PLC-controlled hydraulics allow users to build bridges safely and precisely

The logistics of heavy lifting is never simple, but Enerpac has taken their infrastructure maintenance systems to new levels of efficiency and safety, writes Sam Murden.

Bridge and infrastructure maintenance technologies that can lift, shift and manoeuvre heavy structures to tolerances down to margins less than a millimetre are being introduced to Australasia by Enerpac to improve workplace safety and cost-efficiency.

The compact PLC controlled high-pressure (700 bar) hydraulic technologies –including synchronous lift, stage lift and crane assistance technologies are designed to reduce manpower needs, hazards and complexity when maintaining and heavily used structures.

The latest technologies have been designed for public and private infrastructure projects ranging from major concrete steel road and rail bridges, through to smaller timber and concrete bridges serving local communities.

They are also used extensively in infrastructure construction and upgrading of road, rail and port facilities. Engineered to facilitate projects such as bearing replacement, deck lifting, de-propping and structural repair, the maintenance technologies complement Enerpac’s bridge launching technologies, such as its globally unique spindle bar systems and Enerlauncher incremental launching systems used on high-precision projects such as main route projects and high viaducts.

Enerpac said the latest technologies available in Australia and New Zealand have been directly evolved from products that have been proven in global landmark projects, such as lifting of the Golden Gate Bridge for maintenance and the construction of the Millau viaduct in France, which, with a mast summit of 343 metres, is twice as high as the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Enerpac Australasia integrated systems manager Warren Baltineshter said the Enerpac systems offered many benefits for infrastructure projects, with a range of tasks confronting Australia and New Zealand as they refurbish and renew their arterial routes and regional infrastructure.

Through an integrated HMI (Human Machine Interface), all movements are managed from a central control position that displays live operation with real-time status updates for each lifting position.

“It is estimated that there are more than 30,00 timber and concrete bridges maintained by local authorities, for example, of which more than a quarter are in poor or fair condition,” Baltineshter said.

Integrated solutions for bridge maintenance Enerpac bridge maintenance technologies such as the EVo Synchronous Lifting System, SFP-Series Spit Flow Pumps, BLS-Series Stage Lift Cylinders, Strand Jack Systems, SyncHoist and Hydraulic Gantry systems are members the Enerpac Integrated Solutions family, which is backed globally by the expertise and experience of the Enerpac Integrated Solutions Team lead locally by Baltineshter.

“Heavy lifts are a complex and specialised discipline where one technology does not fit all,” he said.

“Sometimes the enormous power and precision of synchronous hydraulic technology is the best option for bridging and infrastructure; sometimes standard indoor and outdoor cranes can do the job cost-efficiently; and sometimes lifting gantries are a safe and cost-efficient option for tasks across industries such as mining and resources plant, oil and gas structures, energy and infrastructure installation and maintenance and ports and shipping tasks.”

“All heavy infrastructure and plant lifts however share the need to complete the task not only with maximum cost-efficiency, but also with optimum safety and ease of control.” New bridge maintenance technologies EVO Synchronous Lifting System: Instead of teams of lifting personnel trying to manually co-ordinate lifts involving hydraulic cylinders often widely dispersed around a job, the EVO Series Synchronous Lifting System integrates control of all cylinders into a PLC system controlled by a single person.

Through an integrated HMI (Human Machine Interface), all movements are managed from a central control position that displays live operation with real-time status updates for each lifting position.

The EVO-System carries out these actions during the entire lifting process, even with low lifting or lowering speeds. Depending on the application, time savings up to 60 per cent can be achieved. Split flow pumps: The split flow pump (SFP) system is specifically designed to assist in safely and cost-efficiently lifting evenly distributed loads for the building and construction, mining, oil and gas and shipping industries.

The SFP-series electrically driven 700 bar split flow pumps are an ideal solution for applications for multiple points where lifting synchronisation of a maximum +/-4 per cent is appropriate to ensure safety of the job. SFP-series split flow pumps are particularly beneficial when lifting complex loads with multiple lift points, and are a far more efficient and safe option than using separately operated pumps, as they provide greater consistency of flow.

The load can be lifted simultaneously using single or double-acting cylinders. Depending on the application, the lifting points can be operated individually or simultaneously. The power and precision of stand jacking has been demonstrated in Australian resources and infrastructure projects, including lifts of 800-1400 tonne ball mills.

Units were hoisted and positioned on their pedestals with a PLC controlled lift system capable of safely positioning huge loads to accuracies within fractions of a millimetre. “The same position is a highly applicable to bridge projects,” Baltineshter said. Enerpac’s SHS SyncHoist system is a high precision hydraulic load hoisting and positioning system engineered to enhance crane performance and safety while reducing costs compared with conventional load positioning methods.

Available in system load capacities of 240, 320 and 440 tonnes with system reach of 1500mm from each lifting point, SyncHost offers very high accuracies (+/-1.0mm), less dependence on weather conditions, while at the same time, vastly improved operating speed and worker safety.


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