Mobile crane adapted for Rio Tinto

IDEAL mobile crane for Weipa site further improved with special adaptions specified by Rio Tinto, Rod Linblade writes

IDEAL mobile crane for Weipa site further improved with special adaptions specified by Rio Tinto, *Rod Linblade writes for Australian Mining

What was identified by Rio Tinto Aluminium (RTA) as an ideal mobile crane for their site at Weipa on the western coast of Cape York in Queensland, the 220 tonne Grove with a main boom length of 68m, has been further improved with special adaptions, specified by Rio Tinto.

“The unique adaptions largely relate to access and egress as well as working at height issues and there are three key points,” said Anthony Lazenby of Manitowoc Crane Group Australia, the US company which builds the range of Grove mobile cranes and Manitowoc crawler cranes.

“First, the carrier engine oil level and water level inspections, as part of pre-start checks, can now be done at ground level.

“Second, on both sides of the carrier, additional access platforms and hand rails have been added to encapsulate the deck and alleviate working at height issues, whilst servicing the carrier engine and carrying out rigging duties on the deck.

“And third, hydraulically deployed / stowed access platforms, for access to and egress to the upper crane cab, engine and crane deck have been incorporated,” explained Lazenby.

Discussing the special features for the new crane, Ian Cibau of Rio Tinto Aluminium, saw the innovation as another part of the company’s effort on OHS matters.

“Mine sites, especially Rio Tinto sites, are known for their extremely high safety standards, but we are not resting, we seek on-going improvement,” he added.

The hydraulically activated carrier deck hand rails, added to each side of the crane in the area between the crane operator’s cab and the front driving cabin, ensure the safety of personnel when standing on the deck of the crane.

When the crane needs to be moved, or the access platforms and carrier deck hand rails are not needed, each component folds down flat, into a vertical position, along the side of the crane.

If the access platforms are needed, either when the crane is back at base, or out at the worksite, the press of a button, brings into operation an electrically powered hydraulic system which unfolds the access platform up from the vertical position to a horizontal position.

And, finally, the access platform and ladder unfolds to enable safe access by the crane operator, mechanics or riggers who need access to the upper cabin or deck.

The system is interlocked with the crane slewing system to prevent its use when the crane is in slewing mode… and interlocked with the parking brake to advise, via an audio and visual alarm, when the crane carrier is in motion and the access systems are not fully retracted.

Rio Tinto Aluminium, having originally identified the need, then arranged with the Brisbane based Australian Diversified Engineering (ADE), to design and then develop the systems to suit the Grove crane.

ADE then fabricated the adaptions for the Weipa site.

The 220 ton Grove crane passed final inspection at Australian Diversified Engineering’s Rocklea workshops in June and was then on its way to Rio Tinto Aluminium’s site at Weipa in northern Queensland.

*Rod Linblade is the principal of Northfield Communications Pty Ltd – Business-to-Business advertising and journalism.

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