Heavylift / Breakbulk
A folding giant
Oversized cargo calls for special solutions. The key can be unique technology, or even the legal framework at the scene of the action, as is the case for the Highway Giant, for example. It can be transported without special authorisation in some parts of the USA. Or one can opt for Scheuerle’s ship section transporter, which can cope with the challenging weather conditions encountered in a South Korean shipyard.
In Daniel Boone’s day buffaloes were the biggest monsters in Kentucky. Today other giants make their way across the state – and in a case involving Sterett Crane & Rigging, which is headquartered in Owensboro KY (USA), even go beyond the state’s borders. A 140 t container was successfully hauled from Tennessee to Michigan recently, with the aid of a 6 + 8 axle Scheuerle Highway Giant combination, which sports bolsters with a 150 t capacity.
A gentle giant
One of the Highway Giant’s special features is an integrated folding mechanism, which enabled Sterett to load the vehicle modules onto standard 40 t trailers in the company’s compound in Owensboro and to ship them from there to Clarksville TN.
Sterett resumed charge of the shipment there, without having to obtain any special authorisation. The ability to fold the unit means that the trailers can be transported less expensively over long distances when folded – independently of whether they are on their way to a transport task or on their way back after having completed one. The fact that those trips that are carried out without a consignment on board do not require authorisation will result in such orders being quite gentle on the corporation’s coffers.
The task saw the experts from Kentucky deploy one of these Highway Giant combinations for the first time to such an extent. A tractor at the front of the convoy as well as one at the back meant the combination could be shifted after loading.
Company owner Tres Sterett’s assessment after his firm’s first-ever deployment of the unit in the field was positive. «With this vehicle concept we’ll be able to offer our customers the best possible price as a freight forwarder – which is incredibly important in our market environment.»
In North America the dual-lane Highway Giant trailer is accredited for action in most states, on account of its low weight. Because of the multifaceted demands made of it, it was specially designed as a flexible vehicle concept. The unit can not only be configured in various widths (4.8 m, 5.4 m and 6 m), but it can even be widened once the load has been heaved on board.
Yellow, not red
It does not always have to be the strong visual signal that is sent out by a red vehicle. The company Scheuerle Fahrzeugfabrik’s ship section transporter comes in yellow. Shifting the special vehicle from the corporation’s plant in Pfedelbach (Germany) saw a 800 t payload heading for the inland port of Heilbronn. This called for precise work, as approximately 8 m wide and 30 m long convoys are not the norm on any roads.
The ship section transporter was hauled to the Sungdong Group’s shipyard in the South Korean city of Tongyoung, where it is set to be deployed in future. South Korea remains the world’s second-most important shipbuilding nation – behind China but ahead of Japan. South Korean yards did not feel the fall in freight rates so strongly recently, and produced 10.2 million grt in 2014. Only their Chinese competitors manufactured more units in the same period, namely 14.6 million grt. Containerships remain the front runner, ahead of drilling rigs, with orders for the latter stagnating rather on account of declining oil prices.
Transport within the shipyard
The ship section transporter’s place is slap bang in the middle of the yard. Its 26 axles will not only shift vessel segments, but also position them for final assembly and transfer them between various stages of the manufacturing process. Safety is an important subject for all involved too. The transporter has monitoring and warning systems that keep an eye on the vehicle’s centre of gravity, load and inclination, and also automatically alert the driver to any potential erroneous moves whilst operating the vehicle.
TII Sales’ regional manager Ralf Grützmacher believes that one of the key advantages the unit offers is «its ability to also perform well in highly humid conditions, when the salt content of the air is high, and in continuously changing temperatures. We also conserve the vehicle to protect it against the elements during shipping.»