Double Girder Crane System Lifts and Moves Canal Gates

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Verlinde Eurobloc VT3 electric wire rope hoist is helping the Canal & River Trust to lift and manœuvre wooden lock gates for canals. The 10 tonne hoist is part of a crab unit that was selected for its ability to offer dual speeds and high levels of operator control. Pelloby, a company which has been working as a UK distributor of VERLINDE products for several decades, designed, manufactured and implemented the double girder crane system.

The Canal & River Trust has been producing lock gates for the UK’s waterways since 1963. This investment in the 10 tonne double girder crane is designed to further enhance capability at the organisation’s Bradley Workshop in Bilston, West Midlands where around 180 lock gates are produced every year.

With over 1500 locks on UK canals, building new lock gates is a year-round job at the Canal & River Trust. An average lock gate lasts for about 25 years. Towards the end of their working life they will get a visit from the Trust’s carpenters, who measure it up, ready to be rebuilt back at the workshop. Usually it takes a couple of carpenters two weeks to build a pair of lock gates, but for the biggest gates it can take over a month. Every single lock gate is unique and made in the traditional way using sustainable oak.

Heavy design and construction is needed so that the gate holds up to the pressure of the canal water and continual wear and tear from boats that pass through the lock. This weight means that suitable cranage capacity is required to lift and transfer lock gates between workstations.

The highest capacity existing crane at the site was a 4 tonne single girder PELLOBY system. However, when the team began researching a way to lift heavier loads, it was evident that a double girder system would provide the way forward.

PELLOBY was chosen to oversee the project from the early design and manufacturing phases, through to delivery, installation and final commissioning. Featuring a 12 metre span and running along the workshop’s existing gantry steelwork, the double girder electric overhead crane with VERLINDE EUROBLOC VT3 hoist has a maximum capacity of 10 tonnes. The hoist features a travelling motor type trolley, 11 mm diameter galvanised wire rope and HBC 5 V hook.

The wire rope crab unit was selected as it provided dual speeds for a high level of operator control. A further feature is that the long travelling motion also moves at two speeds, with both motions governed by a pendant handset. In addition to lifting heavier loads, the crane also offers the Canal & River Trust the functionality to easily rotate materials so that work can be carried out on the underside of the lock gates.

“The installation and commissioning process went smoothly and our team have found the 10 tonne system extremely easy to use, allowing us to achieve exactly what we needed,” says Dave Constable, Team Leader at the Canal & River Trust workshop.

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