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Handling industrial needs

05th April 2013

While safety standards are continuously upgraded, customer expectations demand better and more durable pipe handling solutions

Handling industrial needs
All ELiTE vacuum pipe lifters are equipped with the proven anti-object drop (AoD) safe lifting system. AoD was developed by Schoenbeck to push the safety parameters even higher than the standard requirement for such technology

Schoenbeck GmbH & Co. KG specialises in lifting equipment for the oil, gas and water pipeline construction industry. Apart from supplying specialised vacuum pipe handling technology marketed under the name brand ELiTE vacuum pipe lifters, the German owned company now additionally produces hydraulic based spreader bars beginning with safe working loads (SWL’s) of 14 tonnes and upwards, as well as additional options and accessories in terms of spread and adapter bars.


ELiTE HYD-SB-14 hydraulic spreader bar

The first generation of HYD-SB-14 (14 being the SWL) had been custom engineered for Wasco, Malaysia and designed for deploying steel concrete coated pipes for excavator applications. This pipe handling option has no difficulty in stemming porous surfaces and can also be utilised for pipes without concrete coating.


This equipment enhances pipe handling whilst reducing manpower requirements. Incorporated cylinder pressure control prevents any damage to the pipes bevel while the pipes’ inner surface is protected by HD oval mounted padding.


The hydraulic power required to operate this equipment is comfortably drawn from the available power produced by the excavator itself. Opening and closing of the telescope arms and 360° rotation of the HYD-SB-14 is initiated by the operator.

When the operator manoeuvres the HYD-SB-14 into the pipes, pressure plates situated at either end of the equipment are automatically initiated, prompting red mechanical warning signals. This signal warns that lifting will now commence.


It is not possible to lift out-of-centre.Additionally, possible pipe swingingduring a lift is of minimum concern, as each cylinder provides a powerful 6,000 kg non-return pressure lock.  


ELiTE vacuum pipe lifters

As for vacuum handling solutions, the ELiTE vacuum pipe lifter program from Schoenbeck offers vacuum pipe handling equipment in various sizes.


Starting at the lower range of 5 tonnes (t), the smaller lifter differs completely from all other brands available. The ELiTE 5TD/CD2 model is equipped with a low diesel fuel consuming 2 cylinder water cooled engine from Kubota. This low suppression engine can barely be heard with an output of only 76 decibels (dB), which is the equivalent of a hairdryer.                                                                                                                                                                                             

All ELiTE vacuum pipe lifters are equipped with the proven anti-object drop (AoD) safe lifting system. AoD was developed by Schoenbeck to push the safety parameters even higher than the standard requirement for such technology.

This unique safety feature will prevent an operator from accidently releasing a load whilst it is in the air. This is achieved through an incorporated mechanical or electrical contact automatically disarming the lifters’ control unit until the load has been safely deployed.


Sirens and warning alarms are all doubled-up in the ELiTE program of lifters. Warning lights are of double light-emitting diode (LED) technology and extremely durable. Two yellow LED’s indicate low vacuum while two red LED’s signal engine malfunction.

Additional standard safety features include non-return vacuum valves, larger vacuum pressure gauges, powerful HD solenoids suitable for temperatures as low as -40°C and vacuum shut-off valves for pre-vacuum system checking before work begins.


The heavier models from Schoenbeck are suitable for 12t and 16t pipe loads. The ELiTE 12TD and 16TD models are currently equipped with one cylinder air cooled diesel engine from Yanmar. Ongoing tests and engineering will shortly open the door to heavier lifters, which will also be available with two cylinder water cooled power packs. The 12TD and 16TD units are also equipped with the AoD, safe lifting system and all other standard system features previously mentioned.


In February 2012, Group Desarrollo Infraestructura (GDI) purchased 4 ELiTE 12TD vacuum pipe lifters for their 36” natural gas transmission pipeline in Chihuahua, Mexico. This later totalled up to 6 units. Training on the pipe lifters began in May 2012 at MAQSA’s headquarters in Chihuahua, Mexico, allowing all crews to be fully trained for pipe handling the 381 km pipeline which is slated for completion in June 2013.


In addition, listening to valid customer input, Schoenbeck has now upgraded both ELiTE 12TD and 16TD units with an optional extra. All main bodies are now supplied with pre-manufactured base plates and customers now have the option of either ordering new lifters with additional lifting hooks, or retrofit hooks later if and when required.


Additional options and accessories

Apart from handling standard pipes, Schoenbeck also manufactures accessories for all of their units.


In some countries, high density polyethylene (HDPE) is used in lengths of 24 m and this can be difficult due to wall thickness and regional weather conditions. Schoenbeck has an additional adaptor tool, the V-SB 4/5 spreader bar, which is an all-rounder accessory which easily fits all of Schoenbeck’s vacuum pipe lifters via various fixed and clearly marked connecting points.


Direct sun heat on HDPE pipe surfaces can lead to bending of the pipe surface or even the pipe taking on a ‘snake’ type form. To assist with such a situation, mini suction pad lengths are required with single central oval connecting points. This allows both suction pads to rotate clockwise and anti-clockwise to a certain degree.


For those customers who have short mini suction pads in stock, Schoenbeck has also developed the ADAP/3t, an adapter bar which allows customers to utilise the mini pads directly below the standard lifters. This permits maximum payback and project flexibility on equipment investments already made. 


This article was written by Dave McGuinness, international business and product manager, Schoenbeck GmbH & Co. KG.

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