Vacuworx and Qube give the NGI a lift

In November 2020, APA Group announced it would invest up to $460 million in the new Northern Goldfields Interconnect (NGI) – a 580 km, 12-inch (304 mm) pipeline that will connect emerging gas fields in the Perth Basin in Western Australia to the Goldfields region.

The new pipeline will connect to APA’s existing Goldfields Gas Pipeline (GGP), which in turn connects to APA’s Eastern Goldfields network, creating an interconnected gas pipeline system covering 2,690 km which is expected to be operational by mid-2022.

The construction of the new NGI will benefit from the safety and efficiency of Vacuworx’s vacuum lifting technology.

Qube’s Vacuworx CC-MP lifter showing its versatility unloading layers of six and seven rows of pipe with automatic pipe sensing.

To ensure maximum efficiency and safety during this process, APA and Qube (contracted to handle pipe logistics) will be using Vacuworx lifters to unload incoming ships at Port Geraldton and then unloading the trucks transporting the pipes from the holding yard to the five different lay down yards along the right of way.

Project Lifters


The CC-MP system is engineered to work or coincide with standard industry equipment such as shipping container dimensions, crane attachments and trailer sizes.

• Designed to lift up to nine pipes at a time.

• Consists of 18 vacuum pads with individual controls.

• Computer controlled with touch screen display and control commands. 

MC 5

The MC vacuum lifting system is lightweight and designed for use with compact host vehicles. They are ideal for handling pipeline projects such as this and have lift capacities ranging from 3-5 t.

The MC 5 operates using a high-capacity diesel engine and uses wireless remote operation meaning there is no need for dangerous hooks, slings or chains. Its 360o rotation provides precise placement of materials without damaging bonded coatings. 

Vacuworx Australia General Manager Lou Guevara said as the first-long distance gas pipeline being built in Australia for some time, the NGI was an exciting project to be a part of.

“We love working with the Qube team as they are prepared to look at ways to improve their service to their customers.

“Vacuworx lifters have proven they can help Qube exceed their customers’ expectations in terms of safety and zero pipe damage targets,” he said.

No stranger to the Vacuworx lifters, Qube Project Manager Anthony Wells said the company knows and trusts the lifters.

“The CC-MP minimises the risks associated with handling pipes from the boat during unloading and in the storage yards.

“Using vacuum technology protects not only the pipes but also our people; removing the requirement for hands-on loads.”

As an industry leader in pipe handling, Vacuworx is committed to continuous innovation and this project benefits from new improvements to the CC-MP. 

Eliminating the need to have people in the lifting process speeds up the process while maximising safety.

“Our new guidance system, being trialled on the Qube Multi Lifters (CC-MP), has improved efficiencies and further reduced the need to have people inside the exclusion zones while lifting seven pipes at a time,” said Mr Guevara.

On a project on this scale, every efficiency helps.

These lifters are projected to perform more than 100,000 lifts throughout the project, handing 33,000 pipes over the nine-month project, and Vacuworx vacuum lifting technology enables fast lift cycles and minimal downtime. 

Qube is also using an MC 5 to unload the truck in the five laydown yards. 

“The MC 5 enables us to unload and stockpile the pipe efficiently. It’s a great machine that is reliable and makes our job safer and easier. We can meet the requirements of our customer quickly,” said Mr Wells. 

“Our job is to continue to offer the most efficient pipe handling methods for our customers, and Vacuworx systems provide that.

“They [Vacuworx] go over and above to see the project succeed, and the support throughout the entire project is outstanding!” 

“We enjoy working with the Qube team!” said Mr Guevara. 

“They set big challenges, and so far, we have been able to deliver.

“We continue to look for ways to improve our lifters, and more upgrades are planned for the future that will continue to raise the bar on how pipes are handled during ship offloads.”

Vacuworx Australia manufactures, sells, leases, rents and services vacuum lifting systems for the energy, construction, infrastructure and utility industries. Its vacuum lifting systems handle all forms of pipe, plate and slabs, including steel, plastic, concrete and cast-iron pipe, steel plate, steel piling, pre-cast slabs and concrete road barriers. 

Lifters can be attached to excavators, wheel or track loaders, cranes, pipelayers and forklifts, and can be customised to accommodate various applications and lifting needs.

For more information visit the Vacuworx website.

This article was featured in the July 2021 edition of The Australian Pipeliner. To view the magazine on your PC, Mac, tablet or mobile device, click here.

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