Volga-Dnepr Airlines' Engineering & Logistics Centre (ELC) designed a unique transportation frame to move a 59t compressor from Zurich to Singapore for inclusion into a bespoke oil rig build.
The frame served two purposes, spreading the weight of the compressor throughout the cargo cabin of the An-124-100 freighter and also protecting the delicate overhanging high voltage box. The 650 x 314 x 196cm compressor was also accompanied by associated cross-over pipework and fixtures weighing an additional 2,600 kilos.
Alan Baldwin, Volga-Dnepr's business development manager, ELC, said: "The compressor had an overhanging high voltage connection box attached to it via a cylindrical tube section. It was imperative we protected the HV box from any movement throughout the transportation process to avoid putting undue stress on the connection and causing any damage. The HV box couldn't be removed for transit because it contained sensitive electrical wiring which was directly connected within the compressor housing and the customer wanted to avoid sending an engineer to Singapore to re-assemble it, which would have added more cost and a potential time delay to the project build programme."
In preparation for the flight, Colin Taylor, ELC load planner conducted a site survey to gather vital dimensional data in order for detailed Autocad drawings to be produced for the design and fabrication of the support frame. To satisfy the customers' critical time requirements, the ELC team arranged for the frame to be manufactured in the UK with one of ELC's long-standing and reliable fabricators, which was able to produce the intricate design using bespoke materials. The frame incorporated a detachable supporting arm to ensure it could be transported to Switzerland onboard a standard trailer organised by ELC using one of its contracted European road hauliers to reduce cost for the customer. The arm was then reassembled to the main body of the frame at the shipper's premises in Zurich ready for the compressor loading.
The flight to Singapore - operated by Ruslan International, the An-124 joint venture between Antonov Airlines and Volga-Dnepr Airlines - was contracted by Pentagon Freight Services. Once completed, the oil rig will be floated back to northern Europe for final installation.
Commenting on the collaboration with Volga-Dnepr's ELC team in the UK and Russia, Gary Provins, project operations supervisor of Pentagon Freight Services Plc, said: "The shipment wasn't without it's challenges, the main compressor wasn'tt designed to travel separately from its transport skid which due to build schedules had to be detached and shipped separately a few weeks in advance. This meant finding a solution for loading, securing, and load spreading which was achieved while at the same time providing support for the critical and highly delicate HV Box section of the compressor. All of which was well executed in conjunction with the engineering team at Volga Dnepr, and this time critical shipment was delivered to site smoothly wh ere the fabricators were keenly waiting ready to receive, and install onto the platform".