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Lifting up its sales with heavy access equipment.

POOLE-BASED engineering firm, Modulift UK, has played a key role in the assembly of GRE pipes during the second phase of the construction of Ballanaboy Gas Terminal in Ireland. With the assistance of the Modulift lattice system approximately 3,000 metre of jointed pipes have been lifted into trenches for works inside the terminal.

In conjunction with Shell E&P Ireland, Roadbridge and Walsh Crane Hire, Modulift supplied two 24 metre lattice systems as well as a sling assembly to support the rigging of a single 36 metre spreader beam, to enable varying lengths of pipes to be lifted in a safe and controlled manner.

Roadbridge, the civil engineering and building contractors, were contracted by Shell E & P Ireland to construct the civil works element of the terminal to receive gas from the Corrib field, which is located in the Atlantic Ocean 83 km off the west coast of Ireland, for processing prior to entering the national grid.

Walsh Crane Hire was contracted to supply a 90 tonne Tadano Faun All- Terrain Crane which was rigged with a 42.1 metre main boom and a 13.5 tonne ballast as well as a 50 tonne Grove GMK3050, which was rigged with a 38.1 metre main boom.

For the load handling, the pipes came in 10 metre lengths and were joined together on site, with a maximum of six pipes for one string. This required spreader lengths of 24 metre, 36 metre and 48 metre. Each 10 metre pipe was supported at two points by nylon web slings to eliminate the movement at the joints during lifts.

The two 24 metre Modulift lattice spreaders worked in a tandem lifting arrangement with the 90 tonne Tadano Faun and the 50 tonne Grove GMK3050 to place up to 60 metre of pipes into the trenches. Approximately 80 pipe sections were assembled in total, with no two lifts being identical. A 56 metre string of pipes was lifted using the 48 metre lattice spreader and the two crane arrangement.

These pipes were supported at 12 points using the nylon web slings. Due to the long lengths of each string, a lifting plan was designed and agreed before each lift took place to ensure every load was level and under control throughout.

Tom Walsh, contracts manager, Roadbridge, explains the decision to use the Modulift lattice system: "As we had a large number of excavators already on site, we originally planned to utilise about seven to lift the varying lengths of pipe sections. We took the decision to replace these with the Modulift lattice system mainly because the lifting frame provided better support for the pipes during the lifts, minimising the risk of damage to the pipe as well as providing a safer, more efficient lifting process.

It is also more cost-effective. For a direct comparison the cost of hiring two cranes and the Modulift lattice system equates to the cost of using four excavators. The 36 metre lattice spreader rig lifted by one crane is even more cost effective." The lightweight Modulift lattice system uses a modular concept and is designed specifically for long, lighter loads. The 24 metre lattice spreader is supported by two leg slings, which provide a lifting capacity of up to 3 tonne.

The system comprises of 3 metre sections weighing less then 120 kg and 1 metre long cross beams that are attached with pinned joints at every metre. This system can also be rigged as a 36 metre spreader beam with the use of a sling assembly working with either the 90 tonne or 50 tonne crane to lift shorter pipe lengths.

Nick Latham, chairman, Modulift, explains the simplicity of the Modulift lattice system: "Originally designed and developed specifically for the roofing industry to enable easier handling of long roof sheets, the lattice system has quickly become recognised as an efficient and valuable lifting solution across many industry applications.

This is mainly thanks to it inherent flexibility, which allows the spreader to accommodate different load sizes for different lifts within projects.

Roadbridge's decision to use our lattice system as the lifting tool for the pipe sections reflects its growing popularity in a varied field of load handling applications."

The system has been used three times a week for a three-month period, with one of the 24 metre spreaders being left on site for a further three months until this phase of works is completed, which is scheduled to be next month. "The benefit of the lattice system using 3 metre sections makes it easier for Modulift customers to transport, handle and assemble on site, one of the major advantages of using pinned joints.

It also enables it to be easily stacked and stored on site for the duration of a project. Thanks to the system's ease of use and flexible nature, we have seen a notable increase in the demand among leading hire companies in the UK," continued Latham.

Contractors are able to provide job specifications enabling Modulift to design a solution using either the lattice system or the Modulift crane spreader system, to provide the correct beam lengths for the weight capacities using modular components. It is a far more cost-effective tool and less time-consuming way than manufacturing new beams or re-building existing spreaders for each job.


With sales at an all-time high, in spite of the economic downturn, Modulift is going from strength to strength and has recently recruited a global sales team to deal with the ever-growing number of enquiries from around the world. Modulift is a manufacturer and supplier of spreader beams around the world and is the preferred choice for the world's leading crane companies. The Modulift range comprises 16 systems, which provide lifting capacity for weights between 2 tonne -- 3,000 tonne and lengths from 16 inches -- 174 feet.

The system is used for the smallest maintenance work to the largest lifting jobs in many industry sectors. Modulift currently has sales and rental customers in the construction, maritime, offshore, oil and gas, industrial and aerospace industries. All utilise the modular system to enable the lifting of various loads, without the need to buy or rent new spreader beams for every different job


With an increase in demand in the lifting industry for the ability to produce DNV-approved products, Modulift announces that they have just completed their second bespoke spreader system with full DNV product approval. As part of the approval process Modulift underwent a series of inspections on design, manufacture and testing to gain certification for their spreaders in the following categories: conformity for manufacture and testing, and design review.

Both spreader systems are to be used on the Pluto LNG project in Western Australia. Woodside's $12 billion Pluto LNG project is set to become the fastest developed LNG project from discovery of the gas field in 2005 to first gas in late 2010.

Approved for development in July 2007, the foundation project will process gas from the Pluto and Xena gas fields, located in the Carnarvon Basin about 190 km north-west of Karratha, Western Australia

Latham comments: "Following the successful delivery of the DNV-certified spreaders for Pluto LNG, we are delighted that we are now introducing the Modulift 271 range to answer the requests for higher specification products for demanding environment of marine lifting." "The Modulift 271 range is supplied as standard with a test certificate, a certificate of conformity and is designed for temperature conditions down to -20 C. It is also available off-the-shelf."

Modulift also offer a spreader system manufactured to a design approved by DNV and witnessed by DNV surveyors throughout the fabrication process and proof-load testing. The spreader systems are supplied with a design review report and certificate of conformity for manufacture and testing, issued by DNV.


Modulift have been chosen by the Royal Navy to supply their spreader beam systems for a variety of lifting applications throughout the UK.

Optimised for weight at every size, the unique capabilities of the modular system add to its benefits through easier and more manoeuvrable ground handling, easy build and storage capabilities, and with a range of components to make up the spreader, give it a multi-use feature and a cost-effective solution over a range of lifts. An ideal system for the Royal Navy where cost, flexibility and storage are necessary requirements.

With safety also being of paramount importance, lifting equipment is strictly regulated to meet with all Royal Navy safety and design regulations, and each Modulift spreader beam series has been proof load tested in the Modulift compression test lift. The Royal Navy Training School, based in Portsmouth, trains all new recruits to use the Modulift system for lifts where there is a need to prevent horizontal compression forces being transmitted into the structure.

Whether it be for lifting a rigid raider assault boat, a reel of cable wire, or for use during ongoing installation, maintenance and engine room work, the Modulift spreader beam system provides the Royal Navy with the flexible solution.

Mark Lilley, who trains the Navy in lifting applications, comments: "With its unique flexibility, which means the spreader systems can be used over a range of lifts and it's lightweight structure, the Modulift spreader beams are ideal for the Navy as they offer compact storage capabilities and are easy to transport around the ship."

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Publication:Oil & Gas News
Date:Jan 28, 2010
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