Power in motion

By Alex Dahm13 August 2008

Roll-off operation of the first transformer from the barge with SPMT

Roll-off operation of the first transformer from the barge with SPMT

In the spring of last year there was delight in the projects department of Wagenborg Nedlift in Hengelo, the Netherlands. An order for the transport of four ultra-heavy transformers had just arrived. This order, however, also meant the start of one of the biggest challenges in the history of Nedlift.

The four transformers, of which the heaviest two weighed no less than 330 tonnes, had to be installed in the transformer station in Diele in Northern Germany. A challenge, however, was that the route to the project location crossed a bridge with insufficient carrying capacity for these weights.

The question was how to make sure that the load arrived at the destination with the bridge intact. The "simple" answer was to build a temporary bridge over the existing bridge that stands on the land abutments. The heavy load would then be transported over the temporary bridge. It was more complicated than it first appeared.

New phase
It was the start of the design phase for the temporary bridge construction (TBC) by Wagenborg Nedlift. The TBC is a modular gantry system with a free span of more than 25 metres with the capacity to transport a weight of more than 350 tonnes. Wagenborg Nedlift designed, engineered, tested and certified the system.

In November 2007 they were ready. The first two transformers were moved by inland waterway from Linz in Austria to the harbour in Weener. After an immaculate roll-on roll-off operation, the convoy headed towards Diele.

A large crowd gathered by the bridge, including, of course, the TBC engineers who did not want to miss this maiden project of ‘their' temporary bridge system. It was great for them to see that everything went as planned and that the bridge passage went smoothly.

Final transport and placement of the transformers on the foundation were soon completed. The whole process was repeated again in February 2008 in bright spring sunshine.

Project details

Cargo: Four heavy transformers, each with a maximum weight 330 tonnes

Route: Linz, Austria to Diele substation in Germany

Equipment used: Tugboat Waterman from Wagenborg Towage

Self propelled modular transporters (SPMT)

Modular axle lines (conventional)

Temporary Bridge Construction (TBC) system (25 metres, 400 tonne capacity)

Hydraulic gantry system (720 tonne capacity)

Skidding and jacking system

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