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Link-Belt Unit to the Rescue! RTC Answers Emergency Calls

Sat June 17, 2000 - West Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Most electrical power plants, such as the Fayette Power Project in LaGrange, TX, have been on-line for more than 20 years and must be constantly upgraded to comply with newer, more stringent anti-pollution requirements. This is a challenge for many plant operators. The old plants are often being asked to produce more and cheaper electricity at a time when they must frequently be off-line to perform vital preventive maintenance or rehabilitation procedures. Sometimes the equipment called upon to do this work is as old as the power plants themselves.

More than one million people in a 53-county area of east-central Texas depend on the 1,630 megawatts of electricity generated by the three coal-fired power units of Lower Colorado River Authority’s (LCRA) Fayette Power Project. Units 1 and 2 can each produce 590 megawatts or a combined total of 1,180 megawatts of power. Ownership of these is shared equally by the city of Austin and the LCRA. Unit 3 can produce an additional 450 megawatts and is fully owned by the LCRA.

LCRA which operates the Fayette Power Project, is working to maintain and modernize its plant by using a Link-Belt 27-metric-ton (30 ton) capacity rough-terrain crane. The Fayette Power Project recently acquired a new Link-Belt RTC-8030 Series II.

Operator Dan Neiser said, “We needed all the boom and jib we had with the RTC-8030 Series II when we were replacing a 2,000 pound compressor at the top of the Turbine Building at Unit 3. We were working out at about a 68-foot radius. At another location, the Turbine Buildings of Units 1 and 2, we also needed the crane’s maximum reach when we were assisting in the replacement of siding and roofing materials.

“Here the boom angle was around 57 degrees and the individual load weights varied from 500 to 1,000 pounds. We also needed maximum reach when we were placing tool sheds and materials on our own maintenance building,” continued Neiser, who also is responsible for crane maintenance.

“We use the crane around the facility in a variety of applications. Probably the most important of these is that it always be ready to perform when we are. Since the plant operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, our crane must also. When it is needed, it is needed right then,” said Ken Brothers, planner.

“As a planner, it is my responsibility to schedule the crane’s use for the routine maintenance tasks. This is easy; I’ve been here for over 20 years and know the routine. It’s the unexpected that is almost impossible to schedule. If an incident occurs in the middle of the night that requires an emergency response by a crew, there’s a good possibility that they might need a crane, too. That’s when we really depend on the reliability of a machine,” said Brothers.

“We were in a period of relative calm at the shop one day when the typical call for the crane came in,” continued Brothers. “A crew working on the limestone conveyor belts needed assistance in replacing some worn roller units. We needed the boom fully extended but didn’t require the jib. The working radius was 57 feet with about a 49-degree boom angle to lift the 900-pound roller assemblies. It was a typical ’in and out’ operation and we were back at the shop in a short time. One of the many reasons for having chosen a rough terrain version hydraulic crane is that the crew is often called upon to service areas around the Fayette Power Projects water intake and dam structures. These are offroad locations and require the additional handling capabilities provided by the RTC-8030 Series II.”

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