Singapore slings

15 September 2009

Fagioli and Yew Choon performed more than 550 special transport moves, crane lifts and alternative lifts for a job on Singapore’s Jurong Island. Nicole Robinson reports

Jurong Island is amanmade amalgamation of seven islands, to the south west of Singapore, and home to a growing array of petrochemical refineries. Shell EasternPetroleumcontracted a Fagioli/Yew Choon joint venture to transport and lift components for the construction of a new ethylene oxide/mono ethylene glycol plant on the island.

Fagioli/Yew Choon were transporting and lifting reactors, columns, vessels, heat exchangers, air coolers and other plant items: approximately 100 modules, weighing from 20t up to 1,356t. These items had been fabricated in Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia and throughout Europe. The bridge linkingmainland Singapore and the Jurong

Island Highway that snakes through the island, couldn’t handle the massive weight of many of the items, leaving Shell Eastern Petroleum Ltd with only the option to bring these items onto the island from the sea.

With their close proximity, items manufactured in Indonesia and Malaysia were transported by barge to Jurong Island. Items that needed to travel from further away, from places like Japan, were first transported by heavy lift ship, the more stable and therefore safer option, but needed to be transferred to barges before accessing the quay because the ships required deeper water than was available. The items were transferred using the ships’ lifting gear onto barges, which completed the journey through the shallow water closer to the quay.

Smaller items were removed from the barges and brought onto the pier using a 250t Hitachi KH7250 crawler crane and a 300t Terex CC 2800 crawler crane. Bigger items used Goldhofer self propelled transporters and Scheuerle SPMTs. The two 1,356t reactors were each carried using 54 axle lines of SPMTs, powered by three power packs and arranged in three lines of 18 axles.

Saddled on two longitudinal beams, built specifically for this job and supplied by the vendor located in Japan, the Hitachi Zosen R-8201A/B reactors (1,356t each) sat on steel stools to allow the SPMTs to be inserted.

A steel ramp connected the barge to the quay, almost like a temporary bridge, to transfer the items. In a roll on, roll off operation, the SPMT drove along the barge, crossing onto the quay over a period of two to three hours. During the whole process, the barge needed to always stay at the same elevation as the pier as the weight shifted from one to the other. This was carefully monitored and water was pumped in and out of the ballast tanks to continually adjust the elevation and maintain the balance.

Survey work revealed that with the exception of a few curves, there wouldn’t be major obstacles in the 100m–500m route between the quay and the lift site that most of the pieces need to travel. Shell’s new plant had yet to complete all of the civil works limiting the already constrained space available.

Before the reactor was brought vertical, it was lifted horizontally to remove the trailer and the saddle. To lift the two heaviest reactors, the R- 8201A/Bs, vertically, the project used the Fagioli Tower Lift System with a Terex CC 2800 as a tailing crane. The Tower Lift System had eight tower sections, two main crosshead beams and four L600 strand jacks with a 600t capacity each.

Besides the two heaviest R-8201A/B reactors, two other columns, the C-8301 of 450t and the C-8303 of 550t, were lifted using the Fagioli Lifting Tower System. For these modules, the tower was configured with 20 and 18 tower sections, respectively, for a total height of 70m and 64m.

The new generation of Fagioli Tower Lift System is un-guyed up to a height of 100m, to limit the impact on site activities. The towers were assembled off-site due to space restrictions and brought in by barge and trailers in macro-components to be installed on site. Because there were few heavy items over 400t to lift, the Fagioli Tower Lift System was particularly suited for this job rather than a heavy duty mobile crane, said Fagioli COO Paolo Cremonini. The tower is easily transported in containers and can be mobilised and demobilised faster and cheaper than a comparable heavy duty crawler crane model.

Bringing the reactor to its vertical position took less than one day. The tailing crane and tower system worked at a speed of 10m/h. With 26m required for this job, the work lasted around five hours with intermediate planned stops taken to check the load and to remove the trailer.

A massive engineering activity was carried out starting from the feasibility stage of the project in order to select the best construction strategy. About 550 drawings were issued for the project, of which 350 detailed crane lifts, 50 covered lifts using the Fagioli Tower Lift System and 150 covered transport.