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Marine Log

February 20, 2008

MHI yard gets Japan's largest goliath crane

GOLIATH CRANE

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) today began the full-scale operation of Japan's largest goliath crane.

The 1,200-ton lifting capacity unit has been installed at the Koyagi Plant of the Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Nagasaki Prefecture. It is 95.5 meters in height and 185 meters in width.

The introduction of the new crane and expansion of other shipbuilding-related facilities, will increase the shipbuilding capacity of the Koyagi Plant from the current five LNG carriers annually to seven.

The goliath crane is part of MHI's program to enhance the Koyagi Plant's competitive position in shipbuilding. Other steps include a 25 m expansion of the existing shop that is mainly used for bending and assembly of heavy steel plates for the fore and aft blocks of ship hulls and construction of a new shop dedicated to specific hull segments. The capacity of the present painting shop has also been enhanced.

The program aims to increase the percentage of shipbuilding activities at the Koyagi Plant carried out on the ground or in the shops rather than in its dry docks, and to shorten construction time through improvements in efficiency. The new goliath crane will enable the plant to more widely adopt the construction method by which, in combination with existing cranes, a larger module can be built in one block of up to 1,500 tons. This will enable some tasks previously performed in the dry docks to be conducted on the ground, thus shortening work time in the docks and increasing the degree of outfitting work completed by vessel launching.

Installation of the crane, for which groundwork began in February 2007, entailed assembly of six large segments. The Koyagi Plant already had two gantry cranes, each with a 600-ton hoisting capacity. Together with the new installation, the three huge gantry cranes will now constitute a remarkable feature distinguishing the Koyagi Plant.

The 600-ton cranes were installed in 1972. At that time, about 7,000 tons of steel were required per crane. The new crane, though providing twice the hoisting capacity, requires only 5,000 tons, thanks to the industry's technological innovations and advanced strength analysis capability, developed over the past 35 years.

One outstanding feature of the new crane is its significant wind resistance despite its reduced weight. As the Koyagi Plant is located in an area prone to high winds, the crane has an aerodynamic design, based on extensive wind tunnel testing, to fend off strong winds. The crane is designed to withstand gusts of up to 80 meters/second, far stronger than the 55 m/s that goliath cranes are normally designed for.

Ironically, while the new crane may be the largest in Japan, another shipyard that will soon boast a 1,200 ton capacity goliath crane is Daewoo Mangalia Heavy Industries in Romania. It is getting the unit that once was the pride of the Quincy, Mass., yard of General Dynamics. Read about it here.

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