New South Wales, Projects

Evolution’s boom flexibility key to Melrose lifts

Melrose Cranes and Rigging recently completed a series of lifts on Sydney Metro’s Barangaroo Station site in Sydney. ‘Evolution’, Melrose Cranes’ Liebherr LTM 1500-8.1, was deployed for the project. Once on site the crane’s boom had to be reconfigured to manage a range of lifts. Melrose Cranes’ project manager Andrew Baly explains more.

“The lifts were at the Barangaroo Station site which is being built by principal contractor BESIX Watpac. MCR has primarily worked for onsite subcontractors, most notably the removal of the steel beams and girders from under Hickson Road for Delta Group,” said Baly.

Interestingly, Melrose Cranes had helped install the steel beams and girders over two years ago, which enabled the station box to be built and the tunnelling to start under Hickson Road. There were 140 plus lifts during this part of the project.

“The heaviest beams were about 11t, and we were lifting at a radius of 68 meters in luffing fly configuration. For other lifts the Liebherr LTM 1500-8.1 required 84 meters of main boom fitted. This meant we had to reconfigure the 50m to 84m boom and put Liebherr’s Y Guying system on, further increasing capacity,” said Baly.

Evolution with the luffing fly-jib configuration.

“Switching out boom sections is quite a complicated process, and we normally take the crane back to the yard, but in this instance it was managed on site with a 130t assist crane. It was a matter of having enough space on site to blow the boom out slightly, lay it flat, take out one section from the 50m configured boom length, and then replace it with four sections which gives the boom length a total of 84 meters,” he said.

Predominantly, ‘Evolution’ is configured with a 50m of main boom.

“We needed the extra distance to get the steel beams out. Once we had the beams in the air, they were temporarily stored on timber dunnage for load out onto transport.

“We had the Liebherr LTM 1500-8.1 there for a total of three weeks for Delta Group and during this time we completed three separate setups. It didn’t work every night, but it worked probably about 11 or 12 nights in total.

“From our perspective, the project wasn’t too complicated, we just had to work with all parties in planning where we were going to be able to set up the crane. We found there was a better location for this particular scenario of 84 metres of main boom and the Y Guying system, and it worked across all three setups,” said Baly.

“The initial set up location was tight as we had to tuck the crane in between the newly built temporary Hickson Rd and an excavation for  a stormwater pit being constructed.

“We had to build up our pads to match the height because it was inconsistent ground. It was really a case of intricate planning to ensure the jobsite remained accessible and productive. 

“Dual lifting using our 450T and 500T cranes was considered but the configuration changes to the 500T saved space and expense. It worked our really well,” said Baly.

When approaching the end of the program for Delta Group, BESIX Watpac asked Melrose Cranes if they could conduct some further lifts for them to install the main entry escalators for the new underground station. 

This was done at a radius of 66m and they weighed 10.5t. We also lifted two 20t transformer rectifiers at 52m radius and lifted  in a 22t crawler crane into the underground station at 38m radius. This took place from one of the exact locations we had been in for Delta Group. We had to change the configuration back to the 50m main boom, remove the Y Guying system and install 63m of luffing fly to complete the lifts. 

“Everything went perfectly to plan, apart from high winds on the first night, however programs were adapted to meet safety requirements and the rest of the job was smooth sailing.

Muz Basanovic, with Blake and Terry Rust.

“The 500T crew, Terry, Blake and Muz, managed the lifts onsite effortlessly and without incident whilst completing all movements and reconfigurations successfully,” said Baly.

Terry Rust is Evolution’s operator. He has been operating cranes for 22 years and has been with Melrose for five years. This is Terry’s third year of operating The Liebherr LTM 1500-8.1.

Rust explains what is involved in reconfiguring the boom from his perspective as the operator.

“There are a lot of technical steps in the process that need to be monitored on complex cranes and even something simple like boom grease is very important. 

“The crew wears different gloves and get suited up to do it properly, because it’s quite a dirty job. And it’s a lot of slow going to ensure that everything is completed per the Liebherr instructions,” said Rust.

“When the crew has greased everything, we use a 130t support crane to take one tip section out, which weighs 7t. We then replace it with a further four sections that are pre-assembled. They weigh 21t and when you pick them up, you’ve got to make sure they’re completely level so it fits perfectly into the 50m base boom.

“We were working at full capacity in all of the various configurations used onsite. I love this type of work and the crane is a pleasure to drive but I can’t do this without a great crew working with me and this includes Muz Basanovic and my son Blake,” he said.

The Liebherr LTM 1500 8.1 features smart technology which enables quick reconfiguration of the boom.

“There’s a lot of communication that goes on between the riggers/dogmen and the operator to line the locking pins up. It can take some time, but we’ve got it down pat now and it gets done pretty quickly,” said Rust.

The boom mid changeover with sections removed.

“Evolution has six or seven different configurations all built into the computer, so once the sections are in place, it recognises that it’s done and you can program it.

“The functionality of the crane doesn’t change. It’s one of the better built cranes from Liebherr, it’s probably the best one in my opinion. It’s a beast of a crane and loves every minute of the work,” said Rust. 

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