Manufacturing News

Unconventional lifting technology for uneven sites

Awkward site conditions, including soft ground, confined trenches, crash recovery areas and uneven earthworks, can create hazards for conventional lifting technologies.

Often there is insufficient room overhead to employ suitable cranes, even if they can be brought overland to a remote site. Sometimes also there is insufficient stability underfoot to employ lifters that produce high point loads both on the ground and on the object being lifted.

One possible solution to these problems is seamless inflatable lifting cushions from elastomer manufacturer Pronal

Available through Australia by Air Springs Supply, the Pronal range of CLT lifting cushions from Air Springs Supply can reportedly raise loads ranging from heavy vehicles, pipelines and plant through to beams, bridge components, building components, machinery and resource development structures.
Pronal products have been proven worldwide in projects as diverse as lifting locomotives and heavy vehicles through to submersible types used, for example, to raise artefacts from the ocean liner Titanic, sunk nearly four kilometres deep in the Atlantic.

The range includes ultra-thin bags (just 20mm thick deflated) that can lift weights of more than 65 tonnes each, to powerful spreading cushions that can exert hundreds of tonnes of force to part plant and machinery components for servicing, or to extract quarried material.

Complementary low-pressure CPB Maxi-Lift cushions can be used on land and under water, offering greater strokes of up to 700mm (or 1400mm where a pair are employed).

Air Springs industrial products manager James Maslin says the Pronal bags combine the advantages of high durability and power with gentle, precisely controlled lifting that can spread the load over broader surfaces of the object being lifted, rather than focusing the power on point loads.

They can be used in confined spaces underneath inaccessible loads ranging from engines and plant, through to foundations of bridges, buildings, machinery, pipeline structures and resource development rigs requiring lifting for inspection and repair.

“Sometimes cranes, slings or cylinders may not be the right choice for lifts with particular technical challenges in terms of lifting surfaces or surfaces to which lifting force is to be applied,” Maslin says.

“Where companies are contemplating considerable investments in custom-engineering conventional lifting platforms, it may be well worth considering the simple principle of pneumatic actuation.

“This can be particularly so when working in confined spaces, such as trenches and mines, where there is little room beneath pipelines and plant.”

 Features of the Pronal product include:

• Strokes from 70-585 mm (CLT), with longer strokes provided by combinations of cushions
• Standard sizes, as well as specific sizes and shapes can be made to order
• Ease of use, with inflation either by compressor or simple air cylinders
• Inflation pressures up to eight bar, regardless of stroke (CLT models – CPB pressures vary from under one bar, depending on model)
• Construction from threaded layers coated with chemical resistant elastomer, hot vulcanised under pressure in one operation.
• Non-slip surface providing maximum friction when stacking two cushions 
• Control systems tailored to particular uses 

As well as straight lifting, the Pronal range of CLT lifting cushions can also be used for pressing, clamping, tilting and guiding.

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