Power lifting

22 May 2008

When Louisiana-based Cleco Power announced plans to construct a $1 billion solid-fuel power plant, it contracted Bigge Crane & Rigging to carry out all lifting and heavy transport. Bigge's work on the 600 MW Unit 3 of Rodemacher Plant, near Boyce, Louisiana, US, involved transporting and placing more than 70 components, some weighing as much as 300 tons (273 tonnes).

Bigge began working on site in April 2007. The project as a whole is due to reach completion in 2009. Phase one involved hauling 32 feet (9.75 m) wide, by 52 feet (15.85 m) long boiler modules to site using a self propelled Goldhofer platform trailer arranged in a three-file configuration.

The various boiler components, including the 190 ton (173 tonne) steam drums and boiler modules, were lifted into place. Bigge used a pair of strand jacks mounted on top of the boiler steelwork to lift the drums 165 feet (50 m) to their final elevation.

A similar method was used to lift the boiler modules, weighing anywhere from 175 tons (160 tonnes) to 300 tons (273 tonnes) but, this time, Bigge used four strand jacks connected to a lifting frame. The frame, designed and supplied by Bigge, was used to support each module as it was raised to its final elevation.

Pete Ashton, vice president major projects at Bigge, said, “The biggest challenge with this project was developing a method to lift the boiler modules. Each module arrived on site in six sections, which were then assembled into the larger modules at a remote area of the site. The general contractor's desire to set the boiler sections as pre-assembled modules represented a new approach to boiler construction and, as such, required a unique rigging solution.”

In the final phase of its work, Bigge set up a slide system on which the condenser halves, each weighing about 425 tons (385 tonnes), would be constructed outside of the building and then slid into place when completed.

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