Portsmouth, UK-based Rapid Response Solutions (RRS) has taken delivery of a 300t hydraulic skidding system, the only one of its kind in Europe, from Canadian manufacturer Hydra-Slide.
Lifting, transport and storage specialist RRS will initially put the product to use for installation of transformers at electrical substations, but Paul Barber, managing director, foresees its widespread use on a variety of projects.
He said: “We had quoted for the electrical substation job, for which we knew the Hydra-Slide system was best suited, so in the short-term it made sense to proceed with the order upon award of the contract. Additional electrical substations, large machinery manufacturers and shipping firms will be future targets for the product, while I expect it to open doors to joint venture projects with our tier one partners.”
The HT300 hydraulically powered heavy track skidding system, like its 500t capacity big brother, is one of the most cost-effective and accurate tools for moving, loading or unloading all types of heavy loads. It is frequently used to move transformers, generators, compressors, pressure vessels and machines where a rigid, load carrying track is required.
Barber said: “We looked at all the models, including the HT500, but felt the 300t system was the most versatile. We are hoping that moving forward we will have a requirement for a second, larger system but we will probably choose the 1,000t unit [the HT1000 Tri-Rail], capable of pushing 1,000t while maintaining an eight-inch profile.”
Janine Smith, vice president at Hydra-Slide, said: “We are very excited about RRS investing in the HT300 system. We know from experience how much this equipment can benefit their business. It will increase the number and type of projects they’ll be able to take on and it will set them apart from their competition.”
The 300t heavy track skidding system is the only unit of its kind Hydra-Slide has sold into Europe. There are other models of Hydra-Slide skidding systems in the UK, while similar-sized and larger models are more prevalent in mainland Europe. Hydra-Slide has European customers in Portugal, Georgia, France, Italy, Russia and Iceland.
“The product represents a great fit with our existing range,” said Barber. “We are developing our projects division to increase the services available to our customer base and are continually led by those customers into new areas. This system will reduce the manpower required to carry out certain lifting and moving tasks using traditional methods.”
Smith explained that as RRS already has an experienced and qualified rigging crew it will take minimal exposure and training for them to be confident in the safe operation of the HT300. She said: “Hydra-Slide skidding systems are designed for simplicity with the operator in mind. Reputable and conscientious transport companies know that safety is the most important aspect of any job.”
Barber said: “Before ordering the system I spent a lot of time researching the different types of equipment available on the market to carry out this type of work. I had numerous conversations with Hydra-Slide, asking questions about the system, how it worked, how easy it was to operate, how easy it is to maintain, their experience in the marketplace and their engineering abilities. I was really impressed with the responses I was getting. Nothing was too much trouble. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience, and were happy to share it with me.”
The HT300 included 50 feet of double track and four skid shoes. The push cylinders and all connecting hardware came packed conveniently in a steel toolbox for storage. RRS also ordered an Enerpac 700 bar, solenoid-controlled split flow pump system, which will be used to operate the jacks on the skidding system.
Barber explained that the pump can also be used to operate the jacks needed to lift the load to get the skidding system under the load. The pump is a synchronised system with electronic control, allowing one operator to activate four jacks simultaneously or individually. The synchronised system ensures the pressure in each jack remains equal. The Enerpac pump can be utilised on a variety of jacking operations using Rapid’s pad, wedge and pulling jacks.