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Big Cat gets safe lift

200t WesTrac Big Cat receives a careful precise and safe lift from an Enerpac EVO Synchronous Lifting System.

Lifting heavy machinery such as haul trucks, wheel loaders or cranes can be a challenging task without the right system in place.

WesTrac – a leading Cat equipment provider to the construction, mining, and agricultural industries – required an efficient, portable, and safe solution to lift its Cat® 994K Wheel Loader. The system needed to be operated independently without manual intervention and provide a locking function during the lift.

The massive 200 tonne Cat wheel loader had to be lifted to a height of 400-450mm with an accuracy of +/- 2mm across four lift points. The process had to be carried out on uneven ground, which caused the lifting points to be at different heights. The lifting equipment needed to work independently to the pump and required forklift pockets so it could be maneuvered into place easily.

Global precision lifting and hydraulic tool leader, Enerpac, recommended its EVO synchronous lifting system, which allows one device to control the entire lifting operation, while providing status updates at every point of the process without the need for manual monitoring. By digitally monitoring and controlling lifting operations, users enhance safety and eliminate costly downtime.

Utilising Enerpac’s proven synchronised lifting technology, combined with an expertise in high tonnage cylinder manufacturing, a customised solution was developed to provide a high-precision lifting system to lift the Cat wheel loader on challenging ground conditions.

“With an intuitive user interface, the custom EVO Synchronous Lifting System is easy to set up and control. It combines high pressure hydraulics and computer controls to monitor and control precise lifting and movement of heavy loads, such as WesTrac’s 200 tonne Cat wheel loader,” said Mr Sanjesh Balgovind, Heavy Lifting Technology Special Projects Manager, Enerpac.

Assembling and transporting over-dimension vehicles like the CAT wheel loader requires several steps, explains Mr Balgovind. “If often involves involve locating and positioning the lifting equipment at the appropriate lift points, removing the wheels, attaching wheel stands, and lowering the vehicle to the ground followed by removing the lifting equipment.”

“Thereafter, a multi-wheel trailer would be placed under the vehicle and the wheel stands removed before it is ready for transportation. Using short stroke cylinders without synchronous lifting would be time-consuming, cumbersome and could introduce additional risk if the load is lifted at different heights.”

A smooth solution to an uneven problem

Through an integrated human machine interface (HMI), all movements are operated from a central control system which displays live operation and real time status updates of each lifting position. The Enerpac EVO system can deliver an accuracy of up to 1mm across all lift points and provides stroke feedback and indicative load at each point. In addition, there are built-in warning and stop alarms to ensure optimum safety.

The custom HCRL-Series 100-Ton 18” stroke cylinders have servo motor-driven lock nuts that provide mechanical load holding across all lift points for a safe work environment. Its hardened and robust surface is designed to resist side-loading and cyclic wear. The locknut drive controller is mounted on the cylinder and keeps the locking collar 3-6mm from the cylinder body. The cylinders are then affixed in custom steel frames with lifting pockets.

The lifting frames are then placed at the respective lift points with forklifts and connected to a custom EVO-Series Synchronous Lifting System, ready for lifting. As the rear of the truck requires a higher lift point, the frames are further attached to stands for additional height. The cylinders are then placed at the respective lift points with forklifts and connected to the EVO system, ready for lifting. A flow of 3L/min is used to ensure that the locking collar adjustment can keep up with cylinder extension and retraction.

“At a rate of 1mm/s, the wheel loader is lifted with significant safety and productivity gains,” says Mr Balgovind. “The auto-locking cylinders provide an improved safety application as the load is always mechanically locked during both lifting and lowering operations. It is a safe and effective solution for applications with potential safety risks of working with hydraulic-suspended loads. In addition, given the portability of the system, it was brought to site easily and could function in a convenient manner.”

“WesTrac is very happy with the performance of the Synchronous Lifting System, which enabled them to lift their wheel loader in an efficient manner without compromising on safety,” he said.

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