Babcock bears the load

Turning challenges into triumphs

Defying the laws of gravity is all in a day’s work for Babcock’s plant hire business as our heavy lift mobile cranes continue turning challenges into triumphs. Most recently, Babcock put a 600-tonne Liebherr LG 1550 lattice boom crane to the test in a project involving the precise placement of 10 gantries within a live and confined working space.

Babcock bears the load

Michael Hawkins, Heavy Lift Manager at Babcock, says that despite external setbacks, the three-month project went very well with Babcock achieving what many thought impossible with a mobile crane. “Our competitors believed the project required a high capacity crawler crane; however, by building the mobile crane and boom on the ground we were able to drive it into position, lifting the boom along the way and stabilising it with a 100-tonne crawler crane,” says Hawkins.

Ten gantries, some exceeding 70 tonnes, were then lifted 35 metres into the air over a live working plant to be strategically placed between A-frames for the carrying of conveyor belts for a new wood chipping plant in Umkomaas, south of Durban.

Hawkins says that 28 lowbed trucks were used to transport the Liebherr LG 1550 mobile crane to site where it was built. “The challenge then came in lifting the gantries above plant buildings and underneath existing conveyor belts before slewing them in to final position,” he says, adding that individual gantries took approximately three and a half hours to lift and place, with the entire build of each gantry taking three days.

The Liebherr LG 1550 lattice boom crane is the largest mobile crane in Babcock’s plant fleet. It has a maximum lifting capacity of 600 tonnes at a 4.5 radius and lattice boom extending 2 to 105 metres. The eight-axle machine with slewing platform also features supports that can be completely folded into the vehicle width, increasing manoeuvrability in confined spaces. In addition, the 24 wheels provide the load bearing capacity necessary for the crane to move on-site with the major part of its equipment and ballast, while the boom and jib system enable hook heights of over 100 metres to be reached.*

With a current equipment fleet of 136 cranes, ranging from 8 tonnes to 600 tonnes, and a combined inventory of more than 40 000 items, Babcock is the largest empowered mobile lifting equipment and plant service provider in southern Africa. Other mobile transport options offered by Babcock include tractors and trailers, trucks and lowbeds, and abnormal transport for the logistics and transport for heavy haulage. Babcock’s combined fleet is utilised on a wide range of customer projects, from substantial infrastructure development and mining, to petrochemical plants, wind farms and marine projects.

Aside from its extensive inventory of heavy lifting equipment, Babcock’s team of certified riggers and qualified red seal riggers are trained to provide a wide spectrum of advice and services ranging from machine moving to rigging and placing of equipment and lifting assessments. Babcock operates to a safety-first philosophy and boasts an outstanding safety record while working within and exceeding OHSAS and ISO requirements. Safety is further supported by well-trained drivers and operators as Babcock continually trains and upskills employees to ensure safe and superior service to customers.

As a preferred plant service provider, Babcock offers its clients:

  • Expertise and advice to identify and specify the appropriate equipment for individual operational demands while keeping in line with customers’ cost efficiency requirements
  • Availability of equipment with fleet range and location ensuring optimal utilisation as well as strict maintenance schedules keeping downtime of the fleet to a minimum
  • An extensive branch of network and workshop facilities in southern Africa
  • Cradle to grave equipment monitoring using a digital QR code scan and tracking system monitors that allow instant access to any item’s hire history, service interval and related spare parts.


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