Hydraulic skidding systems and other Hydra-Slide equipment supplied and operated by fellow Canadian Total Transport & Rigging Inc. (TTR), has been integral to progression of the large-scale Maritime Link project that will enable the transmission of clean, renewable and reliable electricity from Newfoundland and Labrador to Nova Scotia and beyond.
The 500-megawatt Maritime Link project is part of a larger strategy to address the growing demand for renewable energy. It involves building 170km of subsea high-voltage direct current (HVdc) transmission cables under the Cabot Strait, in addition to overhead transmission in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.
TTR has two LP400 low profile hydraulic skidding systems in its fleet, in addition to a number of jacks and a 500-ton capacity turntable.
The LP400s, capable of pushing loads up to 400 tons, were recently called upon by deugro (Canada) Inc. to support the move of seven ABB Canada transformers for the Maritime Link project and set them on foundations at sites in both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
These low profile slide systems moved four transformers (three weighing 160 tons and the other 203 tons) in Woodbine, Nova Scotia and three 160-ton units near Bottom Brook, Newfoundland. Jason Jenkins, vice president at TTR, explained that the Hydra-Slide equipment was key to final positioning of the transformers that had already traveled by ocean vessel and road.
He said: "Ensuring the integrity of the load and minimizing risk of damage to the cargo is paramount, as is the safety of all personnel involved and the public." He added: "We even had to write to the authorities to begin the approval process to get a few kilometers of the Trans-Canada highway shut down so we could transport the units up the wrong way of the road! Once our transport vehicles had covered large distances, the LP400s were used for precise and final positioning of the heavy loads. They performed—as they always do—perfectly in each case."
Janine Smith, vice president at Hydra-Slide, said: "The LP400's patented low-profile, hand-portable design permits its use in most situations where a high capacity skid system is required, but where space or access is limited. A total height of less than 2 in. (51mm) reduces jacking time and is ideal for the environments presented by the Maritime Link project."
TTR offers a variety of transportation, heavy rigging and project management services. Jenkins referenced another project where an LP400 was again used to skid a turbine weighing in excess of 150,000kg approximately 15m before it was lowered onto existing leg bolts in a cement foundation. Site personnel only had millimeters of tolerance, he added.
Jenkins said: "Our client was not only impressed at the efficiency of the Hydra-Slide System but we also saved them hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary crane bills. We engineered the procedure as the client had never used a skidding system method for installations, having always used a crane."
He concluded: "We look forward to an ongoing relationship with Hydra-Slide; the support we have received from them has been second to none. From the time you arrive on site with a little box and start pulling the track out, clients are always second guessing the capabilities, but then once set-up and execution is complete they are impressed and overwhelmed at the control, strength and stability of the systems."
- The LP400 has recently been replaced by a newer model, the LP350, with similar features and a series of design improvements, most notably a graphite-steel slide surface, also utilized by Hydra-Slide's heavy track range, replacing the ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMW) pads. The LP350 is capable of pushing loads up to 350 tons (310 tonnes) and represents continued evolution of the low profile range that includes the XLP150 systems.
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