Working with the elements

By Maria Hadlow20 November 2008

Speed versatility and gradeability were among the important features that Haulotte's booms needed to

Speed versatility and gradeability were among the important features that Haulotte's booms needed to help with the demolition of the Riverdance ferrt.

PGC Demolition, a UK-based contractor, has employed five Haulotte machines to help remove the Riverdance ferry from the Lancashire coast where it was beached due to severe storms earlier this year. The 6000 t ship is lying on its side, embedded in 3m of sand and is only accessible at low tide.

The HA 16 PX access platforms need to be quick so that the operators can spend as much time at the site working around the fast moving tide. The steep ramp on and off the beech meant good gradeability was a must. Carrying sufficient oxygen and acetylene cylinders for continual working in the available window plus an operator required substantial platform capacity and the general harsh environment meant the machines had to be tough.

Peter Cordwell, managing director of PGC Demolition said," In specifying access platforms we looked for versatility. We wanted to minimise travel of the platforms as much as possible. The Haulotte machines with their articulating booms and telescopic extension allow the operator to reach a large area without having to travel. And, although working on sand, they have also proved extremely stable, even when used at their maximum height."

The steel hull can be up to 24mm thick and is cut into 1 to 2 t pieces which are lowered onto an articulated dump truck. As the demolition work progresses the articulating boom of the platforms can reach inside the ship, allowing the operators to work on the interior.

The HA 16 PX has a maximum working height of 16 m and a maximum outreach of 9.1 m, maximum travel speed is 5.5 km/h. the four-wheel drive and steer enables the platform to cope with rough terrain and 50% gradeability makes inclines easy to negotiate.

PGC started the demolition in April 2008 and expects to have completely removed the ship by October 2008. "By the time we have finished and scoured the beach with metal detectors to locate the smallest scraps of metal there will be nothing to show that there was ever a ship on the beach," said Mr Cordwell.

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