International lifting and transport specialist Mammoet used 5t capacity automatic hooks from Elebia to keep riggers at safe distance and speed-up discharge of 1,000 industrial-sized ‘big bags’ from a Panamax ship at a port in Westdorpe, Holland in January.
Mammoet, which has its own multi-purpose terminal further north at the mouth of the Ghent Canal in Terneuzen, will unload approximately 30,000t of bulk from the vessel every six weeks, as freight business continues to sprawl away from larger Antwerp ports further east.
The hooks operate from 1m chains that hang beneath a 20-foot-long, 50t multipurpose spreader, manufactured by Tec Container from Madrid providing the ability to handle a variety of cargo. To utilize the potential of the Elebia hooks, Mammoet and Tec attached the rig to a container spreader lifted by a Liebherr LHM 500 harbour crane.
Mammoet, which oversees storage and handling of stainless steel coils, containers and other kinds of cargo in the region, uses the Liebherr for lifting the bags with the Elebia remote-controlled hooks, while a Terex GHMK 7608 B harbor crane is utilized for bulk handling.
Robin Hamelink, yard coordinator, Mammoet, said, “Safety is always our number one priority and Elebia’s hooks fit that ethos. A thousand bags was a landmark discharge, but our customer is anticipating that we will need to take responsibility for an increase in bulk handling from their Panamax vessel in the short-term future, so we needed to implement a material handling system with increased demand in mind even at the outset.”
During the latest 14-hour discharge, Mammoet rigged the spreader so 12 1,000kg bags were lifted at the same time. This can be increased to 21 bags at once if all 14 Elebia hooks are employed to grab the large loops on top of each bag, eliminating the need for slings or additional rigging equipment.
The evo5 hooks feature Elebia’s remote control system, eMax, and include a full color liquid-crystal display (LCD) screen, offering the user a variety of information about the lifting application, including weight, hook status and alarms that alert the operator to overload or unbalance situations.
Hamelink, who discovered the hooks during online research, added, “The solution is centered around application of the Elebia hooks and allows us to meet the demands of unloading a great volume of big bags with only three people required in the ship’s hold. Beforehand, we also required up to three people on the quayside for unhooking where now only one person operates the remote control.”
A lead rigger and two Mammoet personnel in the hold communicate via radio with the crane operator to place the bags directly onto trailers before they are transported to a factory and unloaded by forklifts.
The Liebherr LHM 500 has a radius of 51m and a maximum capacity of 140t. It is known for its versatility and flexibility especially in general cargo handling with continuously changing operating appliances and handling methods.