YRS: World's Largest Gantry Crane Taking Shape in China

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Yantai Raffles Shipyard (YRS) reported that the world's largest gantry crane is fast materializing across the 380-by-120 meter dry dock at its site in Yantai, Shandong, China. With a total lifting capacity of 20,000 metric tonnes, the device reportedly will bring to the offshore marine and shipbuilding industry a new level of sophistication.

The crane is specially designed and engineered by YRS. It is made up of two fixed beams placed horizontally above the dock floor on floor columns. Each steel beam has a lifting capacity of 10,000 metric tones. The beams are placed at 89 meters and 119 meters high, respectively. Spanning an overall length of 120 meters, the super-colossal crane has a lifting height of 83m for its lower beam and 113m for its higher beam. The installation of 96 unique lifting devices will enable the mating of an entire outfitted deck box of a semi-rig onto its hull/pontoons in one activity, reducing work hazards at high altitudes and in the open sea. YRS noted this mating process, compared to conventional methods, will reduce both risks and time significantly. Presently much smaller cranes are used in the building of such specialized projects.

To date, the crane is 65% completed. The four concrete columns will be fully cast by the middle of March 2007. The beam construction is currently underway and the load out of the first beam will take place at the end of March 2007. YRS will perform its first test lift in June 2007 and the second test lift, after the completion of the second beam, in July 2007.

The 10,500-metric-tonne deck box, complete with derrick and quarters of the Offrig Pioneer, will be lifted onto the pontoons and columns in July 2007. According to the company, this lifting of the complete deck box will revolutionize the way semi-submersibles are built because it reduces manpower by one-half. The process will also result in a safer and better-built vessel.

The lifting device has already been confirmed for eight lifts of between 10,000 to 16,000 metric tonnes for eight semi-submersibles and is expected to bring competitive advantage to the yard. YRS aims to increase its building capacity to more than 10 semi-submersible rigs a year within three years' time.

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