3 May 2012 – Heavy lifting and relocation specialist, Vanguard, was recently sub-contracted by SDV, specialist in international logistics and transport, to deliver three diesel generator sets from Richards Bay to Konkola Copper Mines in Chililabombwe town, Zambia.

The three diesel generators were purchased to deal with power supply failures from the national grid in Zambia. The generators are cited to provide enough emergency power to operate pumps that are used to drain uncontrolled water from the mine shafts.

“While it wasn’t a complicated task to transport the generators, we faced a rather difficult challenge with the load mass restrictions in Zambia, which are different to restrictions in South Africa,” says Roland Cumings, Vanguard project engineer.

Vanguard solved this problem by loading the generators, each weighing 135 tonnes, onto three separate 12-axle hydraulic gooseneck trailers to remain below the maximum load mass restriction and to reduce the horse-power to the minimum required. The use of the hydraulic gooseneck ensured that the load restrictions of all countries that were passed through, were adhered to.  

“At one point, we also used the hydraulic suspension capabilities of the multi-axle trailers to lower the combination height to pass underneath a particularly low bridge in Kitwe. Thanks to this feature, we were able to negotiate what is effectively the only route to site without any additional work.”

Despite delays experienced due to logistical issues, the total travel time of the project took only five weeks. Once on-site, Vanguard was responsible for the rigging of the equipment. This was done by using a jack-and-slide system that involves offloading the generators with 400 tonne hydraulic gantries, placing it on rails, and then sliding the load into its final position. The generators were then placed on dampers in order to minimise any vibration.