Exceptional (Market) Reach Lifts a Crane Retrofit to Success

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

June 18, 2019

  • Jake Dupont and one of his Melcal Cranes
  • Jake Dupont and one of his Melcal Cranes Jake Dupont and one of his Melcal Cranes

The New York State Canal System, Advance Marine and MelCal Cranes all enjoy a reputation for versatile applications in challenging conditions. It’s no wonder that their recent deal to replace an aging maintenance crane was also a similarly good fit.

When Advance Marine recently delivered a telescopic boom crane to New York State Canals, the decision regarding which type and brand of crane to select wasn’t made in a vacuum, nor was it made lightly. That’s because commercial utilization of America’s original superhighway – the Erie Canal – is on the rise again. The New York State Canal System is a 524-mile long, commercially viable waterway connecting the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, Finger Lakes, and Lake Champlain. Today, the Canal System is a viable artery for the movement of bulk and project cargo – but, not unless it can be properly maintained.

The Melcal crane, commissioned by Melcal’s exclusive U.S. representative, Wilmington, Delaware-based Advance Marine, is a replacement for an old crane on one of their barges. Intended to be used for canal maintenance, including debris removal, such as trees and other floating (or not floating) debris, some dredging with a clamshell bucket, and servicing of lock equipment, it had to robust, reliable and most importantly – versatile. That’s important because the crane will also be used for buoy removal and placement. With a slightly greater reach and lifting capacity, Advance Marine, in this case, made sure that this crane was fit-for-purpose.

Nuts & Bolts  
Self-contained, with a 4 cylinder turbocharged CAT diesel engine. Importantly, the CAT diesel complies with U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final, EU Stage IIIB environmental standards. The new crane has an auxiliary winch that operates the clamshell (The main winch lifts the clamshell; the auxiliary winch opens it), and is also man rated for lifting a work basket. Maximum outreach is an impressive 45 feet with a capacity of 7,900 pounds, and the working capacity at 25 feet is 15,000 pounds.

Designed to ABS rules, the crane therefore has the required excess capacity, redundant braking, load sensing and load limiting for operations in personnel lift mode. Beyond those impressive features, the crane has a special boom tip to deal with side loading, and provides protection against collisions with trees and/or bridges for the outer boom, winches, and operator’s station.

According to Advance Marine’s Jake DuPont, very little in way of changes to the NY Canal’s work barge had to be made in order to install the crane. “The existing holes through the four-inch foundation mounting plate were drilled to accept slightly larger bolts and an additional four holes were drilled to increase the total number of mounting bolts to 12. But, the New York State Canal System takes no chances when safety is involved. Because this barge dates back to 1960 – not unusual in a fresh water application – the canal system requested a review of the foundation structure. Hence, naval architects Farrell and Norton were engaged to assess the foundation. DuPont explained, “NYS Canals does an incredible job of preserving historical equipment while maintaining the canal system to be fully functional.”

Meet Advance Marine & Melcal
Advance Marine is the North American representative for Melcal, a designer and manufacturer of marine and offshore lifting solutions. The relationship, which dates back to 2012, involves equipment ranging up to 3,000 metric tons and encompasses all box boom configurations. In fact, the Advance Marine line-up includes stiff booms, heavy duty knuckle telescopic booms, telescopic booms, knuckle booms, A-frames, folding knuckle booms, stabbing baskets, and pipe handlers.

The Advance Marine/Melcal supply line also includes electric or diesel hydraulic power units, electric and hydraulic winches, special equipment, and custom designs – all to any of the well known rules, including but not limited to FEM, ABS, DNV, BV, NK, RINA, API, and the firm certifies to any major class society. Customized, special options can be provided, as well. These include hazardous zone operation systems (ATEX); Active Heave Compensation systems (AHC); Arctic packages to -50° C; stainless steel fittings and piston rods; personnel handling systems and emergency operation systems (EOS), just to name a few.

Jake DuPont sums his partnership with Melcal and the full range of Advance Marine’s capabilities, saying, “Melcal’s comprehensive engineering and design capabilities, safety systems and regulatory compliance competence, and extraordinary attention to detail allow us to provide equipment for just about any marine application where high quality and lowest overall cost of ownership lifting solutions are required.”

For its part, Melcal says that its knuckleboom cranes “set the standard for excellence and reliability.” Importantly, all Melcal cranes are designed from the ground up as marine cranes, and built to withstand the added stresses and most hostile environmental conditions that marine equipment can be tasked to handle. Quality, safety, and operational reliability, with the longest possible service life and greatest ease of maintenance are key design objectives. But, in this case, that’s not just a sales pitch. All products receive best-in-industry NORSOK M-501 Corrosion Protection treatment.

“Our folding knucklebooms are designed specifically as marine cranes, they are not, as is typical, derived from truck crane designs,” explained DuPont, who added quickly, “All structures are either totally enclosed watertight box sections, or receive full paint treatment. These designs avoid water and debris traps, sheet metal, unnecessary points of water ingress, and configurations that make access to components difficult. That’s because ease of access for maintenance and service is critical.”

On the Water: Quality, Reliability, & Local Service
The new Melcal crane has already been installed on the barge, and it is intended to be working this season. The last part is important, because although Melcal is the manufacturer of this high quality equipment, Advance Marine is their authorized partner. With all the necessary tools and personnel to provide local U.S. service, Advance Marine is the full service exclusive U.S. representative for Melcal with complete sales and service capabilities.

As the New York State Canal System continues to improve and maintain the waterways that accommodate not only shortsea commerce, but also recreation and flood control, that kind of multi-use marine highway demands an equally versatile set of tools to keep it up and running. Recently, they got just that when they opted with Advance Marine’s delivery of the Melcal knuckle boom. www.advamar.com

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