Cranes and Lifting talks to Gillespie Cranes and Edwards Heavy Lift Engineering about their work on a major Sydney infrastructure project and the innovation that won them a top industy award.
The project started in June 2017 when Gillespie Cranes were approached by the fit out team and precast designer for a major Sydney infrastructure project. They wanted to install precast panels instead of using besser block in the tunnels, they had calculated that 80 block layer would be needed, over a 6 month period compared to the installation of precast panels that would provide the same outcome in a time frame of 12 to 14 weeks.
“We realised that we couldn’t use a conventional Rhino on the Franna because it actually points down, so when you luff up it would hit the tunnel. That’s when I came up with the concept to rotate the panels,” said Reg Eggleton, Heavy Lift Specialist with Gillespie Cranes.
Franna had an attachment that pointed down so Eggleton sketched some rough designs that he thought would possibly work. Franna were happy with the concept but didn’t have time to design and engineer the attachment, as they were busy designing a new model, so Eggleton spoke to Stuart Edwards from Edwards Heavy Lift Engineering.
“I’ve known Stuart a long time so I had a best guess on how the engineering would work, sent all the sizes and he went through and did the engineering. We spoke to Franna about some reverse engineering calculations on the boom to ensure we wouldn’t break the crane.
Gillespie and Edwards were able to come up with the system for the escape panels when the client approached them again and said ‘we have a series of cross passages which we’d like to construct as culverts, but we can’t use one lift point we’ve got to use two.’ That’s when Eggleton came up with the concept of the spreader bar, which takes up 156mm of the centre lift. Once this was designed the client, confirmed that there were 5 different types of panel, all with different centres of gravity.”
Edwards and Gillespie redesigned the attachment points to provide multiple points to get the hook over the centre of gravity all the time. If the hook isn’t over the centre of gravity it won’t land straight and that’s how they came up with the multi point bar. Again, Edwards Heavy Lift Engineering did engineering checks etc. to the Eggleton designs and made sure it all worked.
For the client these attachments are a far safer option compared to all the manual handling involved in laying besser blocks and pouring concrete roofs. This would have taken an enormous amount of time and in congested tunnel construction environment, getting in and out quickly and safely is paramount.
“I think it’s a good outcome for the client as they’ve now got a safer, more efficient process on the project and eliminated a massive amount of manual handling. It’s also a safer build because the precast is stronger that besser block in terms of impact,” said Eggleton.