Yorkshire Firms Build New Offshore Crane for Brazil's Olinda Star Rig

For the past three months the skyline at Hellaby Industrial Estate has had a new figure. Standing over 25 meters tall the Riser Gantry Crane has had a temporary home at RJD Engineering.

A joint venture by Sheffield based Geo Robson & Co Ltd and its sister company RJD Engineering the Riser Gantry crane has been designed and built for the Oil Exploration Industry. The final destination is the offshore Oil Rig, Olinda Star, Brazil.

The contract totalling £1 million was awarded to Robson from Shipley based TSC Offshore, formally Patriot Mechanical Handling who not only designed the Crane but also the King Post Deck Cranes, BOP Handling, and Tree Handling Systems totalling $20 million for the refurbishment of the Olinda Star.

The crane was pre-built at Hellaby, Rotherham, to enable the hydraulic and electrical systems to be fully tested and proved. The large sections weighing as much as 65 Tonnes, proved to be a very complex lift, the whole structure weighing in at a mighty 125 tonnes.

Four huge mobile cranes had to be used to ensure the lift went without a hitch, with one goliath 500 ton, two 200 ton and one 75 ton cranes, all on site at the same time, with only a few feet between them, the Robson Site Manager Dave Parker stated, "Every move had to be planned well in advance and calculated to the inch, following strict health and safety procedures to ensure the safety of everyone on site."

The lift involved the central bridge section being lifted to 30m high to enable the side legs to be lifted and manoeuvred under the bridge and the bridge lowered on to the top. A cherry picker was used to reach the high connections and the enable the fixing of the connecting bolts.

RJD Engineering fabricated all of the structural sections and provided all of the ancillary steelwork, utilising most of its 42,000 square foot workshop. Robson provided the mechanical systems for the crane, with all the electrical and hydraulic systems fitted in situ, the engineers certainly needed to have a head for heights.

The crane was dismantled this week ready for its long journey to Brazil, an equally complex lift using the same combination of heavy lift equipment, the cranes supplied by Ainscough of Manchester. Jason Delvard of Ainscough, said “It was a very difficult job, in a very tight space, the experience of the crane drivers and slings men certainly shone through, with everyone working very closely with the Robson and RJD team, made sure that the job was safe and successful.

With the cranes offshore destination the specification was very high, with all the welds and connections having to undergo rigorous testing. The documentation and components all had to be completely traceable, Mike Howard, Managing Director of RJD Engineering, stated, "It was a huge challenge for all of the team, the success of this build shows that Sheffield and Rotherham still have some of the best engineering skills in the world."

The two companies performance and professionalism impressed TSC so much, that a follow up order was placed for additional offshore equipment and an enquiry for another Riser Gantry Crane to be built early in the New Year.

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