Alimak service technicians identify and replace 70 m of corroded mast and base frame to extend the life of a 26-year-old maintenance lift. Given the close proximity to power lines and the confined space, a clever solution was required to complete the mast refurbishment.
Grain processing facilities
Founded in 1916, Graincorp operate seven bulk grain export elevators in Eastern Australia, boasting a combined grain storage capacity of 20 million tonnes. Processing wheat, barley, canola, chickpeas and sorghum, delivered by road and Graincorp’s extensive rail network, these facilities handle more than 5 million tonnes of grain annually.
Installed in 1986, Graincorp’s Gladstone facility makes use of an Alimak rack and pinion lift to access the seven landings of their 70m grain stack. A critical piece of equipment on site, the Alimak lift allows maintenance staff to access higher levels of the stack for necessary servicing and maintenance. The lift also enables swift and safe access for emergency response if required.
Servicing identifies corrosion to the mast
Following an on-site service inspection, Alimak identified irreparable corrosive damage that had occurred to the base mast, base frame and a mast section located 25m up the grain stack. Both sections were damaged beyond repair and required the entire 70m mast and base frame to be dismantled and replaced.
Given the close proximity of power lines to the grain stack, Alimak was unable to angle a crane close enough to dismantle the lift mast. Without the use of a crane, mast sections could not be maneuvered over the power lines. A temporary disconnection of the lines would result in a shut down of Graincorp’s entire Queensland rail system.
A clever solution
In order to replace the damaged mast, Alimak engineered and installed a unique winch that would allow the mast to be dismantled and reassembled manually. Fixed to the Alimak lift car, the Alimak winch was able to hook each mast section individually and angle the section onto the lift car roof area. Operators were then able to use the lift itself to deliver each section to the ground.
In this way, each of the Gladstone grain stack’s 49 mast sections were manually dismantled, with the same process used in reverse to assemble the replacement mast. Alimak worked closely with Graincorp throughout the duration of the project, providing engineering technical, electrical and rigging support.
The Alimak rack and pinion lift’s replacement mast has been in operation at the Gladstone facility since May 2012, providing Graincorp operators with access to the 7 levels of the grain stack. Alimak’s manual winch approach may be used in future projects where site restrictions prevent crane access.
Location: Graincorp Grain Handling Facility, QLD, Australia
Installation year: 1986
Application: Grain handling facility, lift access
Lift type: Alimak Scando 10/19
No. of landings: 7
Capacity: 1000 kg
Car size: 1.9 m x 1.2 m
Speed: 0.65 m/sec
Lifting height: 70 m