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

Universal Cranes wins CICA Photo of the Year

Universal Cranes wins CICA Photo of the Year.

Universal Cranes took out the coveted CICA Photo of the Year for a complex lift of a Geodesic Dome Roof.

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On March 29, 2023, Universal Cranes installed a Geodesic Dome Roof for nine petroleum tanks for a construction engineering company. The project arose from the necessity to replace the previous floating roof, which had succumbed to heavy downpours. To address the challenges of time constraints and site layout intricacies, Universal Cranes engaged in preliminarily lift planning. Through these proactive measures, the Project and HL team developed a program to meet the customers’ requirements within the tight site layout. 

The Geodesic Dome Roof weighed a total of 54t, measured 64.6m in diameter with a height of 12m and featured 32 lift points.

The Geodesic Dome Roof lift required a total of 32 lift points to ensure equalisation throughout the rigging  arrangement. 

The crane used for the project was a cross hired Liebherr LR1600/2 with suspended counterweight in a Main Boom configuration. This type of outrigged narrow track machine provided favourable ground pressures. The team suggested utilising 6 x 5m x 1m Hardwood Timber Mats under each outrigger to reduce ground bearing pressures. This was approved by the  client. 

Opting for a narrow track configuration meant that the crane couldn’t move with the necessary boom length for this lift. Therefore, the planned assembly location had to be revised to coincide with the final lift position, necessitating a modification to the initial crane assembly approach. Upon revision, the main boom was put together with the final section projecting over the earth  bund.

Starting on March 20 and continuing over five days, Universal Cranes mobilised to site and assembled the Liebherr LR1600. The rigging arrangement started with four primary slings attached to a Rams horn hook block. The load was evenly distributed through equalising triangles to slings, 16 tertiary sheeve slings, and finally to 32 lift points. Rigging was preassembled on the ground with the team working in quadrants, and an assist crane was used to connect the rigging to each of the 32 lift points on the dome. 

Once the rigging was completed, Universal conducted a trial lift as requested by the client, raising the dome to a height of 1m above its supports on March 27. The trial lift proved successful with no post trial adjustments needed.

On March 29 the weather conditions were confirmed to be suitable for work thus, under the supervision of the lead riggers, the dome was lifted into position. With two tag lines and six Universal Cranes Riggers, the dome was carefully lifted. The dome was then lowered to within 1m of final position as it was stabilised. It hovered in position about 1m above the supports as carbon steel connection nodes were installed at six points. 

Six welders then installed all connection nodes supports required as per engineering drawings with these works competed in three hours. Once all the welding was completed, the rigging was disconnected. 

Key assembly equipment utilised for the crane build included:  

    40t Franna (assist crane); 

    Liebherr LTM1230-5.1 (assist crane); 

    Liebherr LR1600/2-W; and


The 40t Franna and Liebherr LTM1230-5.1 assisted in assembly of the Liebherr LR1600/2-W on site. A boom shadow exclusion zone was required in line with the site requirement for the erection of the main boom. A lift assessment signoff ensured that the load chart utilisation did not exceed 80 per cent. The assembly of the crane was completed over a five day period.Initially 33 lift points were presented on the supplier supplied drawings, however following discussions with the supplier, this was reduced to 32 points to allow for rigging to be designed using equalisation for the full rigging design. 

All 32 lift points were equalised working from four slings off Rams horn hook block to 32 lifting nodes (four slings [Triangle] eight slings [sheeve] 16 slings [sheeve] 32 slings [Lift Point]).

Equalising sheeves were used to ensure the correct equalisations locations from lift points due to differences in lengths. The top equalisation utilised equalising  triangles. 

Universal Cranes supplied and installed all rigging. The client supplied carpet protection for the steel wire slings around the connection nodes. This was needed due to the sharp edges of aluminium at each connection point. 

Longer lower capacity slings were utilised at the bottom of the rigging arrangement to assist with connecting the rigging to the dome (lighter, longer slings are safer to ‘pull out’ from the centre  location). 

Due to the unusually long length required, low-capacity slings of large quantities of rigging was specifically purchased for this lift.

The rigging was preassembled on the ground. The assist crane helped the rigging team to connect to each lift point. Rigging was completed in four groups of eight connections. 

The rigging was connected to the crane and lifted to a height that ensured only the soft sling contacted the dome. The bottom shackle was then connected to the wire sling. 

Working from the first to last connection points, the rigging was connected to each node, ensuring each connection point was to the correct rigging location. 

Once all rigging was connected, the wire slings were inspected one by one to ensure they were correctly positioned. 

To complete the project successfully the team identified they needed early engagement with the client, so team members completed site visits, lift planning and consultations beforehand. 


Universal Cranes wins CICA Photo of the Year.
The award-winning shot. Image: Universal Cranes.
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