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News Release

Manitowoc Cranes build world’s largest coal power station


One of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest power projects is using the full line up of Manitowoc lifting power to help it meet its construction and completion targets. A team of six Manitowoc crawler cranes, three Potain tower cranes and one Grove GTK1100 mobile telescoping crane are currently at work on the Medupi Power Station in South Africa’s northernmost province of Limpopo. When complete, the coal-fired power station will employ six boilers each powering an 800 MW turbine. With its combined output of 4,800 MW, Medupi Power Station will be the largest dry-cooled coal power plant in the world.

The first cranes began preparation work on the site in 2008, with the last cranes arriving just this year. It is expected most will remain on the project until completion, scheduled for 2015. The six crawler cranes were provided by international rental giant Mammoet, the GTK1100 was provided by Vanguard and the tower cranes were provided by Kentz and SA French. The project is run under principal contractor Hitachi.

Pieter van der Weele, manager at Mammoet South Africa, said his company was proud to be involved in the project.

“When we were approached by the main contractor about the project, Manitowoc was the only manufacturer that could deliver this variety of crawler cranes in time for the beginning of the project,” he said. “Having the support from Manitowoc Crane Care for this project in South Africa enables us to react quickly when maintenance or repairs are required — and this is essential for a project of this size and importance.”

The crawler cranes, one 756 t capacity Manitowoc 21000 and five 400 t capacity Manitowoc 16000s, are primarily being used to lift steel beams and steel assemblies. The two smaller Potain tower cranes, a 6 t capacity MDT 98 and an 8 t capacity MDT 178, are also lifting structural steel elements for the bag filters, while the larger MD 1100 special application crane is erecting the air-cooled condenser’s structure, plus the fans and fan rings on it.

Quentin van Breda, CEO of SA French, said the tower crane choice for the project was based on space and capacity.

“Kentz used the MD 1100 because it has the capacity and reach to make the heavier lifts, so it was essential to have that crane,” he said. “Similarly, because we had only limited space to work with the other cranes, we needed the MDT so we could handle the work on the bag filters. The MDT cranes are easier to have working in closer proximity because of their topless design, and they’re easier to assemble because of their modular design. This was useful as ground space and access was limited at the site.”

Meanwhile, the 95 t capacity Grove GTK1100 is working around the clock placing the components for two of the boilers.

Craig Pace, general manager for Vanguard, points out that the GTK1100’s small footprint allows for more strategic positioning around the boilers.

“With so many cranes on the project, we knew positioning would be critical,” he said. “The GTK1100 was perfect for the boilers because it has more than enough capacity, more than enough reach, but the real selling point was the small footprint.”

The only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, Vanguard’s Grove GTK1100 is currently placing components of up to 15 t on top of the boilers, at heights of about 100 m while on the ground its footprint is just 18 m x 18 m. The Potain MDT cranes are also taking up only a small area on the job, each sitting on a base of just 4.6 m x 4.6 m.

By completion, the Medupi Power Station will be the fourth largest power plant in the world. It is expected to cost around ZAR120 billion (€12 billion).

About The Manitowoc Company, Inc.
The Manitowoc Company, Inc. (“Manitowoc”) was founded in 1902 and has over a 117-year tradition of providing high-quality products and support services that are tailored to customers’ needs. Its 2019 net sales were approximately $1.83 billion. Manitowoc is one of the world's leading providers of engineered lifting solutions. Through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Manitowoc designs, manufactures, markets and supports comprehensive product lines of mobile telescopic cranes, tower cranes, lattice-boom crawler cranes, boom trucks and industrial cranes under the Grove, Potain, Manitowoc, National Crane, Shuttlelift and Manitowoc Crane Care brand names.
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