Hydra-Slide Equipment used for Transformer Changeouts
Edwards Moving & Rigging is utilizing a variety of equipment, including a 150-ton capacity low profile hydraulic skidding system from Hydra-Slide, to remove small transformers and replace them with new units over a two-year period at a high security power plant in the south east of the US. The final changeout is scheduled for late 2019.
Edwards will complete changeouts, taking three to four days a time, approximately every eight weeks. Each existing transformer weighs around 10,000 lbs. and measures 5.5 ft. long, 8.4 ft. wide, and 6.5 ft. high. The replacement units are a similar size and weight.
Over the course of the project, the Kentucky, US-based provider of heavy hauling and specialized rigging services will employ rollers, hydraulic jacks, aluminum cribbing, a modular tower, and Hydra-Slide equipment. Other than the building’s overhead crane, all equipment required for the changeouts is sourced from Edwards’ expansive stock. This equipment is disassembled and stored onsite and reassembled each time the plant schedules a changeout.
The XLP150 extreme low profile system provides a cost-effective, safe, simple, and reliable method for moving all types of heavy loads. Edwards noted that all components are hand portable. It has a 1.25” profile, reducing jacking time and space requirements. It features 150-ton push and pull capacity and is ideal for areas with restricted access and flat, continuous support. The XLP150 is being used with 20 ft. of track and powered by a Hydra-Pac synchronous 10,000-psi hydraulic power unit.
Bill Watts, vice president of operations at Edwards, explained that the main challenges are presented by low headroom, a confined workspace, and no access for forklift trucks, in addition to the fact that the site does not allow gasoline motors or any flammable materials, such as wood. The only viable alternative to the Hydra-Slide system would have been to employ overhead trolleys to move the loads across the length of a beam, but the XLP150 presented a myriad of safety and productivity advantages, he added.
Another focal point of the project is the max. 27 ft.-tall modular tower, which provides access to the four floors where work is taking place. The overhead crane lifts the transformers onto the modular tower—also erected using the crane—to the plant floor elevation where the changeouts take place. At the top of the tower, aluminum cribbing and steel shims are used for blocking and leveling a secure base for the XLP150 skidding system.
A total of six Edwards employees will be involved with the changeouts, including a project manager, superintendent, and four riggers. Watts confirmed that a third party delivers the transformers to the site via truck before they are moved inside the building, and removes the old transformers once they are safely lowered.