Ris and Tanah Merah, as well as between Joo Koon and Jurong East, will close half an hour earlier from Sundays to Thursdays, except on the eve of public holidays.
The replacement of sleepers is expected to end early 2017 and the gantry cranes are expected to be dismantled by 31 December 2016.
A successful bid by Zoomlion for US firm Terex – which employs 1,000 people in Co Tyrone – could be the start of many Chinese companies buying assets in Northern Ireland, it has been claimed.
Zoomlion has tabled a bid of $3.3bn (£2.5bn) for Terex, one of the world’s leading heavy equipment firms and owner of Dungannon business Powerscreen.
The bid two weeks ago came after Terex agreed a tie-up with Finnish crane manufacturer Konecranes, with Terex primed to move its headquarters from the US to Finland.
Powerscreen designs and manufactures mobile crushing, screening and washing equipment, and is one of the group’s four main product lines which also include Terex Finlay, Terex Mineral Processing Systems and Terex Washing Systems.
Terex is considering the Zoomlion bid, but a Konecranes spokesperson said they believed the merger was on track.
John-George Willis, head of the corporate department at law firm Tughans, said the Tyrone operation was the “jewel in the crown” of Terex.
Economist John Simpson added it would be an “unprecedented and very unusual step” for a Chinese company to own a significant operation in Northern Ireland, should the merger go ahead.
“It would potentially signal how our relationship with China is changing, and it is always a compliment to a company when it is a source of interest,” he said.
“Someone is saying it’s worth taking and worth buying in the first instance.
“So that’s a good thing, provided a new owner is willing to invest.
“Mid Ulster has expertise in the heavy equipment arena, so it’s reassuring that this is recognised.”
Wayne Horwood, managing director of corporate financing firm HNH, said a Zoomlion deal for Terex could be the first of many similar incursions.
“I would not be surprised that with a slowing Chinese internal economy and weakening currency, large Chinese corporations seek to access other markets and currencies for mergers and acquisitions,” he added.
“They may focus on skillsets or technologies not currently available in China.
“The potential does exist for a number of Northern Ireland-owned or operated companies to be under Chinese ownership in the future.”
In a statement to the Stock Exchange, Konecranes said their plan was on track and progress was being made. “Konecranes continues to be convinced that the merger represents a highly compelling opportunity for both companies,” the firm added.
Three days after a lattice-boom crawler crane toppled in Manhattan as its crew was lowering it to comply with local regulations for operating in windy situations, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced tighter crane safety regulations. The crawler crane collapse killed one person and injured three others last Friday.
According to the New York Daily News, crawlers will now have to be removed from operation and properly secured whenever steady winds are forecast to exceed 20 mph, or gusts, to exceed 30 mph, de Blasio said. When that happens, the City Department of Buildings will send advisories to crane engineers, and those who don’t comply can face stiffer fines—which rise to $10,000 from the current $4,800. When heavy wind is forecast for the following morning, the new rules will mean that cranes will have to come down the night before.
The city also plans to ramp up enforcement of street and sidewalk closures due to crane activity: Police, firefighters, and officials from the departments of Buildings and Transportation will be ordered to keep pedestrians out.
Crane operators will also now be required to notify people who live and work in the area when a crane is moved. The only notification currently required is when a crane is installed. The city will also form a task force on crane safety to develop additional regulations.
The mayor acknowledged that it appeared the crew was doing the right thing, working to secure the crane as the wind picked up, and to divert drivers and pedestrians.
Winner of the National Apprenticeship Award, Liebherr-Great Britain Ltd. in Biggleswade has reason to be proud! The Awards, run by the National Apprenticeship Service, recognise excellence in two areas: businesses that grow their own talent with apprentices and apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their workplaces.
“We are continually expanding and apprenticeships are now an integral part of the strategy, identifying enthusiastic individuals that can be developed from the ground up and are real assets to the company, bringing productivity, motivation and cost efficiencies,” says Lee Mason, Apprentice Programme Manager at Liebherr-Great Britain Ltd., at the ceremony.
The team from Liebherr was not only presented with the prestigious Award but also mentioned on the prestigious Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer list. High recognition indeed as this list, compiled annually by the National Apprenticeship Service and sponsored by City & Guilds, concentrates on identifying excellence in businesses that employ apprentices.