A pipelayer is a machine designed with tractor feet allowing it to navigate short distances. It has an attachable boom with a set of cables which are used to collect the diameter of the pipe and slowly lower it into a trench. Several pipelayers can work simultaneously in order to hold large sections of pipe and lower at the same time.
Each machine is selected for jobs dependent on the size and weight of the pipe to be installed and the topography of the construction site. These considerations impact on the lifting capacity of the pipelayer, transportability and ease of service required for the project.
Trenches must be pre-dug and prepared ready for the pipeline to be carefully placed. Pipelines can also be bored under waterways and roads using directional drilling.
The post construction phase of projects involves several aspects including restoring the surface of the land which has been affected by the trenching.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the pipeline industry is gaining momentum, A reliable source of energy is integral to the development of other industries. Engineering and constructing pipelines in this region requires the ability to navigate through diverse terrain from swamps to savannas and urban centers. Current pipelaying projects are happening in Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Nigeria.
Most pipelayers have up to 360ᵒ swing capability for optimum maneuverability and ultimate pipelaying possibilities. Stability is also extremely important due to the risk of tipping and allows machines to manage large, heavy loads. Load management systems monitor slope inclinations in relation to load and boom angles to avoid this happening.
Pipelayers can also come with the ability to convert into excavator machines for use in a variety of other site applications.
Caterpillar Pipelayer –
Flywheel powers of between 125 – 366hp
Lift capacity of between 40,000 – 214,000 lbs
Liebherr Pipelayer –
Flywheel powers of between 125 – 368hp
Lift capacity of between 39,463 – 200,180lbs
Here is a case study by Esso on a pipelaying project recently completed in Chad.
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