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Advancing with Lampson

Advancing with Lampson

The distinctive blue livery of Lampson cranes has been an integral part of the landscape on many major projects around Australia for many years, and that isn’t likely to change any time soon, writes Greg Keane. 

Nor is the core of Manitowoc crawler cranes and Grove rough terrain cranes, supplemented at the top end by its proprietary Transi-Lift cranes and in the core crawler crane sizes by its proprietary Millennium series remanufacture of the 4100 and now the 4600 series cranes.

Complementing these are a substantial heavy haulage fleet and specialist jacking systems for shovel and dragline maintenance in the mining industry.

Toronto (near Newcastle) is still the heartland of Lampson’s physical presence in Australia but is supplemented by branches in Gladstone, Perth, and Karratha to provide an ongoing presence in areas of regular work.

The Millennium remanufacture program was commenced in Australia but is now implemented throughout the Lampson group, with the work now undertaken in the US. During the 1990s and early 2000s, Lampson began to upgrade the 200t 4100 series cranes because their impressive capacity in Ringer configuration and long reach in tower configuration made them too great an asset to be made redundant when advances in hydraulics saw a decrease in the use of conventionally driven cranes. 

Lampson began to remanufacture these cranes and incorporate the features of newer cranes, including upgraded hydraulic drive systems. The 4100 Millennium series crane is now completely hydraulic in operation, with smooth and safe operation.

The success of this has seen similar hydraulics incorporated in the Transi-Lift cranes and now in Millennium series remanufacture of 4600 series cranes – a base 300t crane with 600t capacity in Ringer and Tower configurations.

The patented Lampson Transi-Lift design combines a conventional lattice boom crawler crane front end with a set-back counterweight tray on tracks and an adjustable length stinger between the crane and counterweight. The combination of the set-back of the counterweight and the strength of the lattice boom provides very high capacity, with a variety of boom, jib, counterweight, and stinger options able to tailor the crane to suit the lift program. 

Lampson Australia MD John Lee said: “The crane is completely mobile under full load: it is transported on road or ship in conventional trailer load sizes and assembled onsite.” 

The implementation of hydraulic winches is a significant advancement in the proven Transi-Lift design.

The robust construction of the Manitowoc 4600 (and 4100) cranes gives them the structural integrity to undertake a long working life; and the hydraulic drive systems now provide the safety and ease of operation that is required of modern cranes.

Nyrstar Project 2016-2018

As part of a worldwide focus on upgrading its processing plants for lead, zinc, and other precious metals (it has operations in Europe, the Americas, China, and Australia), Nyrstar commenced an upgrade of its Port Pirie (SA) refinery in 2016. 

These improvement works required a very large crane to lift and install the modules of a new furnace tower due to their weight and the height of the building. New equipment was installed in the centre of an operating plant, where space and access were significant constraints. Through a rigorous tendering process, Lampson was selected to provide the heavy lifting and module transportation for the project.

In addition to a proprietary Transi-Lift LTL-2600, Lampson supplied three Manitowoc crawler cranes (a 2250 with Max-er, 999, and 777) as well as Grove RT-9130 rough terrain cranes and 81 axle lines of Goldhofer SPMTs for transporting the pre-assembled modules.

For the heavy loads and high reach, the LTL-2600 was configured with 134m of main boom, 67m of mast, a 24m stinger and 2300t of counterweight standing on two mobile crawler transporters. The LTL-2600 crawled on steel mats to protect the underlying ground for the induced loads, reducing ground bearing pressure to less than 200kPa.

The heaviest lift was the 677t furnace module, while the top of the highest-placed module was 75m in the air. Many of the 15 modules were in the 300- 400t range, with average dimensions of 25m long by 14m wide by 26m high. Transporting and lifting these modules from within the confines of an operating plant imposed very tight tolerances – at times there were just centimetres of clearance to existing structures.

Lampson’s engineering team designed rigging with a spreader bar system that suited many of the heavy modules and minimised rigging changes between lifts, saving time and cost for Nyrstar. 

Lee said: “It required precise coordination of design and site personnel, along with quality equipment, to deliver safe construction operations while minimising disruption to normal production at the smelter site. 

“The Nyrstar project provided the opportunity for Lampson to display its expertise and equipment as it called on the specialised capabilities of the SPMT and the heavy and very high lifting ability of the LTL-2600 crane,” he concluded. 

Upon successful completion of module installation and attaining all the desired milestones, the project progressed to the commissioning stage – and Lampson moved on to its next project.

Millennium cranes at work

An M4100 Millennium crane is now being used in Ringer configuration on a Waterway Constructions project on the Hunter River (Newcastle) to install underwater scour protection mattresses. The Ringer configuration provides substantially greater lifting capacity than a standard 4100 – particularly at radius – through the addition of a perimeter ring to support additional boom and counterweight.

While the maximum lift capacity rises from 200t to 270t, the lift chart at long radius shows a capacity of up to five times that of a standard crane.

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