Steel Carriers in India relies on Tadano all-terrain Cranes to lift 250t steel dome
As far as Steel Carriers Managing Director Sunil Makad is concerned, there is no doubt about it: “This was a complex and time-critical job, and the only cranes that could take care of it properly were our powerful Tadano all-terrain cranes, of which we have a large number in our fleet and which we were able to coordinate perfectly for the multi-part lift operation.”
More specifically, the job was to lift a 250-tonne dome with a diameter of 126 meters evenly to a height of 16 meters in order to set it down on steel supports and cover a coke storage facility – with this taking no less than eight Tadano cranes with various lifting capacities.
The eight cranes in question: An AC 1000-9, AC 700-9, AC 500-1, AC 500-2, AC 350-6, AC 350-1, AC 250-1, and AC 200-1. One of the crucial advantages behind these all-terrain cranes as far as the Indian crane service provider is concerned is the fact that they are all extremely manoeuvrable and accordingly could be brought to the work site in Rajasthan quickly and cost-effectively.
This was particularly important, as Steel Carriers summoned its cranes from all over India: “The cranes came from Assam, Meghalaya, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa. Nevertheless, these large distances didn’t prevent us from getting all the cranes, as well as the 22 trailers for crane accessories and two utility vehicles, to the site within just six days thanks to a meticulous project plan,” reports Director Sunil Makad.
In addition to their excellent manoeuvrability, the cranes are characterized by their outstanding ease of assembly. This makes very fast setup times possible, which proved to be advantageous in this time-critical project. In fact, the experienced Steel Carriers team was able to put together all the cranes and have them ready to start lifting in a mere two days. “We set up all the cranes with a standard configuration without extensions, and only the AC 350-1 and AC 350-6 with the Superlift option,” reports Sunil Makad.
Two years of preparation
With this, the Steel Carriers team was ready to carry out the ambitious lift. The situation at the work site was as follows: The 250-tonne steel dome with a diameter of 126 meters was found within a 15-meter-tall circular concrete wall and had to be lifted inside it. “The biggest challenge was coordinating the lift with absolute precision. That’s why we came up with a sophisticated communication strategy with the help of walkie-talkies between the crane operators, spotters and our lifting specialist in charge,” commented Sunil Makad.
Perfecting the lift plan took the Steel Carriers experts around two years – a length of time that should illustrate the magnitude of the challenges involved in the job. After all, the tandem lift with eight cranes with different lifting capacities required for the working weight of the cranes to be distributed optimally in line with their respective capacities and positions. In order to achieve this, the team first had to determine the exact centre of gravity of the load with complex calculations.
And to make things even harder, the boom lengths were not the same among all the cranes, making it particularly challenging to keep the dome in a perfectly horizontal position during all the stages of the lift.
“However, our meticulous planning for the lift meant that we had everything under perfect control at all times,” underscores Sunil Makad, who had the immediate assistance as and when required by the on-site support provided by the manufacturer through Tadano engineer Mr. Manikandan.
The lift itself consisted of several stages: The eight Tadano cranes first lifted the dome a bit so that assembly technicians on aerial work platforms could install supports at the edge of the dome. The dome was then lifted a bit more so that the workers would be able to extend the installed supports with additional support elements, and after each partial lift, a supervision team used wall markings to make sure that the dome was perfectly even.
This sequence was then repeated until the dome reached a height of 16 meters. To achieve this, the Steel Carriers team worked around the clock for seven days, with the night shifts having at least one soothing advantage: The twelve-day job at the work site took place during a season in which daytime temperatures in Rajasthan go up to 45 °C.
A strong team
Eight cranes with two operators and two assistants each, together with the required site managers, technicians, mechanics, foreman and lifting specialist, meant that Steel Carriers had a team of about 80 employees on site.
“Our team of experts runs like clockwork, and every single one of us knows exactly what they need to do. This project was no exception, which is why we were able to complete all the lifting and assembly work despite the tight schedule. Needless to say, our Tadano cranes definitely played a part in that as well, as they all worked perfectly and proved to be the ideal choice, just like we’d expected,” reports Sunil Makad, and not without a proud glint in his eye, as the Steel Carriers team did honour to their name with the job once again.