Volga-Dnepr Engineers Special Transport Frame for 59-Ton Oil Rig Compressor Delivery
Volga-Dnepr Airlines’ engineering and logistics center designed a unique transportation frame to move a 59-ton compressor from Zurich to Singapore for inclusion into an oil rig build.
The frame served two purposes, spreading the weight of the compressor throughout the cargo cabin of the AN-124-100 freighter and also protecting the delicate overhanging high voltage box. The 21 by 10 by 6.5-foot compressor was also accompanied by associated cross-over pipework and fixtures weighing an additional 2,600 kilos.
“The compressor had an overhanging high voltage connection box attached to it via a cylindrical tube section,” explained Alan Baldwin, a Volga-Dnepr business development manager. “It was imperative we protected the box from any movement throughout the transportation process to avoid putting undue stress on the connection and causing any damage. The box couldn’t be removed for transit because it contained sensitive electrical wiring which was directly connected within the compressor housing. The customer wanted to avoid sending an engineer to Singapore to reassemble it, which would have added more cost and a potential time delay to the project build program.”
In preparation for the flight, Colin Taylor, a load planner conducted a site survey to gather vital dimensional data in order for detailed drawings to be produced for the design and fabrication of the support frame. To satisfy the customers’ critical time requirements, the team arranged for the frame to be manufactured in the UK with a longstanding and reliable fabricator, which was able to produce the intricate design using bespoke materials. The frame incorporated a detachable supporting arm to ensure it could be transported to Switzerland onboard a standard trailer organized by Volga-Dnepr using one of its contracted European road haulers to reduce costs for the customer. The arm was then reassembled to the main body of the frame at the shipper’s premises in Zurich ready for the compressor loading.
The flight to Singapore operated by Ruslan International, the An-124 joint venture between Antonov Airlines and Volga-Dnepr Airlines, was contracted by Pentagon Freight Services. Once completed, the oil rig will be floated back to northern Europe for final installation.
The shipment presented several challenges, noted Gary Provins, project operations supervisor of Pentagon Freight Services. “The main compressor wasn’t designed to travel separately from its transport skid, which due to build schedules had to be detached and shipped separately a few weeks in advance,” he explained. “This meant finding a solution for loading, securing, and load spreading, which was achieved, while at the same time providing support for the critical and highly delicate high-voltage box section of the compressor. All of this was well executed in conjunction with the engineering team at Volga-Dnepr, and this time critical shipment was delivered to site smoothly where the fabricators were waiting to install it onto the platform.”
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