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24 November 2011

Manitou handles demanding tunnel lifts

Brisbane's Airport Link is the largest road infrastructure project currently being undertaken in Australia, and will provide an important link between Brisbane's city and the airport.

Construction of the 6.7 kilometre twin tunnels is nearing completion with the majority of the mainline tunnels now being fitted with mechanical and electrical equipment.

Two MANITOU MHT 10120 L TURBO telescopic handlers (12 tonnes capacity, 9.62 metres lift height) have been supplied by CQ Forklift Services Pty Ltd (CQ) to assist with the civil construction of the cut and cover tunnels at the Toombul worksite.

This particular operation involves installing concrete panels on corbels to separate the smoke duct from the trafficable area of the tunnel. A concrete slab will be poured over the panels to complete the smoke duct.

The 600mm wide conventional precast panels range from 500mm to 775mm in height and 12 metres to 20 metres in width, with weights ranging from 8 tonnes to 15 tonnes.

The 1200mm wide precast pre-stressed hollow core panels are 420mm high and range from 7 metres to 17 metres in length and 4 tonnes to 10 tonnes in weight.

Where there is access from above, it is a relatively simple task to lower the panels into position by crane. However when access is from below there is often insufficient head height for a pick and carry crane with rigging to lift the panels into position.

CQ supplied the project team with matched pair of high capacity MANITOU telescopic handler machines that could handle the weights involved, after allowing for the de-rating factor applied for a dual machine lift.

There are strict safety controls in place for this work, which is under the control of an advanced rigger / dogman. Spotters in elevating work platforms are used to monitor clearances, and an exclusion zone is in place around the work. The operators, spotters and the lift controller are in constant radio contact.

Panels are brought in with a pick and carry crane, and positioned so that the telescopic handlers can lift them through the gaps in the corbels with minimal requirement for additional positioning. The telescopic handlers then travel backwards or forwards with the panel above the corbels, until the panel is in its final position.

The panels were initially lifted directly with the forks, but a timber platform was subsequently placed between the forks and the panel to ensure that the fork tynes did not damage the concrete.

Around 200 panels will be placed by telescopic handler, with up to 15 placed in a day.

When not handling panels, the MANITOU MHT 10120 L TURBO telescopic handlers undertake general handling work around the site. They have also been used for lifting mini excavators into jacking boxes where there is insufficient head height to use a crane. A platform with fork pockets was fabricated for this work.

The MANITOU machines have acquitted themselves well in an application that could not have been undertaken economically and efficiently by any other means.

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