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Swift and cost-effective transportation of five transformers, UK

KEY BENEFITS:

Swift turnaround

Flexible transport fleet

Cost-effective

PROJECT:

The National Grid provides Great Britain’s electricity network across the country with electricity transmission systems that include 4,474 miles of overhead line, 932 miles of underground cable, and 342 substations. Maintaining the network and identifying its future requirements is key to ensuring the country continues to have sustainable and efficient energy delivery.

Transformers weighing up to 174t needed to be transported and installed at substations around the UK, along routes up to 87 miles long. There was limited space on the routes and the transportations needed to meet tight deadlines. Based on their vast experience of challenging transformer moves in the country, ALE was chosen by logistics contractor Kuehne + Nagel to perform the operations.

There were five manoeuvres performed in total during this operation. Previous transportations to the first substation had required costly street furniture removals. However, the range of capacity in ALE’s equipment selection combined with the skill of their transport operators enabled ALE to avoid this, saving significant costs for the operation.

 

The limited space on route for the second transport and at the site entrance was a major challenge. There were tight corners and then an extremely narrow gap at the security gate. While many heavylifting vehicles were unable to manoeuvre through these, once again, ALE was able to select an appropriate specialist transport configuration. The operators’ expertise ensured the transport negotiated the route, passing through the security gate with a gap of just 60mm.

The third and fourth transformers both needed to be transported to two different sites within 24 hours. As they were not the same type of transformer, ALE needed to use two different types of transport configurations.

The fifth and final transportation required ALE to deliver a transformer in central London. This required a considerable amount of planning in order to minimise disruption to the area and ALE’s flexibility ensured the best route solution could be achieved.

Following each of the transportations, ALE also carried out jacking and skidding operations to install each of the transformers.

For these manoeuvres, ALE mobilised their AL50 16 axle girder frame, two tractors and their award-winning Trojan truck. For the installations, climbing jacks and skid tracks were used.

The installation of the new transformers has added a cumulative capacity of around two million volts to the National Grid, helping to secure a stable electricity supply across the country for the future.

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