Load Cells Critical to Safe Relocation of Electricity Pylon

Straightpoint Radiolink Plus load cells were crucial to the safe relocation of an electricity pylon, which had to be moved 50m across a field in Germany still connected to the overhead power lines.

A mobile crane was used to lift the pylon, while two winches were at ground level, connected to the pylon at 15-degree angles to provide stability. All three forces needed to be monitored, thus, dynamic load information was required to ensure the lift’s safe completion.

The load cells selected, manufactured by UK-based force measurement, load monitoring and suspended weighing equipment specialist Straightpoint, were provided by Dutch distributor Van Gool, who was approached by a contractor for a solution to monitor and control the varying forces on the load once it was lifted from ground attachments. Van Gool also played an advisory role on the project, while LGH Holland rented out the equipment.

The Radiolink Plus units, which are made from aircraft grade aluminium and feature an advanced internal design structure, provide users with the ability to monitor the pick points of dynamic loads while they are being moved and relay the information 100% wirelessly to a PC. In this case, the load cells transmitted to an amplifier mounted on a camera tripod and then a laptop fitted with a dongle receiver.

The load cells were employed at three points and displayed measurements for winch one (top and bottom), winch two (top and bottom) and the crane, on the laptop.

Pieter van Duijn, commercial director at Van Gool, said: “We used the load cells to control the maximum forces on the wires and the pole. The electricity was cut off but the power lines still presented a major consideration for the contractor and mobile crane operator.”

The load cells not only enhanced safety but the job was more efficient with the pylon relocated and the power returned to the system considerably faster than removing the wires before the lift.

This was the first time that any party involved with the job had used load cells for such an application but all hailed the concept a success. Van Duijn said the crane operator in particular was impressed.

“This was the first time someone has attempted to relocate a pylon in such a way but we have become accustomed to being surprised by the diverse range of applications that can apply load cell technology,” he said. “We expect interest in the technology to continue to grow in our region as a result.”

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