Konecranes supplies unique lifting solution to Austal

Konecranes devised a unique lifting solution for defence prime contractor, Austal to enable 16 overhead hoists to be controlled simultaneously by a single operator.

Konecranes is a global specialist in overhead cranes and lifting equipment while Austal is a world-leading designer and constructor of commercial and defence vessels.

Based in Henderson, eight kilometres south of the port city of Fremantle in Western Australia, the shipyard’s building halls currently utilise 32 Konecranes CXT monorail hoists, each with a capacity of 3.2 tonnes.

Austal typically uses 16 overhead hoists working simultaneously to lift and move each assembled ship section before positioning it into the main structure. Prior to the Konecranes solution, each hoist required its own operator.

According to Phil Growden, Site Services Manager at Austal, they needed up to 16 people each with a control button to lift an assembled section of ship.

Konecranes came up with a solution of using multiple remote controls, whereby a single operator could typically control 16 designated hoists and up to 20 at a time.

Trevor Ednie, Sales Manager WA & SA for Konecranes explains that operating many hoists simultaneously to provide a balanced and coordinated lift of large and heavy assemblies might seem challenging but can be overcome by making the best use of advanced lifting technology, sophisticated remote controls and human problem-solving skills.

In addition to the monorail hoists installed last year, Konecranes has supplied Austal with a number of underslung gantry cranes including two new units purchased and installed in 2011.

The 3.9 tonne gantry cranes featuring a 20m span were installed in the same bay and fitted with anti-collision systems to protect the cranes and their loads from colliding. These systems either slow down or stop the crane movement when the crane or its load comes within a pre-set distance of another moving or fixed object.

All the Konecranes gantry cranes at Austal are fitted with remote radio controls including remote controls retrofitted to the older cranes for operator safety.

Konecranes maintains all the cranes on site at Austal in Henderson including cranes from other manufacturers.