Reid Lifting, a manufacturer of lightweight gantry and davit cranes, provided a custom version of its 1,000kg capacity Porta-Gantry system to solve extreme headroom and other issues at a wastewater treatment facility in Ajman, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Black & Veatch, an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firm, and part of Ajman Sewerage’s joint venture ownership, was tasked with finding a solution to lift 600kg blower motors free from acoustic housings for maintenance, repair, and replacement. Reid was approached and a site visit with local regional partner Tools Middle East revealed the complexity of the lift and the raft of alternative solutions that had been ruled out by personnel at the plant.
Nick Battersby, managing director at Reid, said: “It is testament to the strength of our global network that we are able to apply our engineering expertise and lifting solutions to diverse, niche applications like this. An [Ajman] engineer told us he had previously been presented with a number of alternative solutions, ranging in cost from £15k up to £75k, but they didn’t have faith in utilising a mini crawler crane, among other suggested methods. With some ingenuity we were able to provide a more viable solution at a fraction of the cost [approx. £4.5k].”
The project, located in Ajman, the capital city of the emirate of the same name, presented a number of challenges. The acoustic housing that surrounded the suite of half a dozen motors silenced the noise as the blowers, manufactured by Dresser, pumped air into the sewage, but presented a conundrum in that only panels at the front and back could be easily removed and there was only 390mm of headroom between the motors’ lifting point and the top panel of the enclosures. Further, the flooring was uneven and access was difficult.
Battersby recalled: “The motors were located on a plinth and we had to utilise a sloping walkway; the floor was uneven on the other side of the acoustic housings too. The solution had to accommodate the extremely tight headroom and the ground conditions, but we were able to base it upon our existing PG1000 Porta-Gantry product, which already boasted features that appealed to the end user in its lightweight, portability, and ease of manual setup.”
The customised PG1000 was provided with a bespoke trolley system and pick-up bar, with wind-up jack legs. Battersby explained that they created a ‘gull wing’ attachment (white in colour in the photos) to create lifting points higher than the top of the beam, to which two hand chain hoists, one on each side, were rigged to take the load further down the motors, lift them off fixtures and then free from the housings.
In another masterstroke, the 4m-long beam was actually threaded through the open enclosures and mounted on two frames, the uprights of which provided coarse height adjustment in 50mm increments, before being levelled using the jack legs’ fine height control. Hence Reid could take the top of the beam to within a couple of millimetres of the top of the enclosure.
The Ajman engineer, who was not named, said: “We spent many man-hours discussing this particular problem with a number of different vendors and none provided any realistic options. In fact the feedback we got was quite indifferent in some cases. Reid took a more hands-on approach and produced an ideal solution with a rapid turnaround.”
The customised PG1000 not only met the challenges of the application but also presented the site with an economic system that requires little maintenance, whilst offering ease of assembly and simplicity of use, which remained onsite for use on other projects.