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The Thialf crane was created in April 1985 by the Japanese firm. It has the other name, in honor of J. Ray McDermott. In 1997, it was transferred to Heerema Marine Contractors & renamed as Thialf.
Heerema Thialf description
The construction has two cranes having a total load capacity of more than 14,200 t, which makes it the biggest floating crane in the whole world, capable of accommodating 736 people on its arrow. The hull of this construction has two basic pontoons equipped with four columns for each of them. Transit sediment has height of 12 meters. For lifting process, it is additionally reduced by the ballast to 26.6 m.
Modern construction requires cranes to lift huge masses of concrete & steel. Such works are complex not only on land. On a construction site in the middle of the ocean, the movement of huge concrete blocks is not only difficult, but also extremely dangerous. Details weighing about 8,000 tons, which must be delivered by water, only one lifting device can lift – the most powerful floating crane in the world. Its capabilities make it the pinnacle of crane engineering.
There is a huge variety of floating cranes differing in size & power. The smallest has a carrying capacity of about 50 tons. Many of the floating cranes have their own engine systems & even residential sectors, but almost all of them belong to floating cranes of the “sheer leg” type (literally “clean leg”), the distinguishing feature of which is a lifting arrow that does not rotate around its axis & can move the cargo along with the ship’s platform. Their purpose is the rescue, assistance in shipbuilding, loading & unloading of bulky goods to ships & bridge construction. Over the past decades, floating cranes have become larger, more powerful & mainly because the details of the port facilities, have also become larger.
There are two vessels in the world that have such a high carrying capacity – SSCV Thialf & Saipem 7000 due to the operation of two parallel cranes that increase the lifting capacity. There is also Svanen. It is considered the most powerful among other types of floating cranes.
The crew of the floating crane consists of 40 people & includes pilots, engineers, crane operators. The crew is proud of its vessel – all rooms & cabins are decorated with photos of achievements. Each operation of the most powerful floating crane is a historical event. The floating crane has a unique propulsion system – four Azipod-type gearless propellers, which ensure the accuracy of the movement.
Without the most complicated cable system of the crane, which was invented even in ancient Greece, the net power of the plants would not be enough. The steel torso passes through several pulleys, increases the load capacity of the crane by dozens of times. When lifting the heaviest cargo, the ship can heel, so the ship’s captain controls the mechanism that aligns the floating crane with ballast. Sometimes, for additional fixing, four anchors are thrown from the vessel, which clearly hold the crane platform.