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Cranes installed in $97M space surveillance telescope project

Two cranes are helping install a $97.2 million Australian space surveillance telescope project in Exmouth, Western Australia.

Two cranes are helping install a $97.2 million Australian space surveillance telescope project in Exmouth, Western Australia.

Konecranes, a provider of cranes and lifting equipment, has provided two CXT double-girder underslung cranes with lifting capacities of 15 and 20 tonnes to receive and install materials on the new space surveillance telescope at the site.

The crane track was suspended from the ceiling because of the compact spaces involved in the building and due to other structures that needed to be installed in the same tight space.

One of the cranes was required to remain locked in position as the come rotates so that it could continue its usual functions at whichever angle the building was facing. The section of building where the crane was attached is capable of rotating up to 17 degrees per second, with a rate of rotation varying according to the telescope’s usage.

Managing contractor Sitzler is delivering a 270 tonne rotating dome, telescope, building and supporting facilities on behalf of the Australian Defence Force. The company is on track to meet operating capability in 2021.

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Exmouth was chosen as the site for the telescope as it provides clear and dark sky conditions with low light pollution. The project has provided a large boost to employment in the town, with more than 25 local businesses engaged and more than 145 residents having worked on-site.

Sitzler worked with Konecranes to ensure the cranes had the right structure and features to meet all installation and maintenance requirements.

“The cranes needed to meet tight space requirements, and utilising underslung cranes – which are typically involved in one in every hundred projects – provided better hook approaches to suit the client’s lifting requirements,” Konecranes Project Manager Claudia Estrada said.

Both cranes featured Konecranes’ Extended Speed Range (ESR) smart feature, giving them a variable speed drive for additional precision.

“ESR was particularly valuable for this project, because the telescope’s powerful mirrors, which are the key to its functionality, are highly valuable items. If one mirror becomes damaged during installation, it’s a very expensive and highly specialised part to replace,” Estrada said.

Sitzler Project Manager Paul Gurr said Konecranes was selected because its cranes met all the complex specifications required for the project.

“In addition to the ESR and other functionality specifications, there were extra safety requirements for locking of the crane while rotating, and Konecranes was able to meet the stringent requirements,” he said.

“Right from the beginning, Konecranes was thorough with detailing and reporting, which helped us with the smooth and efficient management of the project, and ensured we remained on schedule.”

“Their installation work was also of outstanding quality. Their staff were well qualified, experienced and completed work efficiently and productively, with excellent communication with other involved companies.”

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