Largest Crane In The World [IMAGES]

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February 16, 2012


20,000 metric tons. That’s 98 Statues of Liberty or 10,000 VW Beetles. But when you’re building the world’s largest vessels in the world, your crane needs to muscle every last ounce of steel.

Meet Taisun, the world’s largest crane, is a fixed dual-beam gantry crane of mega proportions and holds the world record-setting lift of 20,133 metric tons. A record which broke its two previous records of 17,100 and 14,000 tons.

How did this mega crane come to be and why is such a massive crane needed?

Nearly 10 years ago the managers of Yantai Raffles Shipyard (YRS),in Shandong Province China, recognized that building tomorrow’s biggest offshore oil vessels and platforms would require machinery of epic size and vast proportions and they would need the World’s Largest Crane.

“If you can handle the larger blocks, 15,000t-16,000t, you can chop up a semi-submersible offshore platform into two pieces: lower pontoon columns and an upper deck box” as Brian Chang, owner of Yantai Raffle shipyards, told the industry mag Cranes Today.

In 2009, the largest builder of semi-submersible drilling rigs, reached their dreams by christening of the world’s first fixed dual-beam gantry crane with the enormous lifting capacity at 20,000 MT. The towering state-of-the-art machinery is named ‘Taisun”, after a famous sacred mountain in the PRC’s Shandong Province reflecting its size, strength and inspirational qualities.

The Christening ceremony, held on April 18, 2009 and was well attended by over 600 guests from all over the world. The event commenced with a ribbon cutting session by distinguished guests. Following the opening address by Mr Brian Chang, Chairman of YRS, Taisun demonstrated to all attendees its astounding strength by hoisting up a launching barge 30 meters above the water. Independent party American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) witnessed the lift and presented Mr Chang with a “Witness Load Testing” certificate, confirming the capacity of Taisun at 20,133 MT; a heavy lift world record.

“It will revolutionize the way large offshore projects such as semi-submersibles and FPSOs are built. By providing a perfectly safe, uniquely controllable and highly cost effective way to join super sections of up to 20,000 MT, the hours spent working at great heights will be significantly reduced.” says a representative of  YRS. As a result, overall project man-hours can be improved upon by up to 2 million, overall build schedules and time-to-market shortened, and safety and quality greatly improved.

Haldor Fottland, Area Manager of Awilco Offshore, said, “Awilco Offshore Semi AS congratulates YRS on the christening of the 20,000 MT crane. The introduction of this big crane certainly opens up for more efficient project execution. We are glad to see the Taisun crane operating, and we look forward to experience it in full action with the mating lift for our first semi-submersible rig.”

Building The World’s Largest Crane – Step 1, The Proposed Site




Laying The Foundation


Building The Towers



Landing The Beam




Lifting The Beams



Load Testing


Lifting A Barge


Coming Together – An Oil Rig Is Born

The final assembly of an oil rig goes something like this: First, the integrated module is loaded onto a barge located beneath the crane. The Taisun then lifts the module as high as 80m (at a rate of 10 meters an hour). The barge is then removed and a team of tug boats push the platform into place. It then puts top and bottom together, workers connect everything and—boom—an oil rig is born.

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