July 29 - Heavy lifting and plant relocation specialist, Vanguard, has handled the transport, rigging and installation of one of the largest monoblock blanking presses fabricated to date, for a leading South African steel supplier, Aveng Trident Steel.

The Schuler press - with a capacity of 600 tonnes, frame weight of 166 tonnes and dimensions of 4.25 m deep, 6.1 m wide and 8.90 m high - was imported specifically to fulfil a contract for an automotive manufacturer. 

The press frame, as well as the entire press line consisting of 21 boxes ranging from five to 40 tonnes, was shipped to the Coega harbour from Germany. Vanguard used its 18-axle Goldhofer trailer, pulled by two Mercedes Benz SLTprime movers, to transport the load 57 km to Aveng Trident Steel's Struandale plant just outside of Port Elizabeth. 

"In the preparation phase of the project, I spent time in Germany to witness the press lying down in order to determine its gravity point, as this point would be pivotal in the planning of the rigging process," explains Dane Zijlstra , project manager, Vanguard. 

On arrival on-site, the press frame was trans-loaded onto a 10-axle, mechanical self- propelled modular trailer (SPMT) for the move into the plant. Once inside the plant, the press frame was brought underneath the gantry set-up before the lift and positioning could be completed. 

Bearing in mind the gravity point, the lift was accomplished with Vanguard's 600 tonne gantry, at the top end, and then tailed with two legs of the 800 tonnes gantry at the bottom end. Once the press frame was hanging freely from the 600 tonne gantry, another two legs of the 800 tonne gantry system were used to level the press and lower it to the ground. 

The lift was complicated by capacity and height issues. Another challenge experienced during the rigging process was that the overhead crane rails and columns were in the way, which resulted in the press having to be moved twice to position it in the pit.

The planning phase of the project took six weeks, while three weeks were spent on-site. The actual transport and rigging of the press line was completed in three and a half days.