Heavyweight claims world first

BELIEVED to be a world-first, a 3500-tonne dragline has been successfully lifted using a synchronous system at the Wesfarmers Curragh coal mine in Queensland's Bowen Basin mining region.
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An Enerpac synchronous lifting system is used on a dragline for the first time.

Ben Oliver

Hydraulic equipment provider Enerpac completed the 200mm lift last month for G&S Engineering Services to allow maintenance works to be carried out on the bearings between the upper and lower rails. An actual loading on the dragline was also simulated to predict bearing life.

The Enerpac PLC-controlled precision hydraulic system comprised of 80 100-tonne capacity hydraulic cylinders, which were controlled in groups of four around the dragline's perimeter.

Enerpac Australasian general manager Anders Mangen said Australian, Singaporean and European consultants were on-site to oversee the world's first lifting of a dragline using the synchronous system.

"The size and controllability of the lift is significant not only for safe and precise lifting of heavy mining equipment, but also for precision lifts across a spectrum of industries," he said.

"The unqualified success of the lift shows a wide variety of industry can use the new technology to replace traditional manual alignment and synchronisation of lifts, so as to save time and money while increasing safety.

"They can also use the precise control available to tilt lifts so as to simulate loads and account for deflection."

The same synchronous lifting system was recently employed during the launch of the Millau Bridge in France, the world's highest viaduct.