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Lifting and installation of refinery components using the AL.SK190 for the STAR Project, Turkey


ALE was contracted to handle and install 152 pieces of equipment at the greenfield refinery site in Aliağa, Turkey. During the project, ALE used their unique AL.SK190 crane, one of the world’s largest capacity land-based cranes, to perform over 150 lifts. The equipment had a combined total weight of 20,000t.

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The 14 major heavy lifts involved radiuses ranging from 30m – 100m and each component varied in weight, with the heaviest piece weighing 1,200t. This is the heaviest refinery equipment ever installed in Turkey so far and, thus, represented some unique challenges for the team.

ALE combined effective teamwork with the renowned AL.SK190 crane and a variety of other heavy transport and lifting solutions in ALE’s equipment fleet, such as SPMTs and a specially designed tailing gantry.

The AL.SK190 crane was configured with a 129.9m main mast and a 4,000t counterweight ballast. The ballast design allowed ALE to use only 45 degrees of spreaders, which allowed the client much-needed access to the area.

Similarly, as the AL.SK190 crane did not need a full ring, ALE was able to put the crane in a position otherwise impossible. This also saved valuable space, unlike other cranes which require a full ring of load spreading mats.

ALE assembled the crane in the first location. Before performing the first lift, ALE executed a pre-lifting operation to check and make sure that the weight of the equipment and the position of the centre of gravity matched the lifting drawings. The first lift involved a vacuum tower, weighing 575t and measuring 55m high. To perform the lift, the crane was configured with a radius of 65m.

The second item, a crude tower, weighing 860t and measuring 81.5m, was lifted at a 64m radius. This was particularly challenging as both items needed to be lifted over a 30m built pipe rack until it reached its foundations.

The use of the AL.SK190 allowed ALE to install both columns from the same position, making it possible for the main common stack to be built together with the main pipe racks and all of the heater’s foundations, which were adjacent located to the vacuum tower´s foundation.

As the crane could be positioned to lift in one single location, it saved valuable site space, minimised ground work, and enabled access and site operations to continue, achieving the overall lifting scope in a much more time and cost effective manner for the client.

ALE then relocated the crane to another lifting position within the site using SPMTs and conventional trucks to transport it seamlessly in its containers through the congested site.

The remaining 12 items were lifted and installed from this same position. The first lift in the new location involved picking up a product fractionator, weighing 920t and measuring 77m, 100m away. This was the largest radius used throughout all of the lifts.

When it came to lifting the two heaviest reactors, the heaviest pieces weighing 1,100t and 1,200t, ALE deployed its tailing gantry to assist and add stability. For this, ALE used one strand jack of 850t capacity with the tailing gantry and four strand jacks of 850t capacity in the AL.SK190 to install the heaviest reactors.

By using this unique lifting system, designed in-house for these lifts, it provided ALE with a solution that offered the higher capacity needed within such a congested area with limited ground preparation.

Once the 12th and final item was lifted and installed, ALE began to demobilise the crane and all other remaining equipment. Overall, the AL.SK190 performed 12 lifts in a 22 period covering an area of 190m x 110m, around 21,000m², where the items’ foundations were distributed.

ALE lifted and installed 12 pieces of equipment at the second location without the need for the crane to be repositioned, which is one of things that makes this lifting solution so unique. The incomparable capacity of the AL.SK190 to pick up and install equipment at 110m radius (whilst avoiding extremely high obstacles), and rotate 360° (whilst requiring only 45° of the ring to operate), is particularly impressive.

By using this crane, it also allowed the client to deliver the main fractionator directly to site in order to install platforms and the insulation. This is because the capacity of the AL.SK190 has the ability to pick up the equipment from its intermediate storage area – 100m away from its final position. This avoided the need for an additional double handling of the equipment.

The AL.SK190 was the only crane capable of performing this type of lifting operation in this manner. Thus, this project would not have been completed as time or cost effectively in any other way or by using any other piece of equipment.

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