Liebherr Ships First Main Crane Components for OHT's Alfa Lift Installation Vessel

March 10, 2021

Alfa Lift render Credit: Liebherr
Alfa Lift render Credit: Liebherr

Crane specialist Liebherr has informed that important components for a giant crane to be installed aboard OHT's Alfa Lift offshore wind foundation installation vessel, have departed from Germany and are now en route to China where the vessel is being built.

The Alfa Lift, being built for Offshore Heavy Transports (OHT) at China Merchants Heavy Industry (CMHI) shipyard in Jiangsu, China, was on February 28, floated-out from its drydock. Once delivered, the semisubmersible heavy installation vessel, which is designed and built for installing the next generation XXL offshore wind foundations, will work on the world's largest offshore wind project, the Dogger Bank in the UK.

The Ulstein-designed Alfa Lift will feature a 3,000-tonne main crane, a 10,000+ square meter "smart deck", capable of carrying and installing up to 14 XL monopiles or 12 jackets per voyage, and will be able to fully submerge the main deck to a depth of 14.66 meters. The ship will have capacity to can carry cargoes of up to 48,500 tonnes.

Announcing the float-out, OHT last week said that the slewing column and the A-frame for the vessel's heavy lift crane were scheduled to leave Rostock in early March and will arrive in China in April where they will be installed.

The sailaway of these components has now been confirmed by Liebherr.

"In the afternoon on March 7, 2021, the deck cargo ship BigLift Barentsz left the Liebherr site at the port of Rostock with two remarkable, giant crane components ready for installation," Liebherr said Tuesday.

"The white painted slewing platform, as well as the characteristic A-frame of the upcoming Heavy Lift Crane HLC 150000, are now on their way to being assembled on OHT’s next-generation offshore wind foundation vessel Alfa Lift," the company added.

Following their arrival in China, the slewing platform and the A-frame will be the first crane sections to be assembled on the Ulstein designed offshore installation vessel Alfa Lift.


Credit: Liebherr "The tandem lift of the two large components was realized at the Liebherr site in Rostock using two strong representatives of their kind: the LR 11350 crawler crane and the TCC 78000, once again proving the importance of this powerful rail-mounted heavy-duty gantry crane," the company said, adding that due to the lifts taking place directly at the quay, the transportation vessel was able to start its journey by taking the shortest route to the Baltic Sea. 

"The slewing platform and the A-frame will be assembled on Alfa Lift at the shipyard of China Merchants Heavy Industry (CMHI) in the province Jiangsu, close to Shanghai. When the installation of the two components is finalized, the boom will be delivered just-in-time to complete the HLC 150000," the company added.

 “The crane can only be assembled and installed once the vessel has reached a specific phase in its construction. Therefore, the manufacturing timelines are finely balanced between Liebherr, OHT, and CHMI,” said Gregor Levold, Sales Director of Ship and Offshore Cranes at Liebherr Rostock. “Another important element of the partnership with OHT is our support and guidance for the initial setup of the crane onboard Alfa Lift. 

Liebherr will also send a team of specialists to China and support the project with supervision for the installation, commissioning and testing process (ICT) of the HLC 150000 at the shipyard.

Credit: Liebherr According to Liebherr, the HLC 150000 crane is optimized for future wind park installations with a maximum lifting capacity of 3,000 tonnes at 30 meters and 1,000 tonnes at 76 meters outreach.

"In general, the Liebherr HLC series design is characterized by a small footprint. The slew bearing diameter of the HLC 150000 is just 14 meters, consequently, the crane requires little space on deck and offers more storage space," Liebherr explains.

Due to the special slip ring configuration, the HLC has a 360- degree unlimited slewing range. In addition, the Liebherr HLC’s foldable A-frame reduces the height of the crane as needed, Liebherr says.

“Unlike many other crane vessels of this size, the Alfa Lift will be able to navigate waters crossed by bridges. This feature reduces transit-time, for instance when the vessel enters the Baltic Sea crossing the Storebaltsbroen in Denmark,” said Gregor Levold.

“The foldable A-frame provides more flexibility, which in turn leads to both operational and cost-efficiency, increasing the number of charter days and vessel availability.” 

Also, for faster maintenance during operation, all components of the HLC are accessible via stairs and platforms.

"A key element of the maintenance concept is the integrated telescopic knuckle boom crane that is capable of lifting up to six tonnes. This service crane allows the exchange of the heaviest single components without the help of an external crane," Liebherr says.

This means a comfortable, fast, economical maintenance is guaranteed, independent of the vessel location. High interest for shaping the energy revolution The heavy lift crane series at Liebherr serves a worldwide growing market in offshore wind installation contributing to a sustainable energy provision. 

The HLC 150000 onboard Alfa Lift will start operating in the North Sea at the Dogger Bank in 2022. The first project is the installation of wind turbine foundations at Dogger Bank A, about 130 kilometers off the north-east coast of England. After this, the company will also install foundations at Dogger Bank B. The partners in the first two Dogger Bank phases are SSE, Equinor, and Eni.

Credit: Liebherr 

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