Heavylift / Breakbulk
As crucial as a hinge
A ship unloader is a very large piece of equipment, but nevertheless also rather finicky. Royal Cargo recently fitted such a giant with a new hinge in the Philippines.
The scene was set on the Philippines’ main island of Luzon to successfully ring in the new year. In December the Team Energy Corporation (TEC), an energy supplier with Japanese and Filipino owners and a capacity of about 2,000 MW, needed technical support from a project cargo service provider. TEC, which operates two coal-fired power stations on the island of Luzon, amongst other things, required support for its activities in the city of Sual, in the province of Pangasinan.
Unloading systems that handle dry bulk cargo, such as coal, are rather complex pieces of equipment. They also weigh in at a substantial figure and are commensurately large. In day-to-day operations they are subject to a great degree of wear and tear. TEC mandated Royal Cargo to replace the hinge of a coal ship unloader at its second unit in Sual. The most challenging part of the project included the preparation of setting-up beams, and supporting the counterweight side, which weighing approximately 300 t, as well as the bucket elevator side, with around 180 t.
Elaborate support and counterweight
The preparatory engineering work was completed by Royal Cargo’s engineering manager Willfred Omar Sager and Raymond Guy, an engineering consultant. The team, headed by Lawrence Esteban and Joel Daliva, carefully lifted, aligned and bolted the support columns and beams in place. They were designed to hold the ship unloader arms in place and prevent them from falling during the business of replacing the hinge bearing. After the sturdy support system had ben installed the team started removing the worn-out hinge – which was only 24 mm diameter but weighed in at no less than 400 kg – as well as the bearing housing. It was then replaced on site by a new hinge, using a 100 t hydraulic jack for this specific process.
Rodrigo de Roma, Royal Cargo’s vice-president for project and heavylift tasks, said that this undertaking was one of the most intricate and difficult rigging tasks his corporation had ever undertaken. Part of this was down to the fact that the team was working on a jetty port, had a very limited area beside the sea in which to operate and, last but not least, the hinge bearing that it had to replace was located at the very top of the cradle of the ship unloader.
Royal Cargo’s recognition as the best project logistics company of the year, which it was awarded by the business consultancy Frost & Sullivan in 2015, was thus obviously fully-earned – as the project cargo specialist once again proved in 2016.