Crane manufacturer Konecranes Southern Africa is currently working on systematically upgrading lifting equipment at State-owned power utility Eskom’s different power stations.
The upgrading of the equipment includes repairing equipment that has been misused and replacing equipment that is obsolete.
At the machine hall at Eskom’s Ingula pumped-storage scheme in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, Konecranes has supplied two double girder electric overhead travelling cranes, that each have a 265 t capacity. These cranes are used to install the turbine and generator components. The two cranes can be linked by a beam that allows the two cranes to lift a weight of 530 t. There are two 8 t single girder electric overhead travelling cranes and two 12 t cranes for everyday use.
“As the machine hall is 1.6 km underground, the installation and initial load test (331.25 t) was very challenging indeed,” Konecranes service training and technical manager Marius Naude, who was site supervisor for the installation and commissioning of the Medupi and Ingula cranes, explained in a press release.
In 2015, Konecranes took over the service contract at the Hendrina power station of the 100/20 t turbine hall cranes, which were constantly out of service owing to various problems. Some of the problems included an old and outdated thyristor-controlled hoisting speed system for both auxiliary and main hoists.
Further, the auxiliary hoist rope drum misalignment on the south crane was causing a major vibration, and was repaired after in-depth inspections found that the misalignment was in the output gear in the gearbox.
“This was all sorted out within three months of us taking over the contract and the turbine cranes are both 100% available now and are 100% reliable,” Konecranes Witbank branch manager Michael Coleridge maintained in a press release. Coleridge went on to explain that Koncranes has reduced the amount of breakdowns significantly, and the upgrading of the old and sometimes obsolete equipment is being addressed systematically.
At the turbine hall of the Medupi power station, in Limpopo, Konecranes has installed two double girder electric overhead travelling cranes with a lifting capacity of 120 t as well as two double girder electric semi-portal cranes with a lifting capacity of 12.5 t. A 120 t double girder electric portal crane has been installed in the plant store.
“These cranes were used for the construction process and will in future be used for maintenance of the turbines and generators,” emphasises Johannesburg service manager David Brook.
The Kusile power station, in Mpumalanga, has three 120 t double girder electric overhead travelling cranes in the turbine hall. Another two 12.5 t double girder electric overhead travelling cranes were installed in the turbine hall, with a 120 t double girder electric portal crane installed in the plant store.
“We currently are still handling all the Kusile breakdowns and the modifications on the turbine hall owing to the construction side misusing the lifting equipment. We modify to adapt to the conditions,” Brook explained in a press release.