Dry launch

25 April 2008

The cradles are designed in such a way that the trailer modules fit underneath and can be used to li

The cradles are designed in such a way that the trailer modules fit underneath and can be used to lift the load hydraulically

US heavy transport contractor Berard Transportation, Inc. has been busy with its Goldhofer PST trailers. The Louisiana-based company was the first heavy hauler to expand its fleet with Goldhofer's answer to the self propelled modular transporter (SPMT)-type of trailer. Initially Berard acquired 28 axle lines of the PST/SL-E type in 2004.

Meanwhile the Berard crew used the trailers on numerous occasions, especially in offshore, petrochemical and shipyard related projects. Some of those hauling jobs, requiring additional axle lines that did not need multi-directional steering, were done using a combination of conventional hydromechanically-steered THP/SLs and PST/SL-Es. Both types of modular trailer can be coupled one-to-one, without the need for adaptors, which adds to a more versatile utilisation of the trailer modules and higher efficiency.

One of the most recent and perfect examples of the capabilities of the PST/SL-E was demonstrated on the dry-launch of a multi-million dollar luxurious yacht in Louisiana. The almost 58 m long and 10 m wide yacht was completely built and finished down to the final details inside the shop at the shipyard. The yard does not have any slipway or other launching facilities, therefore, the 680 tonne yacht was built in a set of six cradles, fully prepared to be moved on wheels.

Berard offered the shipyard the solution of positioning a six line PST/SL-E trailer at either side at the rear and, in the same manner, an eight line PST/SL-E at the front. Three trailers were equipped with a power pack. To support both cradles in the middle, Berard used a 75 tonne capacity Modern Hydraulics dolly underneath each cradle at either side. Using the trailer and dolly hydraulics the yacht was lifted free so it could be rolled out of the shop in a straight line.

Once outside, in the relatively small yard, the load was set to the ground again so the direction of the dollies could be changed manually and they had to be repositioned. This was not the case with the modular trailers. The Goldhofers, equipped with electronic (E) Multi-Way Steering, changed direction at the push of a button on the remote control in the hands of one Berard trailer operator. He used one of the 12 steering patterns programmed into the onboard computer of each power pack.

All the power packs and the single trailer were interconnected in such a way that the steering command changed direction of all 56 axles and 224 wheels to 90 degrees. This enabled the trailer operator to continue the move by driving the yacht sideways out towards the edge of the quay. Floating cranes were already awaiting the arrival of the yacht to finish the launching operation.

To cope with the increasing demand for transport projects that need the capabilities of the Goldhofer PST/SL-E trailers, Berard took delivery of another six line module in January. Yet another six line trailer module is on order for delivery later this year. •

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