AXZION 600 ton test rig

The demands of many machine transport operations and the offshore sector are vast, and all lifting tackle and equipment used in these areas has to undergo overload testing.

AXZION 600 ton test rig


The demands of many machine transport operations and the offshore sector are vast, and all lifting tackle and equipment used in these areas has to undergo overload testing. As wind, waves and the difficult working conditions constantly subject the hoisting equipment to intensive stresses, proven safety is absolutely non-negotiable. Turbines, gas compressors and wind turbine generator systems are incredibly expensive loads. On no account can any damage to the load be permitted during transport, as the incredibly lengthy period of time required to effect repairs or secure a replacement would be financially disastrous. International customers place stringent requirements on the hoisting material; all parts must prove their robustness in an overload test and the requisite quality must be confirmed by a certificate from one of the major external product testing bodies. Up until now, the overload testing of large lifting equipment was incredibly difficult and expensive. For example, two large cranes had to be rented in order to test a large 350 t lifting beam produced especially for inspecting a steam turbine. All in all, ten people took several days to attach the test weights and carry out the test itself. The overall costs for this load test came to a staggering 40,000 euros. Yet considerable investment in the gas, oil and energy industries has increased the need for ever larger pieces of lifting equipment. Component weights are increasing dramatically, and equipment is now often dispatched in a preassembled state. As a result, major manufacturers have been looking for a suitable lifting equipment test rig for some time now, as the cost and effort involved in improvised load tests were no longer acceptable. AXZION-GKS is the lifting equipment specialist within the global SpanSet Group. By the end of 2008, the Langenfeld production facility had expanded to more than 5000 m2, so there was finally enough space for the urgently needed test rig. The new rig is 20 m long, 5 m high and has a dead weight exceeding 100 tons. The 600 t lifting capacity is provided by two huge hydraulic cylinders; the hydraulic tank itself is as big as the heating oil tank in the cellar of an average family home. The actual load test and its evaluation is either manually or computer-controlled. The accuracy of the system has been confirmed by the Materialprüfungsamt NRW (NRW institute of material testing) and all measured values are calibrated and certified. The test rig cost around 500,000 euros to produce, and can be upgraded in the future owing to its modular design. It is available for anyone to use, and different lifting equipment can now be tested here at short notice. Large testing firms, such as Lloyds Register, Germanischer Lloyd or Dekra, have already used the new test rig to perform load tests and have been thoroughly impressed with the speed of the whole process. Comprehensive sets of tests, such as researching new tower slinging points for Nordex, could be carried out in peace and under completely realistic application conditions. Testing of existing lifting equipment to DIN EN 13155 standards will become ever more important in the future. A load test with a double overload can highlight the suitability of the lifting solution with respect to the Standard, with the test results certified by an overseeing welding expert.

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