Monday, July 5, 2010

June 22nd, 2010

Kamchatka, Russia Way out in the Russian Federation Islands at the end of the Aleutian Islands a Island 800 miles long with a population of 400,000 suffered an accident involving a tower crane during a dismantle operation.

The accident appears to have involved a jib failure noted as a "refused hydraulics". But that really doesn't answer too many questions. Looking at the crane, it is on a cross base. Noting the missing pendants and jib connections, it looks like a luffing tower crane. To be more accurate, it looks like a portal crane generally meant for longer term installation. The "refused hydraulics" could have caused the jib to fail if the crane was being climbed down.

When a climber is set up, there are supposed to be check valves in place and pressure checked prior to use. Often you push the climber into the pin pockets, pin it off then push up and see if you have bleed off on the pressure gauge. If the check valve works, even in the event of a hose or coupling failure, the Hydraulic ram should not catastrophically fail and cause the crane to fail. Sadly in a location as remote as Kamchatka, the failure of the check valve would not cause anyone to say stop everything for four days until we can get a new one. I of course am presuming quite a bit and only bring this potential up as speculation and education of what can go wrong.

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