Energising Australia’s desert heart


The Enerpac SBL 100 modular jecking system deployed at Owen Springs

A versatile Enerpac gantry lifting system deployed by Tutt Bryant Heavy Lift & Shift has demonstrated its practicality and safety in precisely positioning electrical power generating equipment to supply one of the most remote towns on Earth.

Applying their expertise for head contractor MAN Diesel & Turbo Australia, Tutt Bryant Heavy Lift & Shift used the SBL1100 modular hydraulic jacking system to install diesel/gas generators and alternator sets each weighing hundreds of tonnes at the new Owen Springs Power Station near Alice Springs in Central Australia.

Hydraulic gantries of the type deployed in the operation are a safe, efficient way to lift and position heavy loads in applications where traditional cranes may not be practicable to safely perform the required lifting tasks. The versatile SBL1100 modular hydraulic jacking system provides a controlled and precise method of lifting and installation even in projects constrained by permanent overhead structures, and can be utilised in diverse situations across industries such as mining and resources plant, oil and gas structures, energy and infrastructure installation and maintenance and ports and shipping.

The Owen Springs Power Station is near Alice Springs which is the geographic desert heart of Australia, about 1500km inland from the nearest port or major city. The Alice Springs region will eventually depend upon the new AU$126 million power station as its sole electricity provider as it displaces the Ron Goodwin Power Station over the decade to 2021.

Designed as a major infrastructure development seeking world’s best practice in fuel efficiency and reduced carbon emissions, the three 10.9 megawatt diesel gas generators and their alternators were transported overland from the Port of Darwin by Tutt Bryant Heavy Lift & Shift using multiple prime movers with a 16 axle, three file hydraulic platform trailer for each of the generators, and a 4×8 low loader and 2×8 dolly for each of the alternators.

This combination of trailers, low loaders and dollies provided safe load capacity to efficiently transport each 420-plus tonne load over the vast distance using three prime movers in a two-in-front, one-in back formation. The carefully planned operation – involving 6.6 metre-high loads and designed to minimise impact on public roads and infrastructure – was completed on schedule.

Once on site, the next phase of the task involved Tutt Bryant Heavy Lift & Shift unloading and placing the loads onto their respective foundations. To undertake this precise exercise, the SBL1100 modular hydraulic jacking system was deployed along with self-propelled trailers that are able to jack up and down.

The utilisation of such specialised transportation and alternative lifting equipment allowed each of the generators and alternators to be unloaded and relocated all in a single operation, increasing the efficiency of the task.

“The installation was a delicate process due to the tight confined space and the requirement to have the machinery exactly aligned,” says Tutt Bryant Heavy Lift & Shift’s western region operations manager for specialised transport, Mr Justin Congdon.

“During execution, Tutt Bryant Heavy Lift & Shift was able to implement innovative solutions, such as building a ramp up on to the alternator foundations and enabling side shift capability mode on the modular hydraulic jacking system. These solutions enabled the alternators to be manoeuvred into their respective bays sideways – and placed within a 2-3mm tolerance.

“The SBL1100 was a key technology involved in this exercise, first allowing us to efficiently transport the unit over long distance to the project site thanks to its patented foldable design that allows excellent transportation dimensions, while the unit’s quick ‘plug and play’ setup typically requires only half a day.

“Once set up, the SBL1100 has a lifting height of nearly 13 meters and a lifting capacity of up to 1,100 tonnes. The self-contained hydraulic system has a fail-safe design with three-stage hydraulic cylinders mounted upside down in an octagonal shaped boom design. Powered side shifters are another feature that ensures maximum placement accuracy,” says Mr Congdon.

The generators and alternators were transported and placed onto their respective foundations as specified by MAN Diesel & Turbo Australia. Completing their task on schedule, Tutt Bryant Heavy Lift & Shift ensured the prompt continuation of the installation and construction works of the power plant. In providing efficient methodologies, thorough pre-planning and careful execution, Tutt Bryant Heavy Lift & Shift not only achieved the client’s objectives, but also further enhanced their reputation as a leading heavy lift and transportation provider in Australia.