Australia, C&L, CICA, Cranes & Lifting, Projects

McMahon Services wins CICA Lift of the Year: Under 20 tonnes

McMahon Services has won lift of the year for lifts under 20 tonnes.

McMahon Services won the CICA Lift of the Year: Under 20t for a lift conducted during the demolition of the West End Brewery for client Lion Nathan.

  • Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to receive the latest news from Australasia’s lifting industry.
  • Don’t miss a lift and subscribe to our monthly magazine.
  • Download our latest digital magazine to catch up on the biggest news and developments in the crane industry.

The project included several challenges, including the removal of a State Heritage listed Copper Kettle.

The Brewery’s Copper Kettle is handmade and constructed by riveting panels of copper together. It was installed into the Walkerville Brewhouse Tower in 1930 and later removed in mid 2010 for restoration, before being re-installed in the new West End brewhouse for display.

McMahon Services was given the task of removing the kettle from its stand and transporting it to a safe storage facility. The kettle is 4m in diameter, 6m in height without the chimney, and weighs 4.5t.

Required Equipment 

McMahon Services deployed two 20t capacity Frannas for the initial part of the lift. Each Franna was fitted with a 3t capacity 2m soft sling to be able to complete the lift within the confined head room under the roof of brewhouse. 

A third 25t capacity Franna was also deployed to receive the load outside the brewhouse. The Franna was fitted with a 15t 3.7m spreader bar which was fitted with 3m x 3t slings which were connected to the lifting trunnions. A 200t Liebherr all terrain, which was already onsite, was utilised to top and tail the kettle and then load out. 10mm chains were used for the top and tail, followed by a spreader bar combination with a single sling to load onto transport. 

Simon Laird Barrington, Crane and Rigging Manager, Environmental Services for McMahon Services accepted the award on behalf of McMahon Services. He provides more detail about the project.

“For the lift we had three lifting plates specially designed and engineered to bolt into the kettle, which provided us with trunnion lifting points so as not to damage it during the lifts, as well as a lug to allow us to top and tail the load. 

“Scissor lifts and knuckle booms were required to access the kettle and the lifting points. Cradles and foam layers were also engineered specifically for the kettle so it could be transported safely on its side,” he said.

Lift plan

A step-by-step lift plan was created to demonstrate how the Frannas would be best utilised for the removal of the kettle from the brewhouse. The first step in the process was the engineering and fabrication of the lifting frames.

“Before any lifting could occur the lifting frames were installed onto the kettle with extreme care. Due to the nature of the kettle and its heritage significance, the process of removing it came with unique challenges,” said Simon.

“One option considered was the removal of the roof and lifting the kettle out with a large crane, but this was considered too high a risk to the kettle. Our planning changed and focused on the dual crane lift with the two 20t Frannas to remove the kettle from its stand. Using two cranes instead of one, gave us the ability to shorten up the rigging, giving the two cranes enough head room to lift the kettle free of its stand. 

“To remove it from the brewhouse, we passed it mid-air, through the side of the building to our 25t Franna. This was done by having pre-slung slings on the lifting trunnions, allowing our team to attach the 25t Franna without needing EWPs, ladders or scissor lifts. 

“Once the kettle was out of the brewhouse we had already setup our transport cradles and using our 200t Liebherr, we topped and tailed the kettle and placed it into the cradles. Once it was secured the Liebherr then loaded the kettle onto our float for delivery to its new storage location,” said Simon.

The biggest risk included the staging of the kettle’s lifts, particularly around getting it out of the brew house building. This was all captured in sequence in a 19-page, step-by-step lift plan. A detailed safe work method statement was also developed to capture the specific hazards associated with the lift the relevant controls were put in place. 

“On the day, I was present to ensure the lift plan was understood by the work crew and was followed during the course of the day. Before starting the job, we conducted a toolbox session and walked everyone involved through the plan. Due to the meticulous planning, everything went like clockwork and the kettle is now safely in its new storage facility,” said Simon. 


McMahon Services has won lift of the year for lifts under 20 tonnes.
The Franna MAC 25 was fitted with a 15t capacity, 3.7m spreader bar which in turn was fitted with 3m x 3t slings connected to the lifting trunnions on the Copper Kettle.
Images: McMahon Services
Send this to a friend