First Time for Everything: Vertically Lifting a Hydroelectric Turbine Rotor
Our friends at TCB Industrial out of Modesto, CA, recently undertook a powerhouse plant maintenance project to overhaul a hydroelectric turbine generator. As part of this project, they needed to lift and articulate the turbine’s rotor into a vertical position.
“We were essentially doing something that’s never been done. This is the first time this horizontal unit has been placed into a vertical position,” Scott Gomez, project manager for TCB Industrial, said.
Faced with an unconventional way of doing things, TCB Industrial knew they would need a unique rigging plan for this project.
“Since this hasn’t been done before, our team designed and engineered the entire rigging plan, including all the rigging brackets we used,” Gomez continued.
The TCB Industrial team had to consider several factors when designing the rigging plan. Accessibility, headroom restrictions, and ensuring the rigging equipment had a high enough capacity to support the rotor were the primary considerations.
They settled on a rigging plan involving (2) fifty-ton and (1) sixty-ton air chain hoists with 2-inch bull pneumatic hoses.
“We didn’t want manual hoists because it requires more time and personnel. The pneumatic hoists did all the pulling and allowed us to situate the load in the correct position using fewer people, thus reducing risk and cutting cost,” Gomez said.
When it came time for TCB Industrial to acquire the equipment, Gomez already had LGH in mind, saying he had used LGH in the past and, while browsing the website, saw the large capacity air chain hoists and knew he could use those for this project.
Gomez approached LGH rental representative Beth Kolar with the rigging plan he devised, and she helped him get set up with everything on his list, as well as an accumulator tank that provides a reservoir of compressed air.
“Beth let me know that a single compressor wouldn’t be able to handle the draw required to operate two air chain hoists simultaneously without the help from an accumulator, so we ended up renting a 400-gallon receiver tank as well,” Gomez said.
The team got to work using the LGH pneumatic chain hoists, bull hose, receiver tank, an overhead gantry crane, and a couple of man lifts. They assembled the turbine, took the rotor to the vertical position, and began the overhaul on time and according to plan.
“We could have easily kept the unit in the horizontal position, but the powerhouse doesn’t have a lot of room for work. Putting the rotor in a vertical position only took up a 12-foot diameter versus 40-foot in the warehouse. So it saved a lot of space being able to do it this way,” Gomez concluded.
LGH Equipment Used
LGH is the United States’ largest single organization devoted exclusively to providing lifting and moving equipment for rent. With over 70,000 pieces, LGH holds the most comprehensive inventory for hoisting, rigging, jacking, pulling, material handling, and safety equipment. Our lifting equipment is available for rent from 23 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, and our customers are supported by over 50 Rental Representatives nationwide.
TCB Industrial is an award-winning general contractor and construction manager dedicated to meeting customers’ needs with exceptional quality and safety on every project. They offer a wide range of services to industries, including power generation and utility companies, manufacturing and production, ports and harbors, automotive and distribution, and surface mining.