On tunneling projects there are two critical pieces of equipment: One is the tunnel boring machine, the other is the crane. If either of them goes down, the job effectively comes to a standstill. Triad Engineering & Contracting (Triad) selected a Manitowoc MLC100-1 lattice boom crawler crane to work on the London Road Relief Sewer project, situated on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio. Operating continuously over two shifts a day, the machine notched up 2,500 hours of faultless operation within its first 12 months.
Cliff Kassouf, president of Triad, said the consistent performance of the Manitowoc crane helped his company complete the project ahead of schedule.
“We needed it to work across two shifts continuously for a period of several months, so reliability and efficiency were always going to be important,” said Kassouf. “It completed a 6,600-foot tunnel without a single issue, which is so rare. Typically, any machine will have an issue at some stage, but this thing never stopped. To have a machine operating that dependably across two shifts for so long is huge. In the end, we mined the 6,600-foot tunnel section ahead of schedule.”
The London Road Relief Sewer project forms part of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District utility. It’s formed of a three-pronged network of relief sewer tunnels, leading down to a drainage structure that connects to a nearby water treatment plant. Much of the work for the crane involved removing excavated material from the tunnel. This was transported from the tunnel boring machine via an underground rail system to the access shaft, where the crane sat 60 feet above at ground level.
The MLC100-1 lifted each rail car of excavated material, with between five and six cars per train and each weighing around 16,000 pounds. The MLC100-1 returned the empty rail cars so they could be used for the next load, cycling through 50 to 60 cars per shift. The crane worked continuously, covering the shifts that ran from at 6:30 a.m. to midnight.
“The line speed, line pull and precision of controls were all important factors when we were looking for a crane,” Kassouf said. “We can calibrate the controls on the MLC100-1 to regulate the speed at which we lower something…get it down to small increments so it’s accurate, then speed it up when we need to move faster. Putting the crane together is pretty quick and efficient, and fuel consumption has improved. There are a lot of benefits with this new machine.”
The widebody cab offers operators a 10 percent increase in legroom compared with previous models, which meant that despite the demanding nature of the work, the MLC100-1 was a hit with the operators on the job, according to Rick Chipka, equipment manager with Triad.
“Our operators liked it a lot,” he sais. “It’s convenient and comfortable to operate. Also, our mechanics were working with the team from our local Manitowoc dealer—Cleveland Crane & Shovel—to make sure everyone understood the computers and controls. The guys at Cleveland Crane & Shovel worked around our schedule on the project, so it didn’t impede our progress. This crane has done really well for us—it really has.”
Triad is a tunneling specialist operating out of Cleveland, Ohio, and Charleston, South Carolina. Cleveland Crane & Shovel is based in Bedford Heights, Ohio.