ABUS EOT crane for dismantling a tunnel boring machine

If you were to pass the picturesque village of Sorbas in the province of Almería in the south of Spain you would have no clue as to the activities going on underground … However, closer inspection would reveal to you that Sorbas is a fascinating site on the new passage of the high-speed train AVE going from Almería to Murcia. The double track line is 185 km long. One of the most difficult and most challenging sections of this ambitious project is being realised between Sorbas and Baranco de los Gafarillos: a tunnel 7.5 km long. Once completed this tunnel is going to be the longest in Andalusia.

The building of this tunnel also resulted in a very unusual and quite challenging task for ABUS Grúas (www.abusgruas.es), the Spanish daughter company of the German crane and hoist manufacturer ABUS Kransysteme GmbH. Normally EOT cranes would be employed in the production process to swiftly dispatch finished goods. In this case, however, ABUS Grúas worked very closely together with the construction company to help with the dismantling of the tunnel boring machine once the work was done. ABUS Grúas based itself on a plan drawn up by the construction company which was to ensure much safer and quicker dismantling than previously carried out. This plan was put into practice based on the proposal by the construction company and the technical detailing carried out by ABUS Grúas. An ABUS EOT crane with very compact dimensions was used.

The crane system for this transportation task consisted of one double girder EOT crane of the ZLK type with a total lifting capacity of 126 tonnes with two electric wire rope hoists, Z type, i.e. one double rail trolley with twin hoists and lifting capacities of 63 tonnes each and a span of 9.2 metres. The optimised dimensions of the EOT crane as well as the precision lifting speed made for simple and safe dismantling of the tunnel boring machine.

The tunnel boring machine was dismantled much quicker than expected thanks to the uncomplicated and fast way of assembling and disassembling the ABUS EOT crane as well as the ease of handling the crane. The perfect teamwork of the high-performance Herrenknecht tunnel boring machine and the ABUS Grúas offer which proved to be reliable and precise in all areas allowed the tunnel to be completed ahead of schedule.

When the first passengers are going to pass the tunnel at high speed in 2014 there will be no traces left of the work carried out to make this train journey possible between Almería and Murcia ...

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