April 20 - UK based Rapid Response Solutions (RRS) has taken delivery of a 300-tonne capacity hydraulic skidding system, the only one of its kind in Europe, from Canadian manufacturer Hydra-Slide.

Lifting, transport and storage specialist RRS will initially put the product to use for installation of transformers at electrical substations, but Paul Barber, managing director, foresees its widespread use on a variety of projects.

He said: "We had quoted for the electrical substation job, for which we knew the Hydra-Slide system was best suited, so in the short-term it made sense to proceed with the order upon award of the contract. Additional electrical substations, large machinery manufacturers and shipping firms will be future targets for the product, while I expect it to open doors to joint venture projects with our tier one partners."

The HT300 hydraulically powered heavy track skidding system is a cost-effective and accurate tool for moving, loading or unloading all types of heavy loads, says RRS. It is frequently used to move transformers, generators, compressors, pressure vessels and machines where a rigid, load carrying track is required.

Barber added: "We are hoping that moving forward we will have a requirement for a second, larger system but we will probably choose the 1,000-tonne unit - the HT1000 Tri-Rail - which is capable of pushing 1,000 tonnes while maintaining an eight-inch profile."

Janine Smith, vice president at Hydra-Slide, said: "We are very excited about RRS investing in the HT300 system. We know from experience how much this equipment can benefit its business. It will increase the number and type of projects it is able to take on."

The 300-tonne capacity heavy track skidding system is the only unit of its kind Hydra-Slide has sold into Europe. There are other models of Hydra-Slide skidding systems in the UK, while similar-sized and larger models are more prevalent in mainland Europe.

"The product represents a great fit with our existing range," said Barber. "We are developing our projects division to increase the services available to our customer base and are continually led by those customers into new areas. This system will reduce the manpower required to carry out certain lifting and moving tasks using traditional methods."

Smith explained that as RRS already has an experienced and qualified rigging crew it will take minimal exposure and training for them to be confident in the safe operation of the HT300. She said: "Hydra-Slide skidding systems are designed for simplicity with the operator in mind. Reputable and conscientious transport companies know that safety is the most important aspect of any job."

The HT300 includes 50 ft (15.25 m) of double track and four skid shoes. The push cylinders and all connecting hardware came packed conveniently in a steel toolbox for storage. RRS also ordered an Enerpac 700 bar, solenoid-controlled split flow pump system, which will be used to operate the jacks on the skidding system.

Barber explained that the pump can also be used to operate the jacks needed to lift the load to get the skidding system under the load. The pump is a synchronised system with electronic control, allowing one operator to activate four jacks simultaneously or individually. The synchronised system ensures the pressure in each jack remains equal. The Enerpac pump can be utilised on a variety of jacking operations using Rapid's pad, wedge and pulling jacks.

When using a skid system to move heavy loads horizontally, no personnel need to be close to the load during movement. The push cylinders automatically reset into the ratchet tracks and an operator working at a safe distance powers the system.


Paul Barber, managing director, Rapid Response Solutions, welcomes the Hydra-Slide unit to Portsmouth, UK headquarters.