Tadano all-terrain cranes tackle heavy lift challenges in India

Indian company Steel Carriers Infrastructure recently carried out a heavy lift operation with the help of Tadano all-terrain cranes.

“This was a complex and time-critical job, and the only cranes that could take care of it properly were our powerful Tadano all-terrain cranes, of which we have a large number in our fleet and which we were able to coordinate perfectly for the multi-part lift operation,” said Sunil Makad, managing director of Steel Carriers.

The job was to lift a 250-t dome with a diameter of 126 m evenly to a height of 16 m in order to set it down on steel supports and cover a coke storage facility. Eight Tadano cranes with various lifting capacities were deployed on this project.

The eight cranes comprised the AC 1000-9, AC 700-9, AC 500-1, AC 500-2, AC 350-6, AC 350-1, AC 250-1 and AC 200-1. They are highly manoeuvrable and thus could be brought to the work site in Rajasthan quickly and cost-effectively.

Such manoeuvrability was particularly important, as Steel Carriers summoned its cranes from all over India. According to Mr Makad, the cranes came from Assam, Meghalaya, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa.

He pointed out that despite these large distances, Steel Carriers managed to get “all the cranes, as well as the 22 trailers for crane accessories and two utility vehicles, to the site within just six days thanks to a meticulous project plan.”

The cranes also feature ease of assembly, resulting in fast setup times, which is an advantage in this time-critical project. In fact, the Steel Carriers team was able to put together all the cranes and have them ready to start lifting in a mere two days.

“We set up all the cranes with a standard configuration without extensions, and only the AC 350-1 and AC 350-6 with the Superlift option,” shared Mr Makad.

Two years of preparation

The 250-t steel dome with a diameter of 126 m was found within a 15-m-tall circular concrete wall and had to be lifted inside it. “The biggest challenge was coordinating the lift with absolute precision,” revealed Mr Makad.

“That’s why we came up with a sophisticated communication strategy with the help of walkie-talkies between the crane operators, spotters and our lifting specialist in charge.”

Perfecting the lift plan took the Steel Carriers team around two years – a length of time that illustrates the magnitude of the challenges involved in the job. After all, the tandem lift with eight cranes with different lifting capacities was required for the working weight of the cranes to be distributed optimally in line with their respective capacities and positions.

To carry out the tandem lift, the team first had to determine the exact centre of gravity of the load with complex calculations. As if that weren’t enough, the boom lengths were not the same among all the cranes, making it quite difficult to keep the dome in a perfectly horizontal position during all the stages of the lift.

“However, our meticulous planning for the lift meant that we had everything under perfect control at all times,” said Mr Makad, who had the immediate assistance as and when required by the on-site support provided by the manufacturer through Tadano engineer Mr Manikandan.

The lift operation itself consisted of several stages. First, the eight Tadano cranes lifted the dome a bit so that assembly technicians on aerial work platforms could install supports at the edge of the dome.

After that, the dome was lifted a bit more so that the workers would be able to extend the installed supports with additional support elements. Following each partial lift, a supervision team used wall markings to ensure that the dome was perfectly even. This sequence was then repeated until the dome reached a height of 16 m.

The Steel Carriers team worked around the clock for seven days, with the night shifts having at least one soothing advantage – given the job at the work site took place during a season in which daytime temperatures in Rajasthan go up to 45°C.

A strong team

Eight cranes with two operators and two assistants each, together with the site managers, technicians, mechanics, foreman and lifting specialist, meant that Steel Carriers had a team of about 80 employees on site.

“Our team of experts runs like clockwork, and every single one of us knows exactly what they need to do,” explained Mr Makad. “This project was no exception, which is why we were able to complete all the lifting and assembly work despite the tight schedule.

“Needless to say, our Tadano cranes definitely played a part in that as well, as they all worked perfectly and proved to be the ideal choice, just like we’d expected.”

Mumbai-based Steel Carriers is now in its fourth generation and is one of the most renowned crane service providers in India. Its fleet includes telescopic and crawler cranes with lifting capacities ranging from 50 to 1,200 t.

Steel Carriers was the first Indian company to put a new Demag crane into operation with the AC 200-1 about 15 years ago. Apart from crane rentals, the company also offers transport services and storage services for industrial goods and steel products.