Terex ATs on the Grand Canal of Alsace

13 February 2014

Service work begins on the Kembs lock on the Grand Canal of Alsace, France

Service work begins on the Kembs lock on the Grand Canal of Alsace, France

Nantes-based company Sogecofa (part of the Mediaco Group) has used three Terex all terrain cranes to service the Kembs lock on the Grand Canal of Alsace in France.

The Kembs lock is part of the hydroelectric power station of Kembs, operated by Electricité de France (EDF). It is the largest of eight power plants along the Grand Canal of Alsace. The lock allows for commercial river shipping from the North Sea to the Port of Basel, Switzerland.

Sogecofa used a Terex AC 350, an AC 500-2 and an AC 700. Along with servicing the lock, Sogecofa were also required to replace the 500 tonne gate, which measured 26 metres wide and 18 m high.

The gate sections were transported to the lock by boat so the western chamber had to be filled with 60,000 cubic metres of water, a spokesperson said.

To carry out the installation of the gate the 700 tonne capacity AC 700 and the 350 tonne capacity AC 350 were positioned on the lock wall. Because the space inside the chamber was restricted, the AC 700 lowered the AC 500-2 inside the lock. A result of this meant the team had no more that 200 mm of room to manoeuvre the pieces into position.

Due to the tight working conditions, each section of gate was lifted by all three cranes and brought to a closer radius for the AC 500-2. The sections were then rotated ready for placement. Once in position, the AC 500-2 lifted the sections of gate on the gate rails. For the lifts the AC 500-2 was fitted with 160 tonnes of counterweight, two 80 tonne slings and a 9.50 m spreader bar.

Due to the position of the AC 700 and AC 350, the operators had no direct view of the gate sections and, therefore, received instructions from Yann Exel, head of manoeuvres for Sogecofa and an observer.

Yann Exel said, “The most difficult thing was to synchronise the three cranes. As I was involved in the planning of the lift operations, I followed strictly all the planned phases of the operation. I maintained constant contact with the crane operators, but I was the one who had to make the final decisions.”

Rémy Verdaine, supervisor of the assembly team, said, “Sogecofa is one of our longstanding partners. Here in the Alsace region they are a well-established firm and have done previous jobs for EDF. Sogecofa worked out a very efficient method of lifting and assembly that helped expedite the whole process.”

Serge Dietrich, who is responsible for the sales department at Sogecofa, said, “This was not just a simple lifting operation. We had to deliver results, so we put together a very experienced team. Each one knew the complexity involved in this operation, each being aware of the tasks they had at each step of the way. The Terex all terrain cranes were perfect for the job because of their compact dimensions. We even had to place a 500 tonne crane inside the lock. As this job was in such a tight deadline, Terex also sent us a technician who knew cranes inside and out.”

It took ten days to assemble the new gate.

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