Fea­ture – Christchurch bridge lift

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - CONTENTS -

In mid-De­cem­ber, HTC an­nounced it was to lift a Christchurch bridge off its foun­da­tions so earth­quake out how it all went...

Ne­ces­sity has long been the mother of in­ven­tion, and for one Kiwi firm in the spe­cialised equip­ment sec­tor, the chal­lenge of the Christchurch re­build has also set up an un­ex­pected op­por­tu­nity for ex­pan­sion.

The 31-year-old com­pany, HTC Spe­cialised Tools and Equip­ment, has made an in­vest­ment al­most un­equalled on ei­ther side of the Tas­man, of five Du­ra­pac Sync­mas­ter Syn­chro­nised Lift­ing Sys­tems, which are to­gether worth $1 mil­lion.

The five units not only com­prise the big­gest sys­tem of its kind in the South Pa­cific, HTC is the only com­pany mak­ing it avail­able for hire for con­struc­tion and in­fra­struc­ture projects of all sizes through­out New Zealand and Aus­tralia.

Ev­i­dence of its po­ten­tial was pro­duced in mid-De­cem­ber 2013, when HTC com­pleted a unique bridge-lift­ing ex­er­cise in South New Brighton.

The Du­ra­pac hy­draulic lift­ing sys­tem was de­ployed as part of the Scirt/Ful­ton Ho­gan Bridge Street bridge re­pair project to re­store a crit­i­cal route from the earth­quake-dam­aged east­ern Christchurch sub­urb to the CBD.

It was the first time a ma­noeu­vre of its type and tech­no­log­i­cal com­plex­ity had been per­formed in New Zealand or Aus­tralia, and the sub-24-hour op­er­a­tion went off with­out a hitch, meet­ing the dead­line and al­low­ing for the restora­tion of the fol­low­ing Mon­day morn­ing traf­fic f low.

Though the bridge deck it­self re­mained vi­able af­ter the earth­quakes, dam­age to the abut­ments meant only a heav­ily re­duced traf­fic f low could be sup­ported, and the bridge re­quired re-lev­el­ling of 200mm at its low­est point. Once level, an equal dis­place­ment lift was per­formed to per­mit the nec­es­sary re­pairs be­neath.

In a ma­jor tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ment be­yond the old­fash­ioned method of lift­ing, the hy­draulic sys­tem – which spreads more than 7,200 tons of lift power across 72 sep­a­rate hy­draulic rams – was con­trolled from a sin­gle touch­screen dis­play through­out the op­er­a­tion.

The pow­er­ful on-board com­puter was tasked with keep­ing each hy­draulic ram within a pre-set tol­er­ance with all of the other rams, and the sys­tem was set to ac­tively mon­i­tor weights and sub­si­dence at each lift­ing point and to pause the lift if an er­ror was de­tected.

HTC’s five Du­ra­pac units were con­nected to cre­ate and con­trol up to 40 lift­ing points. The ‘spread’ this per­mit­ted was key for a weighty project such as Bridge Street, in which more lift­ing points mean less stress on the struc­ture.

With the project, which was a year in the plan­ning by HTC and col­leagues at Scirt and Ful­ton Ho­gan, the com­pany has been field­ing en­quiries about the project from around the world.

HTC’s Christchurch branch man­ager Daniel Brice, says: “This project show­cases the wider eco­nomic po­ten­tial stemming from cap­i­tal in­vest­ment.

“Not many firms are able or will­ing to make a sim­i­lar cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture, and hav­ing done so opens up a po­ten­tial new in­come stream across New Zealand and in Aus­tralia.

“All five units can fit eas­ily into one ship­ping con­tainer, so this ser­vice to the Aus­tralian mar­ket is vi­able.”

Con­tact HTC 0800 420 000.

Photo sup­plied

HTC’s Robb Huskin­son on-site dur­ing De­cem­ber’s bridge lift in Christchurch.

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