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Comment Operations & Maintenance

An alternative to cranes for moving heavy equipment

By Chemical Engineering |

As the demand for productions plants with “mega” capacities grows, one challenge facing engineering contractors has been how to move the very large vessels, columns, heat exchangers and other equipment as it’s being constructed. Now companies that fabricate and assemble equipment weighing from 20 to 300 tons and greater can now freely move those items anywhere in their facility using the In-Plant heavy handling equipment from the Wheelift Systems Group of Doerfer Companies (Waverly, IA; edlinks.chemengonline.com/6519-540). The Wheelift multi-axle transporters offer a manufacturing capability that has never before been available to industry, claims the firm.

The new indoor transporter uses automatic-guided-vehicle (AGV) technology, which enables fabricators to move equipment in ways not possible using overhead cranes and in-floor rail systems. These self-propelled modular transporters are omni directional in their travel capability, with the ability to drive sideways, rotate about their own center or perform other maneuvers not possible before.

The transporters (photo) typically have solid urethane tires and from 4 to 24 (or more) axles that can each carry as much as 25 tons per axle. From 4 to as-many-as-necessary axle assemblies are mounted to low-profile, engine-driven platforms. The axles each have hydraulic vertical lift center columns. Computer-controlled steering assures that every axle is properly aligned and operating in tandem.

 

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