Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Africa found the ideal man and materials handling solution in Orbit hoists which will enable the contractor to provide safe, effective and efficient services at its contract at Kusile power station.

The Orbit personnel and material hoists provide safe, effective and efficient services
The Orbit personnel and material hoists provide safe, effective and efficient services

The Orbit hoists will be installed at two of the boiler sites on the project.

This is according to Awie Esterhuizen, scaffolding discipline manager at Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Africa (MHPS), who explains that while heavy loads are moved using tower cranes, this mode of materials handling cannot be justified for smaller components such as scaffolding material.

Moving such components manually was not an option as construction tasks can be unnecessarily delayed and moving people without the required materials would have resulted in avoidable standing time and a loss of productivity.

“Our challenge was to find equipment which would transport both men and materials to various levels of the 110 m tall construction, thereby reducing manual handling of equipment and subsequent risk of injury while improving productivity. And we needed to be able to do this at a speed that would be both safe and effective,” Esterhuizen explains.

He says that the vertical lifting of men and materials to levels on such a high construction is not often appreciated in terms of its complexity. “In a nutshell, the challenge is to effect this movement onto a construction that is in the process of being constructed, in order to fully construct it.”

Torre Lifting Solutions was able to respond to this need and provide a turnkey best fit solution using the Orbit personnel and material hoist. The scope of supply included procurement, transport, import, installation and commission of the hoists. Esterhuizen says that by Torre Lifting Solutions assuming the role of a business partner rather than a single focus supplier, MHPS was able to focus on the work at hand.

The Orbit material hoist is able to accept material mechanically
The Orbit material hoist is able to accept material mechanically

This purpose engineered single mast hoist has two separate cages; one with a 2 t capacity to carry people and the other capable of carrying 2.3 t of materials. Both cages operate simultaneously and most importantly the configuration of the Orbit hoist allows for materials to be loaded by forklift speeding up the operation.

The design of most material hoists does not facilitate this type of mechanical materials handling which means that some 5 000 pieces of material need to be manually moved to the hoist for up and off-loading.

“The Orbit equipment is able to accept material mechanically and being able to load 5 000 pieces per lift with a round-trip cycle time of 15 minutes we can move all the material required per day within two to three hours. This feature is critical to productivity on site,” Esterhuizen says. The Orbit material hoist operates at a speed of 22 m per minute while the personnel cage travels at 96 minutes per minute.

Orbit equipment is engineered with all the requisite safety features including integral lock-out mechanisms to prevent accidental operation or personal injury.

Esterhuizen says that while a technical support service is being provided by Torre Lifting Solutions to ensure continuous availability, MHPS’s pre-procurement research indicated that this specific model is both reliable and robust under a range of operating conditions.

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