On the Hills M2 Upgrade in Sydney’s North West, Leighton Contractors recently engaged Coates Hire to assist with hydraulically lifting the Barclay Road Bridge and lowering it once work was completed.
The operation required pinpoint accuracy, with one end of the 582 tonne bridge needing to be lifted just 14mm, with a maximum tolerance of 1mm between the 14 hydraulic cylinders, at each jacking point.
Traditionally this type of lift would require lengthy and painstaking manual effort, with a lot of manifolds, valves, dial indicators and people, to constantly go back and forth and check each jacking point to see exactly how the structure is positioned.
However Coates Hire recently added an Enerpac Synchronous Jacking System to its fleet, doing away with the need for much of this manual work.
The job required 14 jacking points using Enerpac RCS1002 – 90 tonne hydraulic cylinders, connected through hoses and manifolds to the Enersync 8 Synchronous Jacking System. The Enersync 8’s control system is a user-friendly touchscreen PLC, with the functionality to weigh loads, determine centre of gravity, set and monitor stroke alarms, and data log the entire lifting process.
The unit had sensor cables attached to eight stroke sensors under the bridge providing live data and the exact location of the structure at all times throughout the lift. This was critical as the RMS’s specifications for the job required very tight tolerances between the leading and lagging cylinders in the vicinity of 1mm, to ensure there wasn’t any risk of damage to the structure.
According to Michael Broome, National Product Manager – Lift & Shift for Coates Hire, synchronous lifting provides a number of advantages over traditional hydraulic lifting, not just safety and ease of operation, but also precision and absolute control.
“It’s all controlled from one centralised point. The stroke sensors tell the PLC where the actual bridge is. You can see what the structure is up to, what loads are on all the cylinders, and you can set tolerance alarms,” Michael said.
“We were running at 0.7mm tolerance all the way up, but anytime it got to 1mm there was an alarm if it went outside that. It would stop the lift and say you are outside of the tolerances you have set.”
As the bridge remained open to traffic during the lift, the alarms were crucial, as a truck or trailer passing over the bridge had the potential to throw out the lift beyond the acceptable tolerance.
It wasn’t just the tolerances on the job that were tight, from the initial discussions the job was completed inside a week, with the lift itself only taking a matter of a few hours.
According to Michael the Enerpac – synchronous hydraulic jacking system is suited to any application where you require precision lifting of heavy structures.
“It could be a bridge, draglines, ball mills, all sorts of things, any heavy structures that need precise control when you are lifting them,” Michael said.