A planned offshore wind farm, located between 13 and 22 kilometres from the coast of Fécamp in Normandy, will feature 18 Potain tower cranes equipped with anti-collision systems.

French wind farm equips cranes with anti-collision systems

A planned offshore wind farm, located between 13 and 22 kilometres from the coast of Fécamp in Normandy, will feature 18 Potain tower cranes equipped with anti-collision systems.

The tower cranes make up the foundation site for the Fécamp wind farm and will be make use of DCS 61-S anti-collision systems. The wind turbines will be connected to gravity foundations installed on the seabed at depths between 25 and 30 meters.

The design and construction works of the 71 concrete gravity structures for the foundation of the offshore wind farm are carried out on the Bougainville shipyard, at the Grand Port Maritime at Le Havre.

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Two MDT 349 cranes will move on 120 metres of rail, with 16 MR 608 machines of the same height spread over four parallel tracks.

Because several cranes move on the same track and are placed at the same height, jibs can easily collide. AMCS Technologies was chosen to supply the anti-collision systems, which will play an essential role in ensuring the safety and productivity of the project.

The DCS 61-S detects in real time the risk of collision of all interfering crane components (for example jib on jib, jib on cable).

The device calculates in real time and in 3D the distances between each element of the cranes as well as the speeds and direction of movement on the rails in order to intervene on the control mechanisms of the crane to ensure a slowing down and then a complete immobilisation of the machine at a preset distance from the other machine.

Victorian-based crane contractor MCG Cranes recently took delivery of a refurbished Liebherr LTM 1350-6.1 mobile crane mainly for the construction and deconstruction its fleet of tower cranes.

As good as new used Liebherr delivered to MCG

Victorian-based crane contractor MCG Cranes recently took delivery of a refurbished Liebherr LTM 1350-6.1 mobile crane mainly for the construction and deconstruction its fleet of tower cranes. The 350t crane was the 10,000th used crane to have been refurbished in the Liebherr factory. Read more

Zoomlion opens major tower crane smart factory

Chinese equipment manufacturer Zoomlion has officially opened what is says is the world’s largest tower crane smart factory.

Zoomlion began construction of the factory in 2016 and invested around AUD $160 million in an aim to become first-class in China and advanced in the world, abiding by Industry 4.0 standards.

The facility is a four in one tower crane smart factory, with intelligent application, logistics and inspection technology, while being environmentally friendly.

There are more than 12 automated production lines, 10,000 sensors, 100 industrial robots, 35 unmanned vehicles, and 16 processing centres with an integrated manufacturing execution system (MES) to improve efficiency.

The MES system consists of four levels, a production line and equipment layer, production management and control layer, system data layer and decision support layer.

One standard section is manufactured every 10 minutes, with one lifting arm produced every 90 minutes on average.

Three new types of smart product were also launched at the opening of the factory, the T6515, T6250 and T7525 flat-top tower cranes, manufactured from the production line in the smart factory

The opening of the tower crane smart factory also marks the start of the company’s 10 billion project, where ZOOMLION will strives to double its sales in 2019, helped by the new smart factory.

CICA on tower crane safety

In summary we have more cranes than ever before, situated in our most densely populated areas. Never has there been a more important time to focus on what we can do as an industry to maintain a high level of safety.

Last week, there was an incident in Melbourne where a luffing tower crane was damaged during high wind, leaving the boom in an unstable and unsecured position posing a risk to a large number of residences and businesses below (see photo).

CICA on tower crane safety

There were evacuations and business shutdowns for over 24 hours, but fortunately no injuries or loss of life. It’s important that while WorkSafe conduct their investigation, we as an industry focus on the facts and lessons learned so we can improve on our safety standards and reduce the risk of this or similar incidents happening again. Hence this bulletin is not here to focus on liability and fault, but rather prevention. This graphic explains the effect of high windspeed and the mechanisms that exist in cranes to deal with high windspeed.

CICA on tower crane safety

For the boom to be blown backwards, the crane needed to be in a position with either the boom too high and/or the machinery deck unable to slew (weathervane).

Worksafe will investigate whether:

1. The crane was improperly parked for out-of-service.

2. The crane was properly parked but malfunctioned.

3. The crane was properly parked but there is an inherent design flaw with the particular model of crane.

As an industry collective, we must be two steps ahead of all three scenarios above.

This starts firstly with conducting an assessment on the crane installation and the crane itself, to ensure its condition and working order. CraneSafe is one programme widely used and NATA-endorsed.

Secondly, operators and riggers need to be adequately licenced, trained and verified to operate the specific machine. This is an ongoing challenge with the current high demand for labour.

Thirdly, faults or issues detected on crane need to be documented and rectified immediately to ensure all aspects of the crane’s function are working 100%.

The owner’s manual is gospel when operating any crane. It needs to be accessible to the operator at all times and should include instructions such as positioning of cranes while out-of-service. If such instructions are not readily available, they should be obtained, or further engineering advice sought.

Correct permits and approvals are required for setting up cranes that slew over private property adjacent to worksites. Sometimes to leave the boom in the correct position stipulated by the manufacturer may conflict with the approved operating area. If this occurs, then manufacturer guidelines should not be deviated from; and further clarification with asset owner/principal contractor should be sought. Point 3 is rare but not impossible.

Generally, manufacturers conduct rigorous validation programmes that factor in all operating conditions. So, if a crane does not perform or respond in the intended way, the operator needs to highlight this and escalate the issue immediately.

With no fatalities or injuries from the incident last week, as an industry, we were fortunate. So, let’s all learn from the incident and pull together and do what we can to ensure we have a safe crane industry today, and in years to come.

This article was originally published in CICA – Vic/Tas Branch’s Crane Safety Bulletin #237.

Reds Global moving with the times

He ran Verticon for two years prior to starting Reds Global. Persistence and innovation has seen this business continue to grow. Having its main depot in Sydney, it now has cranes working in key markets around Australia although the Greater Sydney area has the highest concentration.

Things have changed a lot in tower cranes in Redman’s time in the industry. At the start, Favco diesel hydraulic tower cranes dominated the market and the average age of the cranes was much greater in the earlier era (the average age of the Reds Global fleet is three years). Read more