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Using Tycan® chains shortened installation and de-installation times by at least 50%

Setting records

The new power plant at Beni Suef, in Egypt, is not only one of the three biggest of its type in the world, it also holds a new record for speed of completion. And it’s thanks in part to the use of innovative synthetic lashing chains made with Dyneema®.

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World’s biggest gas-fired combined-cycle power plants

The Beni Suef plant is one of three 4.8 GW gas-fired combined-cycle power plants that together form Egypt’s Megaproject. With a total capacity of 14.4 GW, the three plants are set to increase the country’s power generation capacity by 45% when they go fully online, in 2018. This makes the plants at Beni Suef in the south of the country, the yet-to-be-named New Capital near Cairo, and Burullus near Alexandria, crucial to Egypt’s development. Speedy construction was therefore essential. But so too were safety and preventing damage to the turbines and other components during transportation and installation. 

"When every little thing counts, synthetic lashing chains prove a better alternative for moving massive turbines"

The contract to supply the turbines, generators, heat recovery steam generators and transformers was won by Siemens, together with local partners Orascom Construction and Elsewedy Electric. The contract to move these from Alexandria, where they would arrive by ship from Europe, to Beni Suef and New Capital, was won by heavy lifting and transportation specialists ALE, and its Egyptian partner Egytrans. 

The contract involved moving 16 Siemens SGT5-8000H gas turbines, which weigh 486 tons and are among the most powerful of their type in the world, and eight steam transformers weighing 396 tons. Each turbine measures 12.6m long, 5.5m wide, and 5.5m high. The rest of the project involved transporting over 380 boiler modules, weighing between 40 tons and 192 tons, 16 transformers for gas blocks, weighing 196 tons, and eight transformers for steam blocks, also weighing 196 tons. 

Transporting turbines through the Egyptian desert

The operation began mid-April, focusing on the Beni Suef plant, and continued to New Capital two months later. By the end of August, ALE and Egytrans had transported six turbines, six generators, and two transformers to the Beni Suef power plant, and one transformer, two generators and two turbines to New Capital. 

“The low weight and soft feel of the synthetic lashing chain reduces the risk of injuries for riggers and truckers, and the risk of damage to equipment and cargo”

Which makes it all sound straightforward, when really it was anything but. The route from the port of Alexandria to Beni Suef is 340km, and to New Capital it is 100km. Due to the weights involved, the convoy had to take a detour to avoid six bridges on the highway, and three more had to be reinforced. “To perform all the operative and administrative work in such a short period meant a huge challenge,” says Krzysztof Blazkowski, Supervisor at ALE. “ALE coordinated with our local partner so that all operations were carried out in time.”

Lighter, stronger, faster with synthetic lashing chains

As well as coordinating closely, ALE made an innovative switch when it came to lashing down the monster cargo. Faced with poor surfaces and challenging slopes, the company opted for Tycan® synthetic link lashing chains made with Dyneema®, and not the steel chains typically used on a job like this.

The reason was simple: “The Tycan® chains offered the fastest installation at the lowest weight, with the least damage to the cargo, and with the highest safety,” says Krzysztof. Compared with conventional steel lashing chains, Tycan® synthetic lashing chains are at least six times lighter at equal strength. “Using Tycan® chains shortened installation and de-installation times by at least 50%,” says Krzysztof. “Plus, the low weight and soft feel of the synthetic lashing chain reduces the risk of injuries to riggers and truckers, and the risk of damage to equipment and cargo.” And with proper handling, storage and maintenance, the performance life of synthetic chains is at least as long of that of a steel chain of equal strength.

Setting a record for power plant construction

In a business in which every little counts, how did employing synthetic link lashing chains made with Dyneema® help the project? Well, Siemens connected the first 4.8 GW of new capacity to the Egyptian grid just 18 months after the company signed the contract, in the process breaking every modern power plant construction record. 

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