The right tool for the job

The Australian Pipeliner sat down with Global Pipeline Equipment’s (GPE) Matt Dridan to discuss how companies, such as GPE and Pipeline Plant Hire, are optimising project delivery through matching equipment selection with requirements.

Global Pipeline Equipment’s (GPE) Matt Dridan is adamant; ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t apply when it comes to finding the right equipment and machinery for a specific project.

Can a project achieve desired production with a smaller machine, less transport cost, fuel burn, and hire cost?

The advantages of using vacuum lifts over conventional lifting equipment, such as cranes and slings, are common knowledge now.

Vacuum lifts are one clear case of not just a major improvement to productivity, but also a massive improvement in risk aversion to both personnel and product.

What is less obvious, are the advantages of one vaclift setup over another.

The Pipeline Plant Hire’s VacLift at work. Image: Pipeline Plant Hire

What are the main considerations for a project to contemplate when selecting a vacuum lift?

The tare weight, or unladen weight, of both the host machine and the vacuum lift attachment.

This is a very important point to consider. Not only do you have the additional hire costs of an oversize machine, but there is also the additional transport, fuel, and serving costs to consider.

Especially when some projects require multiple freight movements over the course of the job. Pipeline Plant Hire (PPH) has dedicated both many years, and great expense to maximise the efficiency in these areas.

The ease of maintenance is also something to consider. This is animportant consideration, especially when working in remote locations.

The last thing a project wants is a bunch of trucks lined up, waiting to be unloaded, because of some over complicated gadget spitting the dummy.

The secret to any great design is simplicity. The more layers of electronics and sensors, the more potential problems they create.

And you then need to have especially qualified service people on hand to rectify the matter. This is not exactly an option in remote areas, and often with limited comms.

Again, simplicity in design is what has underpinned PPH’s long standing success in supplying vacuum lifts to the pipeline industry.

Finally, take into account the experience. The importance of selecting the correct equipment for lifting operations, cannot be overstated.

There are many considerations involved when selecting vacuum lifting equipment, including: product static and dynamic flexibility, protective coating texture, and mechanical seal assembly forces required.

PPH has a long-standing reputation in his area. We have been supplying this technology since well before the mining boom. And our record in this area speaks for itself. Trial and error in lifting equipment, is not an option.

Do you have example of a project answering this criteria in mind?

For more than a decade major pipeline projects in Australia have been safely completed using PPH vacuum lifts.

This has included Queensland projects: Australia Pacific LNG, Gladstone LNG and Queensland Curtis LNG. They were successfully completed using our vacuum lifting technologies, whereas existing alternatives at the time would have cost upwards of 30 per cent more, in both transport and hire costs.

PPH was able to use its 36t and 47t machines, coupled with our integrated vacuum lifting systems, to provide the heavy pipe handling solution. On top of this, our PL1500 quick-hitch vacuum lifts provide an efficient method of pipe handling on smaller projects by utilising the projects’ own diggers as host machines.

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This article featured in the May edition of The Australian Pipeliner. 

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