Illovo Sugar project complete

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Advanced Cranes for Bulk Handling Installed by Crane Maker GM Technical Services GM Technical Services (GMTS) is celebrating the completion of the contract for Illovo Sugar at their new 51,000 square metre warehouse in Pietermaritzburg. The facility has been fitted with six high specification cranes, each of 16 tonnes (2x8) safe working load (SWL) and can transport up to ten, one tonne bulk bags in a single movement.

The cranes were manufactured at GMTS’s Vereeniging plant with hoists and other equipment from Street Crane Company in the UK.An initiative between Illovo and developer Collins Property Group, the new warehouse is a major investment.

Day to day operation of the facility will be outsourced to Barloworld Logistics. “The project will produce substantial efficiency gains in the sugar supply chain,” explained Dave Howells, managing director of Illovo Sugar South Africa.  Up to 170,000 tonnes of sugar will be stored at any one time.

The warehouse is divided into three zones of which six bays, within two of the three zones, incorporate double girder cranes of 30.72 metre span fabricated by GMTS together with control cabins, link beams, lifting beams, access walkways and bogies. Hoists and other key equipment were custom built for the project by Street Crane Company in the UK, GMTS’s technical partners. Product is also stored on pallets in racks in a dedicated zone of the warehouse with access by fork lift trucks. Street Crane supplied 12 eight-tonne (4+4 tonnes) custom built VX heavy duty vertical lift hoists.

Each hoist is reeved for a two point hook lift, with rope reeving arranged back onto a single hoist drum ensuring synchronised hook movement. The closed loop hoist variable frequency inverter technology further ensures complete synchronisation of the twin hoists on each crane. Each lifting beam will accommodate ten one-tonne international bulk bags of sugar.

The VX is a true vertical lift hoist with an open barrel design so that there is no lateral movement in the load. The M8, heavy duty, rating on all crane mechanisms was required because of the large number of bulk bags passing through the warehouse and high frequency of crane movements. The cranes are of an advanced specification and include several features to enhance productivity and safety. The cranes are radio controlled from the cabins and have automated safety systems.

These include systems to recognise identification tags on personnel and fork lift trucks to stop the crane and avoid collision. Speaking for GMTS Hannes Steenberg explained, “We won this order because we are one of only a few companies in South Africa with the experience and capability to offer M8 equipment and meet such a demanding and complex specification. Despite the technical complexity, exacting schedule and logistical challenges GMTS met all deadlines throughout the project.


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