Rapid Response Solutions (RRS) combined its lifting and transport capabilities to move five gas tanks from a live chemical plant in Middlesbrough, 300 miles south west to Cardiff, where they were to be refurbished for industrial gases company Air Products before installation at another site.
RRS accepted a scope of work to lift the tanks, ranging in size from 13m to 18m in length and 35t to 40t in weight, onto various transport vehicles chosen from its extensive fleet. In each case, the gas tanks had to be driven up a steep hill upon exit from the site, which was just one of a number of complications that had to be overcome.
Paul Barber, managing director at RRS, said: “The length of the tanks and the vehicles required presented a potential issue, largely owing to a steep hill that would be encountered at the outset of every journey. When it levelled off at road level, the trailers would be close to grounding out. However, the route had been surveyed before the project commenced and we had to make sure the suspension systems allowed for the contours to get the vehicles safely out onto the motorway.”
For the largest tank (pictured), RRS used its four-axle 150t GVW Scania tractor unit with a four-axle extendable Nooteboom low loader. The remaining, smaller tanks were moved by its three-axle 80t GVW Daf tractor units and four-axle extendable Faymonville semi low loaders. All vehicles were selected based on availability and suitability from the RRS fleet of 20 extendable trailers.
The tanks travelled with an accompanying escort vehicle, also provided by RRS, for the duration of the journey; in each case, an attendant travelled in the cab with the driver. Barber said movement was programmed around not travelling during rush hours or in the dark, while the company’s transport department consulted daily with the relevant authorities to book permits and discuss upcoming transportation movements.
Prior to transportation, RRS provided a contract lifting service with two Liebherr mobile cranes. A 200t capacity LTM1200-5.1 was used with a smaller 90t capacity LTM1090-4.1 for tailing. The cranes were used over a three-day period to complete five tandem lifts. Each tank had fixed lifting attachments that double-up as securing points. RRS selected suitable chains to hold down the loads and secure them for transportation. The destination site in Cardiff has its own lifting equipment to move tanks during refurbishment.
RRS received detailed information about the dimensions and centre of gravity of each tank, which were drained of gas before arrival onsite. However, as Barber explained, further checks are always carried out to ensure accuracy and avoid potential problems once cranes are under load or vehicles are on public highways.
He said: “The customer provided us with comprehensive information in advance so we could select the cranes and vehicles required, but we always conduct our own weighing procedures and surveys. We have worked with many tank suppliers over the years and know that the information provided to us isn’t always accurate. In this case we used two 25t Radiolink plus wireless load cells from Straightpoint, fitted to the LTM1200-5.1, to weigh the tanks when they were first lifted to cross reference information. The measurements were within 5%.”