Rope and Sling Specialists (RSS), has been involved with the dismantling of two 10 tonne capacity, four-rope quayside cranes at Associated British Ports’ (ABP) Newport dock in Wales and their reassembly 50 miles (81 km) away at the Port of Swansea, Wales, also an ABP site.

According to RSS, the cranes were refurbished as part of a larger £2.8 million (US$ 3.5 million) project to upgrade five cranes across ABP’s ports of Newport and Swansea. The refurbishment work encompassed an extensive upgrade of major mechanical components, including slew and hoist equipment, motor drives, control panels, and the installation of energy efficient LED lighting. The cranes were completely descaled and both external and internal surfaces were then repainted. According to RSS, the five cranes were nearing the end of their operational life but the renovation has extended their lifespan by ten years.

For the pair of Swansea-based portal dockside cranes, RSS provided the rigging equipment necessary as a mobile crane dismantled each crane in three pieces. The same lifting gear was used to reassemble the cranes and then RSS says it conducted a thorough examination and testing in line with the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER).

Steve Hutin, managing director at RSS, explained that the biggest challenge encountered was to do with the centre of gravity of the middle section of the cranes (that included the operator’s cabin): “We knew the section was 50 tonnes in weight but the centre of gravity was out so we used two [MOD 50] Modulift spreader beams in close proximity.”

The cranes weighed 65 tonnes in total, so RSS utilised fixed lifting attachments on the front of the cabins, while two 30 tonne chain blocks were used on the back with a flat braided wire rope sling (to ensure a level lift). RSS says that, as with the other two sections, the main piece was lowered onto stools for transportation. Hutin added that the jib and lower parts were lighter [than the main crane] and posed less problems from a rigging perspective. Roundslings were used for these lifting operations.

Derryl Godwin, site engineer at RSS, led examined and tested the refurbished cranes once they were re-installed in Swansea. He spent a day inspecting working parts, welds, wire rope and the hook, among other structural elements of the cranes. Godwin was among a five-strong team from the South Wales lifting equipment company that were involved in the project over a six-month period following an initial site visit to contribute to a safe system of work.

Speaking about the project, Robert Gray, engineering manager, ABP South Wales, said, “We are committed to providing effective infrastructure and equipment across our ports to ensure the needs of our customers are met. The refurbishment of these cranes was a large project that will deliver clear benefits to the ports of Swansea and Newport over the next ten years.”

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