Moving display

15 April 2008

Sankyu Inc. used a total of 86 lines in a three-file wide Scheuerle SPMT configuration to move the 2

Sankyu Inc. used a total of 86 lines in a three-file wide Scheuerle SPMT configuration to move the 2,250 tonne submarine to its final location

The City of Kure is home to the Yamato museum that covers all maritime aspects of the city, both from a historical and science point of view. Part of the permanent exhibition is a selection of naval artefacts, including a 1:10 scale model of the battle ship Yamato, after which the museum was named. This already large (26.3 m long) exhibit will be dwarfed by the original full size submarine Akishio, on display directly opposite the museum. Akishio was operational with the Japanese Navy until 2004.

Before the submarine started its last journey, it was overhauled and prepared for its future as a museum exhibit. To do this work the submarine was put in dry dock at the IHI yard in Kure on a set of specially manufactured steel girder frames. Those frames were also vital in the submarine's lifting, transport and final positioning operation.

Following the overhaul and preparation, Akishio was refloated and manoeuvred parallel to the quay at the IHI yard with the support frames. Fukada Salvage & Marine Works Co., Ltd. then manoeuvred its 3,700 tonne capacity floating sheerleg Musashi into position. The huge floating crane has a twin A-frame boom, each with a set of hook blocks, 49 m apart and giving a maximum hook height of 115 m above water. Each hook was rigged to eight lifting points on each side of a frame. With the 76 m long and 2,250 tonne submarine lifted from the water, the floating crane sailed across the Port of Kure to the nearby quay at the Yamato Museum.

In the meantime a crew from specialist heavy transport and plant engineering contractor Sankyu, Inc. had finished its work on the preparation of the next mode of transport. On the quay the team had assembled 86 axle lines of Scheuerle self propelled modular transporter (SPMT) in to a three file wide trailer configuration, comprising two 30 line units on the outside and the remaining 26 lines in the middle. Each SPMT had a power pack at the front and rear. On this occasion Sankyu used its Type III Scheuerle SPMTs, which are 3.3 m wide, 1.5 m (± 0.3 m) high and have a capacity of 229 tonnes per six- and 152 tonnes per four-line module.

On arrival of the floating crane the submarine was carefully positioned on the trailer deck whereby both frames provided the required load spreading. When loaded on the trailers, Akishio already dominated its surroundings with its impressive dimensions of 13.5 m wide, 18.1 m high and 76 m long.

It was not until late that evening before the transport was allowed to cross the road and enter the museum. Using the multidirectional steering of the SPMTs, the trailer was manoeuvred into a position almost in line with the entrance of the museum at the opposite side of the road. Before it could enter, however, the trailer needed some steering adjustments, easily done using the electronic and computer controlled steering. On the museum premises concrete plinths had been built as a permanent foundation to receive the steel frames loaded with the submarine. Once Akishio was positioned correctly, the SPMTs were lowered to discharge the submarine on to its final supports. When this was done the SPMTs were driven from underneath to be split up and demobilised. At dawn nothing remained of the spectacular operation that took place just hours earlier.

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