Steel fabricator expands crane fleet

24th June 2011 By: Idéle Esterhuizen

Structural steel fabricator Cosira Group will deliver its new 400 t crawler crane to State-owned power utility Eskom’s Kusile power plant in August.

The R32-million SCC4000, which was manufactured by China-based mining equipment company Sany International, forms part of Cosira’s recent major investment in a number of state-of-the-art cranes and is the biggest crane the company has invested in to date.

The company states that it had become necessary to invest in cranes with sub-stantially increased lifting capacity after being awarded, in consortium with power technology group Alstom, a wet flue gas-desulphurisation (WFGD) plant system construction contract by Eskom, earlier this year.

The Alstom/Cosira consortium was contracted to engineer, construct, supply and install South Africa’s first WFGD plant system, which comprises one plant for each of the six coal-fired boilers at Kusile, in Mpumalanga.

The purpose of the WFGD plant system is to remove over 90% of the sulphur oxide generated by the boilers.

Cosira CEO John da Silva notes that the removal of the sulphur oxide will make the power station the most environmentally sustainable facility of its kind in the country.

The company is required to produce about 11 000 t of structural work and platework for the project.

“Cosira will be responsible for the supply, fabrication, delivery and con-struction of all locally available steel components. “We are also tasked with the full installation of the general mechanical equipment, including major equipment such as mills, as well as piping supply and installation. “Further, Cosira will assist Alstom with the commissioning of the plants,” says Cosira commercial risk director Richard De Arruda.

He adds that the primary material used for the construction of the WFGD plants are locally sourced S 355 J-grade carbon steel.

De Arruda goes on to explain that the first 20 to 22 months of site construction is critical to the overall success of the project, as completion of the first units will drive the requirements of the common facilities needed to run the overall process.

Skills Transfer Opportunities

“This project also presents critical skills transfer opportunities, as well as the prospect to market our services to other local prospects, the rest of Africa and the world,” he says.

Cosira CFO John Lehman points out: “For the Kusile project, as well as future projects, we needed the crawler crane for lifting large preassembled silo components and tanks.

“Mobile cranes are an essential part of our business, and the time has come for Cosira Group to invest in a major upgrade of our cranes,” he adds.

The SCC4000’s boom operates accord-ing to different combinations. The main boom’s operating capacity reaches a height of 110 m and a 92 m working radius. Using the main boom, luffing jib and superlift mast, the operator can reach a boom height of 168 m and an 84 m working radius.

The maximum lifting capacity of the crane’s main boom is 400 t on a 7 m radius.

Lehman adds that the crane’s different configurations make it an adaptable machine, allowing for stability in operation, an efficient integrated control system, as well as excellent hoisting performance.

The SCC4000’s robust travelling mechanism is designed for rough terrain and to withstand extreme weather conditions.

Cosira large plant manager Martin Muller says the SCC4000 has an innovative self-assembly system, which enables quick and safe erection of the crane.

Further, all equipment can be transported on standard trucks, while the components fit standard containers, making it more cost-effective in terms of operating and transport costs.

The crane is currently undergoing tests under local conditions and will be moved to the WFGD Kusile project site.

Da Silva is confident about the com-pany’s investment. “A major investment such as the SCC4000 is pivotal to our increasing capacity to offer our customers optimum service and operational excellence.”

Training and Safety
“Our crane drivers will undergo special training to operate the new cranes. Training will be provided by the crane supplier, which will station staff on site for a period of three months,” Muller explains.

He notes that the cranes are state of the art, not only from a technology and efficiency point of view, but also from a safety perspective.

“The cranes comply with lifting regulations and we conduct a rigging study with every lift, which is signed off by the client,” Muller says.

He adds that heavy lifts are monitored by Cosira’s safety personnel, the con-struction site manager and the company’s safety, health, environmental and quality management representatives.

Future Expansion
Cosira will be making further investments in equipment in the coming year. “We believe in making sound investments in equipment and technology to increase our overall operational effectiveness and minimise process risk,” says Da Silva.

Cosira logistics manager Paul Correira says the company is looking to further expand its fleet for the WFGD Kusile project by buying 12 hydraulic mobile cranes.

“We are currently in the process of purchasing two 220 t mobile cranes, four 100 t mobile cranes, three 50 t mobile cranes and three 35 t mobile cranes for the WFGD contract,” he adds.