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NY Power Authority ’Charges Up’ With Bronto Aerials

Wed May 09, 2001 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

New York Power Authority is (NYPA) St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project, a hydroelectric generating facility on the St. Lawrence River, can produce more than 900,000 kilowatts of electricity, more than enough to light a city the size of Washington, D.C. Located in upstate New York on the border with Ontario, Canada and operated jointly with Ontario Power Generation, power from the facility is distributed throughout the state of New York from New York City to Niagara Falls plus seven neighboring states.

The extensive transmission network combined with the beautiful yet rugged terrain and long, severe winters in the vast area surrounding the town of Massena, NY, where the facility is headquartered, place special demands on NYPA’s crews and the equipment in its fleet.

The ice storm of 1998 provided the ultimate test of equipment. To replace the many lines and towers knocked down during the storm, the NYPA rented two Bronto Skylift truck-mounted aerial work platforms. The machines, model S-180HDT (heavy-duty telescoping) booms, are capable of 180-ft. (55 m) working height and have 1,000-lb. (450 kg) platform capacity.

Within the parameters of an emergency situation, the Bronto aerial work platforms operated flawlessly, reported NYPA. In fact, NYPA purchased a new S-180HDT.

“The Bronto’s have more backup safety devices than any machines I’ve seen,” said Guy Lannis, vehicle maintenance supervisor, NYPA’s St. Lawrence-FDR Project. “All possible points of failure have a backup system. We can count on them in an emergency situation.”

The transmission maintenance crews also use Bronto aerial work platforms.

Having had success with the Bronto machines, NYPA turned to another experienced vendor, Hydraulics Industries Corporation (HICO) of suburban Montreal, Quebec, seeking a combination of the two. HICO is a custom manufacturer of low, ground-pressure tracked vehicles, and has provided NYPA with the base unit for such diversified products as dump boxes, cranes, and personnel carriers.

HICO and Bronto worked together to create a machine that would meet NYPA’s requirements. The final design consisted of mounting a Bronto S-111MDT (medium-duty telescoping) aerial and torque box to a HICO HT15-HFS undercarriage. While HICO and Bronto did the design work and supplied the components, assembly of the unit was don by Hinkel Equipment of Philadelphia, PA.

Powered by a Cummins diesel, the machine has 60-percent climbing gradeability. With its 40-in. (101 cm) treads fitted with grouser bars, it can handle 40-percent sidehill gradeability. The machine uses a front wheel, hydrostatic drive system; weighs 55,000 lbs. (24,750 kg), and has a loaded ground pressure of 4.34 psi.

The Bronto can travel over the ground to reach most of the towers in the NYPA’s service area.

The new machine, claims Bronto, is NYPA’s only crawler mounted aerial work platform with outriggers. The outriggers are independently controlled using the machine’s hydraulic system and are designed with a longer stroke to handle steeper grades. The benefit to the users, reports the manufacturer, is that the machine does not have to be on the level surface to be operated — it can be positioned on a slope, then the outriggers can be extended to level the unit using the controls inside the cab. Once leveled, the boom can be raised and work performed.

With all four outriggers fully deployed, the boom has 360-degree rotation. When the machine is “short jacked,” i.e. the outriggers are fully deployed on one side, interlocks are activated so the boom can only be extended on the side where the two outriggers have been set. Short jacking can be a useful feature when working in confined areas like substations and especially when working alongside a road where fully extending the two “roadside outriggers” would mean blocking an additional traffic lane.

The standard Bronto S-111MDT has 111-ft. (33.6 m) working height, 620-lb. (279 kg) platform capacity and 72-ft. (22 m) horizontal reach. The unit supplied to NYPA has an optional extended reach jib boom that extends to 78-ft. (24 m), but limits platform capacity to 400 lbs. (180 kg).

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