Giant crane components ready for installation
On 7 March, the deck cargo ship BigLift Barentsz left the Liebherr site at the port of Rostock with two remarkable, giant crane components ready for installation. The white painted slewing platform, as well as the characteristic A-frame of the upcoming Heavy Lift Crane HLC 150000, are now on their way to being assembled on OHT’s next-generation offshore wind foundation vessel Alfa Lift. With its unique combination of features, the Liebherr HLC series will be a key element for installing current and future windfarms around the world.
Following their arrival in China, the slewing platform and the A-frame will be the first crane sections to be assembled on the Ulstein designed offshore installation vessel Alfa Lift. The tandem lift of the two large components was realised at the Liebherr site in Rostock using two strong representatives of their kind: the LR 11350 crawler crane and the TCC 78000, once again proving the importance of this powerful rail-mounted heavy-duty gantry crane. Due to the lifts taking place directly at the quay, the transportation vessel was able to start its journey by taking the shortest route to the Baltic Sea. The slewing platform and the A-frame will be assembled on Alfa Lift at the shipyard of China Merchants Heavy Industry (CMHI) in the province Jiangsu, close to Shanghai. When the installation of the two components is finalised, the boom will be delivered just-in-time to complete the HLC 150000.
“The crane can only be assembled and installed once the vessel has reached a specific phase in its construction. Therefore, the manufacturing timelines are finely balanced between Liebherr, OHT, and CHMI”, says Gregor Levold, Sales Director of Ship and Offshore Cranes at Liebherr Rostock. “Another important element of the partnership with OHT is our support and guidance for the initial setup of the crane onboard Alfa Lift. Due to the extensive experience of our experts, a team of Liebherr specialists will travel to China and support with supervision for the installation, commissioning and testing process (ICT) of the HLC 150000 at the shipyard.” Bjarne Birkeland, Head of Vessel Management for OHT, comments, “We have recently reached a significant milestone in the construction of Alfa Lift with the launch of the vessel and we are grateful to see the high quality components being shipped from their facilities ready for the next big milestone. We look forward to seeing the crane installed on the vessel and thank the experts at Liebherr for their excellent cooperation and diligence”.
With a maximum lifting capacity of 3,000t at 30m and 1,000t at 76m outreach, the HLC 150000 is ready for a wide range of applications. In general, the Liebherr HLC series design is characterised by a small footprint. The slew bearing diameter of the HLC 150000 is just 14m, consequently, the crane requires little space on deck and offers more storage space. Due to the special slip ring configuration, the HLC has a 360-degree unlimited slewing range. In addition, the Liebherr HLC’s foldable A-frame reduces the height of the crane as needed. “Unlike many other crane vessels of this size, the Alfa Lift will be able to navigate waters crossed by bridges. This feature reduces transit-time, for instance when the vessel enters the Baltic Sea crossing the Storebaltsbroen in Denmark”, explains Mr Levold. “The foldable A-frame provides more flexibility, which in turn leads to both operational and cost-efficiency, increasing the number of charter days and vessel availability.”For faster maintenance during operation, all components of the HLC are safely accessible via stairs and platforms. A key element of the maintenance concept is the integrated telescopic knuckle boom crane that is capable of lifting up to six tonnes. This service crane allows the exchange of the heaviest single components without the help of an external crane. This means a comfortable, fast, economical maintenance is guaranteed, independent of the vessel location.
The heavy lift crane series at Liebherr serves a worldwide growing market in offshore wind installation contributing to a sustainable energy provision. At the same time, existing offshore oil and gas installations will be decommissioned in larger sections to reduce transport costs. To meet these requirements in the best way, cross-divisional development and state-of-the-art manufacturing processes are key factors for projects in both sectors. “Customers for this type of crane have very high quality and reliability demands, which we can meet and exceed”, adds Mr Levold. “Our cranes are made in Europe with strong partners within the Liebherr Group as well as proven and reliable external suppliers. Main components like winches, slew bearing, and slewing drives of the crane are designed and manufactured by other Liebherr companies. This results in an independent supply chain and guaranteed availability of components.” Since the feature-rich HLC series can be used for a wide variety of operations, the worldwide interest in the Liebherr heavy lift cranes keeps growing steadily. In 2022, the HLC 150000 onboard Alfa Lift will start operating in the North Sea. The first project is the construction of the windfarm Dogger Bank A, about 130km off the north-east coast of England.