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Vanguard on the move with auto plant relocation

March 4 - Vanguard has completed a turnkey two-phase project for Benteler Automotive, involving the complete relocation and installation of a 2,600 tonne press and a hot forming line from Goshen in Indiana, USA to Uitenhage in South Africa.

Working in temperatures of minus ten degrees Celsius, Vanguard was on site in Goshen for two and half months, managing the electrical and mechanical dismantling, rigging, export packing and shipping of all equipment, which included a 40-tonne, 22 m-long oven on the hot forming line, a 60-tonne press, as well as the main Fagor press with a 110-tonne base, 105-tonne slide and 200-tonne crown.

The logistics of the move were central to ensuring project success, says Vanguard. Once dismantled, all of the equipment was packed and transported 350 km to Lake Michigan. "From Lake Michigan we barged the eighteen 40 ft containers and 12 breakbulk modules along the Mississippi River for a month's journey to Houston. Thereafter, the cargo was transhipped onto a ship in Houston and shipped to Port Elizabeth," says Andrew Nordengen, director, Vanguard. 

In South Africa, Vanguard was responsible for the transportation, rigging, mechanical and electrical installation, and commissioning of all equipment. 

The company's Goldhofer trailers were used to transport the components 50 km to Benteler Automotive in Uitenhage. There, the heavy components were transhipped onto a ten-axle SPMT and rigged inside the new building. Two 600-tonne and two 400-tonne gantry systems were utilised to rig the components into position, in the process lifting the heaviest single component - the 200-tone crown - to a height of 10.5 m. Vanguard completed the installation and commissioning on site within two months.

The planning phase of this project spanned six months, during which Vanguard sourced the necessary skilled teams in Indiana, investigated the logistics of the transportation, explored route possibilities from Goshen to Lake Michigan and familiarised itself with road legislation, as well as cleared a route in South Africa from the harbour in Port Elizabeth to site. 

The logistics of the projects also involved accommodating the packing, shipping and installation of the 22 m long hot forming line oven in one piece - quite a unique feature. 

Nordengen says: "Utilising our diverse range of equipment, we managed the entire turnkey operation and saw the project through to its successful completion, despite the various challenges involved in the relocation of an entire plant from America to Africa."

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