Wales-headquartered Rope and Sling Specialists (RSS) played an integral role as two 10t capacity, four-rope quayside cranes were dismantled at Associated British Ports’ (ABP) Newport dock, refurbished and relocated 50 miles west to the Port of Swansea, also an ABP site.
The refurbishment was part of a larger £2.8 million project to upgrade five cranes across ABP’s ports of Newport and Swansea. The work encompassed an extensive upgrade of major mechanical components such as slew and hoist equipment, motor drives, control panels, and the installation of energy efficient LED lighting. The cranes were completely descaled and both external and internal surfaces were then repainted.
Three of the upgraded cranes are now located at Newport and two at Swansea. The five cranes were nearing the end of their operational life but the renovation has extended their lifespan by 10 years.
For the pair of Swansea-based portal dockside cranes, RSS provided the rigging equipment necessary as a mobile crane dismantled each crane in three pieces. Once the same lifting gear was resupplied to reassemble the cranes, RSS conducted thorough examination and testing in line with the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER).
Steve Hutin, managing director at RSS, explained that the biggest challenge was encountered by the centre of gravity of the middle section of the cranes that included the operator’s cabin. He said: “We knew the section was 50t in weight but the centre of gravity was out so we used two [MOD 50] Modulift spreader beams in close proximity.”
RSS utilised fixed lifting attachments on the front of the cabins, while two 30t chain blocks were used on the back with a flat braided wire rope sling that was manufactured to lift level. As with the other two sections, the main piece was lowered onto stools for transportation. Hutin added that the jib and lower parts—the cranes weighed 65t in total—were lighter and posed less problems from a rigging perspective. Roundslings were used for these lifting operations.
Derryl Godwin, site engineer at RSS, led LOLER examination and testing once the refurbished cranes were reinstalled in Swansea. He spent a day inspecting working parts, welds, wire rope and the hook, among other structural elements of the cranes. Godwin was among a five-strong team from the South Wales lifting equipment company that were involved in the project over a six-month period following an initial site visit to contribute to a safe system of work.
The Port of Newport is a steel, metals, recycling, and renewable energy hub, while the Port of Swansea has capacity to handle vessels of up to 30,000 deadweight tonnage (dwt) and provides berths and facilities for most types of cargo. ABP is the UK’s leading port operator, with a unique network of 21 ports across England, Scotland and Wales.
Robert Gray, engineering manager, ABP South Wales, said: “We are committed to providing effective infrastructure and equipment across our ports to ensure the needs of our customers are met. The refurbishment of these cranes was a large project that will deliver clear benefits to the ports of Swansea and Newport over the next 10 years.”