Alimak Hek extend the life of a 26-year old Alimak lift with a complete mast replacement

Graincorp Grain Handling Facility, Queensland, Australia

Alimak Hek service technicians identify and replace 70 m of corroded mast and base frame to extend the life of a 26-year-old maintenance lift. Given the close proximity to power lines and the confined space, a clever solution was required to complete the mast refurbishment.

Installed in 1986, Graincorp’s Gladstone facility makes use of an Alimak rack and pinion lift to access the seven landings of their 70m grain stack. A critical piece of equipment on site, the Alimak lift allows maintenance staff to access higher levels of the stack for necessary servicing and maintenance. The lift also enables swift and safe access for emergency response if required.

Following an on-site service inspection, Alimak Hek identified irreparable corrosive damage that had occurred to the base mast, base frame and a mast section located 25m up the grain stack. Both sections were damaged    beyond repair and required the entire 70m mast and base frame to be dismantled and replaced. Given the close proximity of power lines to the grain stack, Alimak Hek was unable to angle a crane close enough to dismantle the lift mast. Without the use of a crane, mast sections could not be manoeuvred over the power lines. A temporary disconnection of the lines would result in a shut down of Graincorp’s entire Queensland rail system.

In order to replace the damaged mast, Alimak Hek engineered and installed a unique winch that would allow the mast to be dismantled and reassembled manually. Fixed to the Alimak lift car, the Alimak Hek winch was able to hook each mast section individually and angle the section onto the lift car roof area. Operators were then able to use the lift itself to deliver each section to the ground.

In this way, each of the Gladstone grain stack’s 49 mast sections were manually dismantled, with the same process used in reverse to assemble the replacement mast. Alimak Hek worked closely with Graincorp throughout the duration of the project, providing engineering, technical, electrical and rigging support. The Alimak rack and pinion lift’s replacement mast has been in operation at the Gladstone facility since May 2012, providing Graincorp operators with access to the 7 levels of the grain stack. Alimak Hek’s manual winch approach may be used in future projects where site restrictions prevent crane access.

Graincorp Grain Handling Facility, QLD, Australia
Installation year
Grain handling facility, lift access
Lift type
No. of landings
1000 kg
Car size
1.9 m x 1.2 m
0.65 m/sec
Lifting height
70 m
Graincorp Grain Handling Facility

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