Turnkey project for Vanguard in two peaking power plants

Turnkey project for Vanguard in two peaking power plants


Vanguard, the international heavy-lift, abnormal transport and installation specialist, has been active in the Dedisa and Avon open-cycle, gas turbine peaking power projects, two vital power generation endeavours, which are set to supply SA with over 1,000 MW of power in times of high electricity demand or shortfalls of supply.

Sub-contracted to provide the warehousing, transportation and installation of heavy equipment, including accessories, for the two peaking power projects – developed by international energy group GDF Suez - Vanguard has completed the six lines of the handling, transportation and placing into position of the generating plant, with each line comprising a 191 tonne gas turbine, 231 tonne generator and 140 tonne transformer.

“The port handling elements for the Avon project required a full operation at our yard in the Richards Bay port,” said Vanguard’s Dale Huddy. “There, we set up one of our 800-tonne hydraulic lift systems to transload the heavy units from our self-propelled modular trailers onto our multi-axle trailers ready for transportation.”


Applying its specialised transport experience and equipment, Vanguard transported the loads 144 km to the project site – using a 20-axle, three-file trailer combination for the generator and turbines, and a 16-axle, two-file combination for the transformer.

“As there was an increased gross combination weight for Avon, we had to use more horses to move the loads. For the generator and turbines we pulled with two horses and pushed with one, while for the transformer we pulled with one horse and pushed with a second, ensuring optimal road safety and efficiency for the 66 meter-long horse and trailer combinations,” said Huddy.   

Adding extra administrative capacity to the project, Vanguard’s head office arranged the applications for abnormal permits, organised the necessary police escort assistance and undertook the crew deployment – leaving on-site managers to focus on the task at hand.

“Our engineered project solution for Avon had to accommodate the access routes on-site, where our expertise of on-site lifting and moving was applied,” he said. “The on-site lifting and moving solution included lining up each generator with its foundations, followed with the turbine.”

Moving and placing the transformer on site posed certain navigational challenges, and was off-loaded using a different approach.

“A sharp turn was managed by enabling the manual hand steering function on the trailer, which was then lined up parallel with the transformers’ foundations,” said Huddy. “We lifted the transformer off the trailer and lowered it onto jack-and-slide rails, slid it across in between the foundations, lifted it with the 500-tonne Power Towers, and carried it forward onto its final resting place.”

Coordination of the project was complex, with teams working in the port and teams on-site to ensure efficient on- and off-loading cycles; the port crew comprised truck drivers, load escort drivers and riggers, while the on-site crew included a dedicated four-man team to set up and dissemble the Power Tower system, and to offload and position each heavy unit.