RHC Lifting Ltd feature in November’s issue of Hoist Magazine (Issue 86), occupying the front cover and centre double-page spread in the magazine. The article examines how RHC installed eight additional ADC cranes in Airbus’ A380 wing assembly facility in Broughton, North Wales.
A copy of the article can be viewed below:
RHC Lifting Ltd has devised a special lifting rig for the installation of eight new underslung latching cranes at the Airbus A380 wing assembly facility in Broughton, North Wales.
The eight ADC cranes have been installed in the existing A380 wing manufacturing facility, alongside 16 Demag latching crane systems already in operation as part of the manufacturing process. The new cranes have a lifting height of 20m, a SWL of 6.3t and span 30m apiece.
Phil Goodway, director of RHC, says this contract posed a number of different challenges that had to be overcome in order to satisfy the requirements of the lift and of Airbus itself. This included the need to maintain continuous operation of the production line during installation of the cranes; installation of the cranes in a restricted work space; and fully integrating the cranes into the existing production line so operators experience no problems when loads pass from the Demag cranes to the new ADC cranes, and vice versa. The lifting rig was the solution to all these issues for RHC. “We devised the lifting rig based on the needs of the project and the customer,” Goodway says.
“The original 16 cranes were installed with mobile cranes through the roof during the construction of the facility. We obviously couldn’t do that.”
“Other factors preventing the use of a similar lift were the lack of floor space for a mobile crane, and the fact that the floor now in the facility wasn’t designed to carry the load of a mobile crane. We’d have needed a 250t capacity crane to carry out the lift, and that’s too heavy for the floor to take.”
Goodway adds that a mobile crane standing in the facility would have made it difficult to allow manufacturing to continue, as well as being expensive due to the downtime and other associated costs. Instead, the lifting rig was used to overcome all these issues. The cranes, which were supplied in two parts by ADC, were moved into position using a single point lift by the existing Demag cranes, and then fully assembled and wired on the ground by RHC’s assembly team.
The lifting rig itself was then positioned underneath the cranes, and special deck eye plates attached to the gantry beams to allow them to be lifted into place by the lifting team using four 12.5t capacity SWF Nova hoists. The SWF hoists were operated with an Autec MJ radio remote control system that allowed RHC to switch between operating all four hoists at once or individually. The process of lifting the cranes only took five minutes in itself, Goodway says, and then, once in place, the rig, SWF hoists and attachments were lowered back to the ground. A third team then took over installation, carrying out electrical commissioning, and levelling and aligning the cranes with the facility’s existing lifting equipment.
All told, Goodway says, the installation of each pair of cranes took four days, with the installation team getting more adept at using the lifting rig as they moved through the installation process.
The use of the lifting rig helped improve safety on the job, as most of the preparation was carried out on the ground and there was no need for a mobile crane moving loads around the facility.
RHC was also contracted to manufacture, install and test the latching and control system for the cranes. This was particularly important in ensuring the new cranes could communicate and operate with the existing Demag cranes, Goodway says. For this, RHC used a Siemens PLC and inverter drives. This, Goodway adds, has provided a modern and versatile control system that is still compatible with the existing cranes.
“Airbus are extremely pleased,” Goodway says. “[The lifting rig] allowed us flexibility to work around production, and permitted Airbus access at all times if they needed to get something in or out of the production jig.”
The lifting rig is now available for sale or rent. The Airbus job was RHC’s biggest, but they are now working on the design and installation of a SWF multi latching crane system for GKN Aerospace’s new manufacturing plant in Avonmouth in the UK. Goodway says GKN has presented RHC with a “number of technical challenges”, and that Siemens, who again is providing the control system for the cranes, expects this to become one of the most technically advanced systems in Europe.
RHC Lifting Limited
Stover Trading Estate
Tel: 01454 332270
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