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Chiller lift with the latest technology

How Universal Cranes removed and replaced a chiller unit from the
28th floor of a Brisbane hotel using innovative suspended load management technology, a custom-built half container and a Liebherr LTM1350.

At the 2018 CICA Lift of the Year Awards, a Universal Cranes project was announced as the winner of the People’s Choice Award in the Innovation of the Year category. The challenging project involved removing and replacing a chiller unit on the 28th floor of a large CBD hotel in Brisbane.

The solution included custom rigging, a purpose-built half container and the latest smart spreader bar technology for a precise, safe and efficient lift delivered alongside precision rigging and logistics.

“Universal Cranes provided a total project solution from engineering a custom rigging and lift plan, to planning and permitting coordination, through to supply of the crane and ancillary equipment and the qualified operators to conduct the lift,” Mick Messer, Sales and Crane Supervisor at Universal Cranes, said.

The replacement was to be carried out via a main window on level 28, which was also to be removed and replaced on the day of the lift. The chiller unit was 3.2m long, 1.3m wide, 1.3m high and weighed in at 5t.

“There were major challenges presented by this project,” Messer said. “Narrow access through the façade of the hotel required precise maneuvering of the load. The unit weighed approximately 5t and was 28 floors above ground level at a height of 90m above a busy CBD intersection, requiring the lift to be conducted within a strict timeframe, minimising traffic disruption.”

This meant the lifts needed to be scheduled on a weekend, requiring the part closure of Adelaide Street. With a limited closure time, thorough planning and execution of the lifts was critical.

“The existing chiller unit was skated into a purpose-built half container that was lifted into position using our Liebherr LTM1350,” Messer said. “After securing the chiller unit inside the container, it was then lifted down onto Adelaide Street and unloaded. The new units were then lifted up and skated into position. The load was lifted in through the window with the help of the Verton R-Series spreader – the world’s first remote-controlled electromechanical load-management system.”

Universal Cranes engineered the rigging and lift solution incorporating the R-Series spreader developed by the Verton Group, which uses ROVER (Remotely Operated Variable Effort Rotator) to overcome the need for human held taglines to control free-swinging or suspended loads.

Verton Group’s R-series is designed to dramatically boost productivity, efficiency and safety in industries that use cranes and hoists.

This world-first technology is designed to revolutionise suspended load-management for many industries including mining, oil and gas, transport and construction. The R-series can dramatically reduce accidents by ensuring no human contact is required for managing suspended loads.

In its simplest form, the R-series is a single pair of gyroscopic modules and one handheld remote controller. The unit is attached to the load and its orientation is controlled using the remote. Being remotely controlled, the R-Series improves safety outcomes by removing riggers from the lift zone.

Moving heavy loads using cranes or hoists is a high-risk activity with industry research showing proximity to a load, let alone actual contact, accounts for 80 per cent of crane-related fatalities.

“One of the major challenges of this lift was the narrow access through the window of the hotel. At approximately 90m from ground, controlling the rotation of the load would be difficult, but with the user-friendly interface of the R-Series, the loads were able to be lifted from and delivered to precise GPS coordinates,” Messer said.

This technology, when combined with the Universal Cranes locking system for the container lifters provided precision rotation of the load at the 90m lift height. The locking system was designed to eliminate the risk of the lifters becoming accidentally detached.

“Universal Cranes is proud of its innovative engineering solutions and we always seek out the latest technologies and methods to continuously improve solutions for our clients,” Messer said. “This project allowed us to engineer and execute an ‘industry-first’ using our Liebherr LTM1350, custom-built half container and Verton’s technology to respond to the challenges of this project.

“At Universal Cranes we view smart technology and automation capabilities as an opportunity to improve the way we do things, including our safety outcomes.” 

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